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Moonen Yachts - In Trusted Hands

For 40 years, Dutch shipyard Moonen Yachts have been crafting some of the finest and well-constructed superyachts on the market today. The Dutch are well known worldwide for their craftsmanship and Moonen take it to the next level with their exquisite materials and finishes sourced from around the world, resulting in a unique superyacht, built perfectly for the lucky few who can call a Moonen their very own.

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Moonen are proud to be home to 20 carpenters and engineers, all of whom play an integral part in the creation of their incredible yachts and some who have graced the outfitting sheds since close to inception. A small operation by comparison to larger shipyards, but certainly no less dedicated or able, each member of the team brings their own experience and enthusiasm to their role and has their own story as to why their passion lies in yachting.

For Nicky van Zon, Moonen’s Technical Director, his love for the industry started when he became a watersports and sailing enthusiast when he was very young. Sailing with his parents, Nicky knew how to sail long before he knew how to swim. But before he was allowed to take a boat out on his own, his parents made sure he knew how to tread water. The decision to go into the yachting industry came during Nicky’s naval architecture studies and it was at this moment that he got in touch with Moonen for the first time. As the story goes, he applied for an internship and then he never left.

Making a career within the company, Nicky moved from Intern to Assistant Project Manager, then became Project Manager and finally Technical Director, tallying up a total of over 13 years with Moonen Yachts. Proof that hard work and passion can turn into a very rewarding career.

But what made Nicky stick with Moonen? “I always felt there was a new opportunity on the horizon within the company. I was young and eager, I was challenged and given opportunities to grow. A big part of me staying was, well, just take a look at our product! I was so proud to be a part of the team that had a hand in building these superyachts. Because we are a small shipyard and only build a couple of superyachts per year, you have a really strong connection to each and every build.”

With each yachts’ design and build centred around serious cruising capabilities, we would be proud too! The naval architecture and hull design of recently delivered 36m Moonen, M/Y KOKORO, was executed by René van der Velden Yacht Design in collaboration with Diana Yacht Design. René says “Today many clients like to travel at higher speeds than a typical displacement vessel can offer, without requiring planning or even semi displacement top speed. At the same time they are attracted to the solid feel of a steel hull. There is also a preference to maximise the amount of (indirect) natural light in the interior and the view to outside, requiring a high amount of glass.”

“The above combination of requirements may sound simple and logical, but prove a real challenge in terms of naval architecture. To keep the weight in hand the hull was constructed in High Tensile Steel.” Both naval architects performed preliminary structural calculations to find the optimum arrangement of longitudinal and transverse stiffeners, resulting in a weight saving of 15%. “We opted for a design that would be highly efficient over the entire speed range. This shape also enhances a comfortable ride in all conditions.”

Further ensuring a comfortable journey is the distinct way Moonen make their “silent ships”.

Cornee de Bruin, Head of the Mechanical Department tells us that onboard, “all components including pumps, hydraulic blocks and electrical cabinets are mounted on rubber dampers which absorb the noise and vibration. All pipes are mounted on these rubber dampers too, especially in the engine room. The generators and exhaust are mounted on specially designed frames and the generators have the added benefit of also being mounted on air suspension, so essentially, they are floating on air which keeps the noise and vibration to an absolute minimum. In addition to this, nothing is fitted directly below the main deck or on the bulkhead, to ensure no noise or vibration passes into the main living spaces.”

So when you’re out enjoying the most stunning, serene landscape, you can know with absolute certainty that your journey won’t be interrupted by unwelcome noise, but rather your enjoyment at sea will increase exponentially.

And how is this managed? Each Moonen is put through a rigorous sea trial period where every feature is pushed to its limits. “During the commissioning stage we take measurements of the noise and vibration levels and with these results we can then adjust and regulate the settings of the air suspension for the generators. During sailing the hydraulic system is pressureless, so hydraulic noises cannot travel through the pipelines which are running throughout the accommodation” says Cornee.

All Moonen yachts are built to withstand even the toughest of elements. And whilst you may opt to enjoy the serene waters of the Med, the comfort is in knowing that you will be traveling safely across any body of water due to the processes and procedures Moonen have in place.

Proving Moonen Yachts have a long history of nurturing young, enthusiastic potential craftsmen and turning them into skilled heads of production departments, Jos van Dongen, head of the shipyards Interior department, has been a valued member of the Moonen team for over 25 years. A family background of carpentry meant that Jos was exposed to this craft from a very young age. He took a keen interest in woodwork at 12 years old where he began to hone his skills at school. The first piece he ever made was a hand crafted side table. This later evolved into building kitchens during various summer jobs he held and also assisting his uncle in his business.

Living very close to the river and having a few boats in the family, Jos was always immersed in the “on the water” lifestyle. Back then, Moonen yachts were in fact prepared for sea trials in the port located in his hometown. This is where he first remembers being impressed by yachts of this size; “Lady M was a really big yacht that I remember seeing poking out over the dyke’s. In my small hometown, the dyke’s are around 5-6 meters high! Seeing Lady M towering above them, at 14 years old, was really impressive!”. From that point on Jos decided that working for Moonen would be a great opportunity to further develop and refine his skills. And so, at 16 years old, he became the youngest apprentice in the carpentry department at the time.

For four years Jos continued to work on his apprenticeship whilst finishing his schooling for carpentry, before transitioning into full time work in the outfitting department for the shipyard. Over the next few years, he went on to complete qualifications in mechanical design and engineering. This enabled him to move into interior engineering in 2002 and then in 2008 he became the head of the interior department, which is where he continues to thrive today.

And so what was it about working for Moonen Yachts that made him stay? “It’s a package deal” says Jos, “Moonen feels like family. It’s a small group of dedicated craftsmen who love working towards delivering a beautiful yacht to its owners. The position I’m in means that I’m across everything from start to delivery. From day one I’m in charge of the end result and this of course makes me very proud.”

“Moonen is a small family group. I always say we are great at making decisions quickly, because we have the ability to come together in a smaller group and discuss what is needed moving forward. We trust each other, which is so important within a shipyard and it’s impressive that such a small group of people can deliver such a high quality, well-crafted product on such a large scale.”

“On a daily basis it’s always great to work with high quality products such as fabrics, veneers and marble. In the carpentry world, this is the best of the best. What I love about working in the interior department, is that this is what makes the yacht customized, it’s always a one off, never the same, which is what makes our department different from the others.”

Each and every Moonen is unique and handcrafted with love from the inside out. And those who own one, know that when you invest in a Moonen, you’re not just getting a yacht, you’re getting a way of life.

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