Tip of the Iceberg: complex project showcases refit flexibility at Van der Valk

The repowering and extension of the 33.83-metre passage-making motoryacht Iceberg is a fantastic example of the efficiency and flexibility of our operations at Van der Valk and the wide range of skill sets we have in-house for refits. It also shows how we can meet virtually every demand in the fastest possible delivery time.

This complex project was taken over from another yard at the owner’s request and delivered on time and to the highest quality level. Add in the excellent way Bram Kooltjes and his team managed the project and you can see why more owners of premium aluminium motoryachts in the 20-40-metre range are turning to Van der Valk for major refits and rebuilds

Built by Circa Marine in New Zealand in 2014, Iceberg was the first and only FPB 97 passage maker from the boards of Dashew Offshore in the United States. She was designed to be the largest possible size for a family crew to comfortably handle and is particularly admired for her covered upper helm and 360-degree main deck lounge.

Epic undertaking
It was a pleasure to welcome this remarkable motoryacht to our premises after we were called in by owner’s rep Jan Bruggeman from the Ship Motion Group. Having worked with Jan on various new builds in the past we were keen to help in any way possible. The original refit project was based on the experiences of the owners as they took Iceberg in an epic trip from New Zealand to the Galapagos Islands then onto the west coast of South America and through the Panama channel.

The initial key elements were as follows:
• A desire for more power, hence the decision to install twin 500 hp John Deere engines for a max speed of 15 knots and cruising speed of 12
• As Iceberg would be going faster the owner wanted to be able to ‘surf’ the waves, which required a hull extension of more than three metres
• The extra length was to be used to good effect in terms of layout and equipment, including creating a dedicated tender space.

Work got underway at a Stateside yard but a year later had stalled. After our general manager Bram Kooltjes flew over to visit the project an agreement was signed for Van der Valk to take over and complete all the work within just six months of her arrival in the Netherlands.

Carefree experience
“As a yard we are used to taking care of all water-to-water transportation to our yard and post-completion delivery to wherever you wish to cruise after a refit,” says Bram. “It’s all part of the overall carefree experience we like to offer our refit clients.

“Our biggest plus is that we have all the core disciplines in-house and don’t have to subcontract. In a nutshell, we only hire hands, not knowledge, and that involve tapping into a dedicated pool of specialised workers when large projects like this require, artisans who know how our yard works and what is expected from them.”

this well-oiled machine swiftly went into action after Iceberg and her new engines arrived in Waalwijk. “We first had the engines intensively tested by MPS Diesel in the Netherlands to ensure everything was in order. Meanwhile we carefully examined all the aluminium welding work under the engine room and foundations with Rontgen Xray images. After removing a lot of material, the engines were installed along with all the aspects that come with such a significant repowering, including water intakes.”

Whilst the yard was busy with all these activities the owner felt sufficiently confident with the project’s progress to make a large number of additional requests. These included:

• Completely changing engine room floor to incorporate larger engines/components
• Extending airco and heating in wheelhouse
• Work on teak deck in wheelhouse
• Upgrading navigation equipment
• Maintenance of all stand-still installations
• Touchups of weather-worn areas and various interior areas

“All these extra activities basically doubled the scope of our work,” adds Bram. “At the same time everything had to be finished within the same delivery date to ensure the owner could enjoy Christmas in the Bahamas. I am glad to say that we met this challenging deadline and the owner was delighted with our work.”

Giving something back
Van der Valk often partners with generous clients but it’s good to end this story by sharing a heartwarming gesture by the owner of Iceberg. The yacht was completed and ready for her journey to Saint Maarten not long after a hurricane hit the island. The owner therefore had the boat filled with shoes for distribution to the people in need on Sint Maarten.

After unloading the owner then re-joined his better-than-new yacht and embarked on a Christmas cruise of the Bahamas. Iceberg is now back in the south of Europe so keep an eye out for this striking boat if you are in the region.