Via Enrico Cialdini 16, MIlano

logo yacht design ridisegnato

staff@yacht.design


facebook
instagram
twitter

Cookie-Policy and Privacy-Policy

 

THE FLOATING DUTCHMAN

2023-12-22 12:39

Antonio Vettese

People,

THE FLOATING DUTCHMAN

INTERVIEW Cor D. Rover by Antonio Vettese

by Antonio Vettese

 

 

THE FLOATING DUTCHMAN

 

 

He was fond of airplanes and he wanted to work on them. But as his father was a skipper and he was born on a ship, his future could only be on the water. Cor D. Rover designs luxury vessels, paying attention to craftmanship and handmade products. Two items that make something unusual and exclusive. In one word, unique. As a superyacht should be.                   

2918-68m-seasense-1.jpegcdrd-022-50-17102014-0002.jpeg3740-157-ff103275.jpeg

«I was born on a ship. My father was a skipper on an inland barge, a small 21-meter barge. But I was one of his six children and my father decided he was going to have a life on shore». Cor D. Rover receives us in a beautiful floating office in Rotterdam. He shares it with the people that run the Marina. «The smell of water probably does something to me, and the same to my brothers and sisters. We all love the ocean. We love the water». And, if you want to design good boats water is the starting point.  

63.jpeg

DO YOU GO BOATING?

Yes, I go boating. Clients always ask me, do you have a boat yourself? Well, we do. We have a little tender in the canals of Amsterdam, but that’s real simple boating and you can even sleep on board. We went through Holland on this little, little boat, but it’s more like a floating tent. I rent boats when I’m in the Mediterranean. 

 

WE ARE NOW FLOATING IN YOUR OFFICE AS WELL.

Yes, even today we’re floating. My designs are produced while on the water. This is a floating harbour office. It’s an old police station built in the 1930s on a pontoon, it has been restored and it has been offered as an office. And I said, this is a fantastic studio for a yacht designer with foreign clients: they are very fond of this Dutch style wooden building. I love working here and clients like coming here and be inspired by being on the water. 
 

YOU GO BOATING AND YOU DESIGN BOATS TOO. IS THERE A CONNECTION, A RELATIONSHIP?

Well, first of all, I have to admit, every time I’m on board for a long period of time, I’m impressed by the forces of the ocean. I haven’t even experienced the worst weather conditions and every time I’m on the water I’m impressed by the activities of the crew. If you look at yachting from a client’s perspective, it’s all leisure, luxury and having fun. But behind the scenes, you’ve got the crew’s work: it has to make life practical and make the hotel, the floating hotel, work. All services that customers need must be up and running at all times. I’m impressed from a functional point of view and everyday my boats become more practical and less impressive. Maybe because, after all, life on board is good when the crew is working and is able to do a good job. 

 

WHERE DID YOU START DESIGNING BOATS FROM?

From day one, we always started to design from inside out. We begin with the content and what is needed to make this floating hotel work well. We have to think of the engines and the engine room: they have to breathe and everything has to work. Otherwise it’s a useless property. You begin from all the functions and really at the very end of it, you draw a very nice jacket, a suit around the volume. 

phi-ideation-exterior-bar-maindeck_15june2018.jpeg

I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT YOU LOVE AIRPLANES, IS THAT TRUE?

I wanted to be an airplane designer. I’ve read millions of books about airplanes, classic and modern, fighter jets, propeller aircraft. I was really fond of everything aeronautical, but for some reason I was living in the middle of a lot of shipyards and born on a ship. Eventually I started studying mechanical engineering, and on top of that I did naval architecture. And, to be honest, there is not much design in an airplane, it is about just a tube with wings. 

When I started my career, I was a pure technical guy. I was never trained to be an architect or an industrial designer, but I was always looking at things, sketching them. And as a designer, if you know what is technically necessary helps a lot. Sometimes I have discussions in the shipyard. They have nice ideas, impossible to build. Then I say: «No, no, no. If we do it this other way, we can achieve the results. Technology in the backpack helps a lot, although now 100 percent of our work is aesthetic exterior and interior design. But we don’t do any naval architecture. We only collaborate with naval architects around the world. 


