Refitting Utopia in 80 days

Koninklijke De Vries Makkum, part of the Feadship group, has successfully completed the refit of the 71.60-meter (234’ 9”) Utopia. Originally launched in 2004 and the second largest Feadship yet built, the yacht’s new owners had previously spent several months chartering Utopia. Delighted with her first class facilities and technologies, they decided to personalize Utopia to their onboard living style. The project took 80 working days to complete and has further enhanced the yacht’s outdoor relaxation options.

This is one of four major refit projects carried out on a Feadship at the Koninklijke De Vries yard in Makkum since it opened in late 2005. Other successes include Siran (extension, structural and interior work), a completely new interior on Inevitable (ex. Mi Gaea) and a major overhaul of the engine room on a 50-meter Feadship. Various other projects are currently under negotiation.

“The in-house knowledge of our yachts makes Koninklijke De Vries Makkum the best possible place for a refit,” says Ico Vergouwe, manager refit department. “We have access to all the original design and build information via the yard and De Voogt Naval Architects, and are used to working in close cooperation with owner teams. The sheer size of the facilities in Makkum makes it possible to have multiple projects underway at the same time, and the accommodation options for crew and/or owner’s representatives are excellent.”

Utopia’s owners used their chartering experience on the yacht to great effect to increase the lounging facilities on the outside decks. On the sun deck forward, a large cut out was made in the canopy to create a huge sunbed with giant fluffy sofas in a champagne color. The windscreen was adapted to suit the new shape of the sunbathing area, new speakers were installed, and the lockers were adapted to create extra storage space. Meanwhile, a wide staircase was built aft of the sun deck to facilitate access from the Jacuzzi to the helicopter deck below. This magnificent piece is made of stainless steel and teak railings, with LED strip lighting.

The entire helicopter deck was laid in teak in order to increase the relaxation space. A variety of furniture and storage was installed, including a free standing buffet on the starboard side to compensate visually for the crane installed on the port side. Large side cabinets with teak working tops and granite inlays enhance the entertainment options, and include a barbecue. Further forward, the seating area has been adapted with deeper and thicker cushions, with two-tread staircases added on both sides. Four large side-supported parasols provide the necessary shade or party atmosphere.

The owners’ foredeck, just forward of their stateroom, already had its own Jacuzzi. Now the seating in this area has been replaced with three large sofas and sunpads, making it an even more idyllic spot for private relaxation. Deck space was increased by removing one of two large circular foredeck hatches.

Finally, various minor alterations were made to the interior and, as Vergouwe stresses, the overall project demonstrates the added value Koninklijke De Vries Makkum offers. “Until we opened this facility, we often had to say no to loyal customers who wanted their Feadship refitted at its place of birth. The constant stream of new builds at the Koninkijke De Vries yard in Aalsmeer meant there was rarely space available to perform a refit in The Netherlands. Now we can provide the perfect blend of Feadship expertise in Makkum, more and more Feadships can be altered to match the changing requirements of owners and technological advances.”

Utopia Year: 2004 Builder: Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw Naval Architect De Voogt Naval Architects Refit design: Guido de Groot Design Length overall: 71.60m 234’9” Beam: 11.78m 38’8” Draft: 3.59m 11’1”

Photo credit: Merijn de Waard /



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