In 1968, Wim van der Valk, an avid boater, decided to start his own shipyard in The Netherlands. The first projects were 23 to 30 feet (7 to 10 meters) LOA, cabin cruisers and aft-cabin cruisers. Nearly 50 years and 1,200 deliveries later, various aluminum and steel yachts and megayachts from about 66 to 138 feet (20 to 42 meters) are the focus. Wim himself is still a big part of the company, and he and the new generations have new strategies. The first is a change of name, to Van der Valk Continental Yachts. The second: setting sights on the American market.
The name change is pretty straightforward. “Continental” has long been part of the model names for the yard’s semi-custom yachts. In terms of markets, Van der Valk Continental Yachts reports strong sales within The Netherlands, Germany, and Russia. The management team believes the classic appeal of the models’ styling combined with semi-custom construction—and metal construction at that—will fill a good niche in the United States.
Interesting enough, even the model names themselves are slightly changing. Up to now, Van der Valk Continental Yachts had the Continental I, Continental II, Continental III, and Continental Trawler series. The first three models will use spelled-out words (“Continental One” vs. “Continental I,” for example) instead. The Continental Trawler is now called the Continental Four, for simplicity. The Continental One series is an aft-cabin boat up to 66 feet (20 meters), long popular with clients. The Continental Two series is available with a flying bridge or forward wheelhouse, both with foredeck lounging/sunning spaces. Raised-pilothouse fans may prefer the Continental Three series, while trawler fans may gravitate toward the Continental Four model. These latter two models are available in a variety of LOAs, though the Continental Three starts at 79 feet (24 meters).
Van der Valk Continental Yachts continues to expand into the long-range-cruising megayacht realm, too. A newly created series, the Continental Five, offers clients explorer-style, three-deck projects. The Continental Five blends soft and rugged lines in her profile, from the drawing boards of Guido de Groot Design. (The same studio penned the lines for the Continental II and III.) The yacht can handle touch-and-go helicopter operations on the aft deck. Alternately, Van der Valk Continental Yachts will configure the space to stow two tenders up to 26 feet (8 meters) each.