A Brief History of De Vries Lentsch

Written by Malcolm John Wood

Founded in 1874, Dutch shipyard, De Vries Lentsch, originally commenced operations by constructing wooden rowing boats for the port of Amsterdam in 1878. Following this inauspicious beginning, it progressed to creating small traditional Dutch sailing craft for the home market.

In 1892 the company built the steel power yacht Forever, ex. Brave Mollie. The 26.4-metre vessel was made for the autocratic King Leopold II of Belgium, who became notorious for his mistreatment of the population in the Congo Free State of the time. Forever still exists, and is in the port of Palma.Forever yacht cruisingPhoto: Globe Regal YachtingDe Vries Lentsch continued to build steel and wooden yachts of up to 18-metres in length. As the yachts grew, the company expanded building capacity by setting up another shipyard at Grasweg in Amsterdam. This became known as Amsterdamsche Scheepvaart G. de Vries Lentsch Jr., the Nieuwendam yard was Scheepswerf ‘Het Fort’ G. de Vries Lentsch.

Between 1927 and 1939, the company delivered a record number of 18-metre-plus yachts, including the first two yachts exceeding 30-metres. These steel motor yachts were the 31.1-metre Lexa and the slightly longer 31.8-metre Piet Hein, delivered to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Although Lexa is no longer in existence, Piet Hein still provides the current Dutch royal family with sterling service.Piet Hein classic motor yachtPhoto: Kees TornIn 1960 the design department separated from the construction side of the company, establishing De Vries Designers and Naval Architects B.V., which became headed by Willem de Vries Lentsch. Today, they are based in Edam — not far from Amsterdam — and headed by Willem de Vries Lentsch Jr.Istros yacht at Feadship De Vries shipyardPhoto: FeadshipFrom the post-WWII period up until 1978 when the last De Vries Lentsch yacht was completed, no fewer than 85 yachts of over 18-metres have been delivered and most still exist. The largest motor yacht built at the shipyard was 42.06-metre Istros, delivered in 2004 and recently restored. The largest sailing yacht was 57-metre three-masted schooner Carita (now Fleurtje) completed in 1960.Fleurtje yacht anchored off AntibesPhoto: Merijn de Waard / SuperYacht TimesThis article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of The SuperYacht Times newspaper. To receive all future issues straight to your door, subscribe to the newspaper here.

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