The idiosyncratic expedition yacht builder from Makkum has been around for 25 years
This year, KM Yachtbuilders is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the yacht builder is not letting that pass unnoticed. The anniversary year will start with an extra festive open day, when everyone is welcome for a look behind the scenes of the Makkum shipyard.
KM Yachtbuilders was founded in 1998 and over the years, it has built up a unique position in the international sailing world. With 65 specialists, KM builds aluminium yachts that can be used to set course for the furthest corners of the world’s oceans.
From Ameland to Antarctica
The yard guarantees yachts with excellent sailing qualities, even under the most extreme weather conditions. Eeuwe Kooi: “Our customers are pre-eminently sailing enthusiasts for whom a sailing boat is much more than a fun hobby. We build yachts that allow our customers to experience true freedom. With a KM yacht you can rest on the mudflats, go island hopping in the Caribbean, but also spend the winter at the North Pole for four months.” Most yachts are custom built, although the yard also offers semi-custom yachts, part of the popular Bestevaer line. Kooi: “We’re one of the few aluminium shipyards in the world to have all construction disciplines. Hull construction, engineering, technology, interior design: we do it all ourselves. This way, we can be sure that every aspect of the yacht is of top quality.”
A look behind the scenes during the open day
With more than a hundred custom yachts in the portfolio, there is a lot to look back on and celebrate. During the extra festive open day on Saturday 22 April, the doors will open to anyone who wants to take a look behind the scenes. The KM team is available all day to show interested parties around the units where the hulls are welded, the technology is built in and the interior is made by hand. Various nautical suppliers are also present. In addition, several KM yachts will be on display that will travel to Makkum especially for the occasion, including a number of KM icons such as the Bestevaer 53 Xaos, the Bestevaer 55 Morning Haze and the Stadtship 70 Red Rooster.
The ultimate expedition yacht, from Makkum.
A visit to the open day also offers a unique opportunity to view Pelagic II under construction, the 77-foot sister ship of the Pelagic Vinson of Antarctica. This super-expedition yacht from the famous sailor and adventurer Skip Novak was delivered by KM in 2021 and named “the world’s ultimate expedition yacht” by Yachting World that same year. The construction of the Pelagic is therefore one of the many highlights in the history of the Makkum shipyard. Eeuwe Kooi: “After two years of construction, it was an emotional moment when the Pelagic sailed away from our quay. We loved and enjoyed working on that boat. The fact that we can now build another one is a nice compliment for our professionals, but above all we enjoy it immensely.”
Towards circular shipbuilding
During the open day, you can also view another special yacht under construction: the Bestevaer 36 S/Y. It is the second yacht KM has built for the legendary Dutch sailor and nautical architect Gerard Dijkstra. Project leader Jelle Engel: “For the Bestevaer 36, we and Dykstra Naval Architects set the goal to make not only the smallest, but also the most sustainable Bestevaer ever. Without compromising on quality, because our customers must be able to blindly trust their ship at all times.”
With the latest member of the Bestevaer family, the yard is taking an important step in its ambition to be able to build in a fully circular manner. Kooi: “As far as I’m concerned, the Bestevaer 36 is the sum of 25 years of pioneering construction. All our experience, expertise and creativity come together in this yacht. For example, the ship is full of innovative solutions such as recycled aluminium, environmentally friendly anti-fouling and insulation of wool and cork. In my opinion, it clearly shows where our strength lies. Just like our customers, we dare to venture off the beaten track, that’s when we are at our best as a yard.”
The Bestevaer 36 S/Y is not yet a completely climate-neutral yacht. Engel: “We can’t offer a 100% circular yacht yet but we’re getting closer every year and we’ll continue until we have succeeded. We ourselves sail a lot in the polar regions and see with our own eyes the impact of global warming. It’s something that’s really close to our hearts.”