WHAT ABOUT THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY? SOMETIMES IT HAS BEEN USED JUST AS A MARKETING ISSUE.

Unnecessary technology is waste of money. The use of carbon is interesting because, if you have to move a planing hull from point A to B, weight is an enemy. The more weight you can save, the better it is. But building a displacement vessel with any carbon is waste of money. You’re displacing, you’re not planing. 

 

WE SEARCH FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE RIGHT DIRECTION SHOULD BE SAILING. BUT SAILING BOATS ARE LIVING A CRISIS PERIOD. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?

It’s very strange that in today’s market, where we want to burn less fuel, the number of sailing boats is diminishing. That is very strange. The sailing superyachts segment dropped from 12 percent to 8 percent. For that reason, we are now collaborating with Royal Huisman and Rondal and Artemis proposing a multihull with a wing mast, a very practical and intelligent technology. We are trying to convince people to move from pure motoryachts into wind propelled ones. My job and our job is to make it look appealing and practical and also to get people out of their multihulls into something wind propelled.

6690-contemporary.jpegteamfoto-2.jpegphiphi-phantom-copia.jpeg

THE MARKET SEEMS TO ASK FOR BIGGER BOATS.

Sometimes when I’m stepping on a 40-meter yacht, the owner says, «My boat is too small», and honestly, I reply: «No, it’s not too small, maybe too small for you». But anyway, it’s also my bread and butter. I’m always happy to build something new for clients. But deep inside, I really think: «Why? Why bigger?». You should want to go in the water, go diving, snorkeling, see the beauty of the ocean and not just float on top of her from the third, or sixth level looking over the ocean. For many years I thought having a swimming pool on a yacht was the most insane choice. I thought: «You’re on your yacht floating in the biggest swimming pool on this planet». But then, thanks to National Geographic, and all this programs about shark attacks that scare people about the ocean I understand the idea of the swimming pool. And for that reason, we have now pools on board. Thanks to technology we have patented a swimming pool where the water always stays in the pool and you don’t need a dump tank anymore: in five minutes you can swim. Sometimes in large yachts it takes 45 minutes to pump the water from the dump tank into the swimming pool. It also takes a lot of energy, and you’re just pumping the water up and down. 

 

WHERE IS THE DESIGN GOING?

We always look at car manufacturers. You have very low-cost cars. They offer a lot of content for a relatively good price. They are still expensive, but they have a lot more content than 30 years ago. There are cars that cost a lot of money not for the volume but for the luxury, the art and the artisanal input they give. That’s the reason why clients buy those models: because of the artistry and the craftsmanship. Handmade is something unusual, expensive, exclusive. There will always be space for handmade craftmanship because people appreciate the great amount of love in it.
 

THIS IS THE TOP OF THE PYRAMID.

I think the big market is trying to be more and more efficient everyday and I think there’s a lot to gain if you look at it. But at the same time, the amount of boats compared to the amount of cars produced is useless. It makes no sense. Boating is still a very small market. Even if we talk about hundreds and thousands of boats, it’s nothing compared to the car market. You can use the car all year around, but you can go boating seasonally. That’s also the reason why investors are not really interested in the yachting market. Investors are more interested in cruise shipping, but the charter market is a seasonal one: 15 weeks in the Mediterranean and two or three weeks in the Caribbean. 

Now we are building an Explorer ice class vessel at a cruise shipbuilder. She can be chartered all year round. If you are just a rich, young person who doesn’t want to own a superyacht but you just want to be on the ocean for a couple of weeks, either go to Antarctica, or whatever remote areas, this can be the right solution. This is a new upcoming market. 
 

EXPLORER IS ALWAYS A FASCINATING WORD.

I think many exploring yachts look like they cross the oceans, but they are just exploring the restaurants around the Med. I still don’t understand why living in a skyscraper everyday and then, choosing another one on the water during the holidays. I want to be out. I want to smell the ocean. I want to live in the sun. 

We’re building a 60-meter superyacht, one and a half meter longer than PHI but more than three times the volume. But it’s not even the length, it’s the volume that is creating the nature of the vessel.