Behind the scenes with Van der Valk’s custom explorer Project Capella
Following the announcement of her sale in June this year, Van der Valk is proud to present the latest build update of our newest explorer yacht: the 23.56-metre Project Capella. With the build progressing “perfectly on schedule, perhaps even a little ahead of schedule”, according to Van der Valk’s General Manager, Bram Kooltjes, Project Capella is slated for launch in spring 2023.
Under construction for experienced yacht owners, Project Capella sports a Grade A round bilge, full-displacement steel hull topped with an aluminium superstructure, with her naval architecture a collaboration between the Dutch duo Ginton Naval Architects and Diana Yacht Design. Project Capella’s distinctive steel hull is worth a special mention, as this has been constructed entirely in-house by Van der Valk in order to fit the client’s specific requirements.
Notably too, although Project Capella will have her home port based on the Balearic Islands – with her owners intending to cruise throughout the entire Mediterranean accompanied by family and friends for the first leg of their post-delivery adventures – her rugged hull also points towards her adventurous capabilities, should her owners feel the urge to venture out to more remote or challenging cruising grounds.
As Kooltjes describes: “Project Capella is completely prepared for both warmer and colder climates, thanks to her cleverly designed windows, insulation and underfloor heating. She could go to places such as the Norwegian fjords without any issues.”
Indeed, onboard comfort is at the fore of Project Capella’s design, and not only for her guests. Alongside her four guest staterooms (comprising one generous owner’s cabin, two twins and one VIP stateroom), the 23.56-metre vessel also houses two cabins for her two-person crew to ensure maximum privacy and comfort on board.
To get the heart of what what makes Project Capella so distinctive, we speak to veteran Dutch superyacht designer – and frequent Van der Valk collaborator – Guido de Groot, who was entrusted with both the exterior and interior design of the vessel.
What were the main materials you used for the interior and what kind of atmosphere were you trying to create on board?
We used a lot of light materials on board, so that it felt airy and fresh. But we also included some darker accents, including walnut, integrating some wooden strips into the flat panels of the walls. The bookshelves and niches are designed to make the boat feel more ‘home like’, and these can be used to store works of art. All in all, we were looking to create a rustic, homely atmosphere that isn’t too busy or overwhelming.
What was important to the owners of Project Capella for the design, and how involved were they in the process?
They are heavily involved with the design throughout. They had seen previous Van der Valk boats which I had designed – and some were even at the shipyard to show them – so it was easier for them to visualise what they wanted. The kitchen can be described as the hotspot of entertainment on board the yacht, and the rest of the boat is designed around it.
The great thing about working with these owners is that they operate themselves (owner-operators), and so they have a lot of experience. You notice in everything that these people know exactly what they want because they know every situation on a yacht inside out.
Working together with the customer on a vessel that is so carefully thought out and planned – down to the smallest detail – which is designed to be used all year round – and ultimately will be used this way, is fantastic.
What was the most interesting part of Project Capella to design?
I like how well the boat is laid out. There is nothing you miss on board, which is impressive for a boat of this size. Everything fits really well together, and there were no unpleasant surprises during construction that any element of didn’t fit with everything else. We designed the layout first and then designed the exterior around it.
Finally, describe the interior design in three words
Calm, homely and galley-focused!