Giving super-yachts some elbow room
MAKKUM – Plans to upgrade a 20-mile causeway in the northern part of the Netherlands may become a boon for the Dutch mega-yacht sector. A Dutch engineering consultancy has calculated that expanding a key causeway lock can generate up to €200 million in super-yacht business and create hundreds of jobs there.
The Witteveen & Bos consultancy said lengthening the 137m Kornwerderzand lock to 150m _ and doubling its width and depth to 25m and 5m, respectively _ would greatly benefit Dutch super-yacht yards behind the causeway. It said these now miss out on refit business because large yachts prefer not to negotiate the Kornwerderzand lock because it is such a tight squeeze.
The study excites regional legislators because it is a shot in the arm for mega-yacht builders. ”This is an investment that would benefit not just general navigation, but yacht building too,” says Sietske Poepjes, a Fryslan provincial legislator.
Hiswa Magazine, a publication of the Dutch yachting federation, quotes Sijbrand de Vries of Koninklijke De Vries Shipyard in Makkum as saying the study’s finding “is very good news. The yachts we build can often not return to Makkum due to their size. Our customers want more all the time and we want to cater to that. Enlarging the causeway lock would mean new opportunities for us.” Hiswa is hopeful the works on the lock can start in 2018.
The Kornwerderzand lock is located at the eastern end of a 83-year-old cause that was built to end flooding in the Netherlands. The causeway’s construction created a vast inland lake _ the IJsselmeer _ in the heart of Holland. The causeway itself needs to be upgraded to meet the protection norms dictated by climate change at the outset of the 21st century.