Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vroomin' Around With Vripack

Last week I got the grand tour of what's often called the Yacht Valley in Holland, thanks to HISWA, the Dutch maritime federation. For such a small country, it's amazing how chockful it is of boatbuilders (production and megayacht alike), naval architects, gear companies, and more.

One of the most enjoyable visits was to Vripack, the naval architecture and brokerage firm. I've known the Vripack team for several years, yet I'm always amazed at how many projects and services it tackles at once. The walls were plastered with a dizzying array of profile drawings, G.A.s (a.k.a. deck plans), interior designs, and even engineering drawings. Marnix Hoekstra, who's both the firm's sales director and one of its naval architects, explained how Vripack works closely with builders all over the world, both renowned and unknown, to ensure their boats perform properly.

But instead of simply pointing to drawings and computer monitors to make his point, Hoekstra also arranged for us to experience a ride aboard the Wajer Osprey 37, which Vripack designed for Wajer Watersport, a Dutch builder that emerged on the world scene earlier this decade. The 38-knot boat carves turns like she's on rails and handles like a dream, thanks to Volvo Penta IPS drives and a deep-V hull shape.

But don't just take my word for it—watch her go in this video that I shot. (And if that whets your appetite for more, J&J Marine Yacht Group in Massachusetts is the U.S. dealer.)

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