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Dream Big: Holland Jachtbouw 138 Calliope

The 138-foot Calliope is the second-ever motoryacht from Holland Jachtbouw.

October 3, 2011

Holland Jachtbouw Calliope

Sometimes, a new motoryacht gathers serious marketing buzz even before she leaves the shipyard. Charter clients around the globe clamor to book the absolute first possible cruising dates. If the yacht is set to launch at 10 a.m. on a given day, then the clients want to step on board at 6 p.m. that same day. Part of the excitement is knowing that, no matter who charters the yacht next, they will always be able to say that they were first to get aboard one of the most talked-about yachts of the year.

The 138-foot Calliope, as the second-ever motoryacht built by Holland Jachtbouw, had that kind of buzz going as she prepared to launch from the Dutch shipyard in midsummer 2010 (read about Windrose, the other Holland Jachtbouw, here, and see our complete photo gallery here). She was on schedule to be ready by late July, right on time for the high-season charter weeks in the western Mediterranean, and she had all the makings of a star. She was the second and larger motoryacht from the same owner as the 105-foot Holland Jachtbouw Cassiopeia, with the same crew who had logged thousands of miles aboard that yacht in recent years.

Repeat clients were ready to go. New clients were inquiring. Brokers could all but taste the commissions.

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But for Calliope, they all would have to wait.

“The owner knew that the last thing you should do with a brand-new build is send it out for eight or nine weeks of work,” Capt. Ian Insull says. “Things need to be tested and properly finished off. The crew need time to get to know the boat. There is so much in these boats that can go wrong, you have to get sorted. Even just working out the entertainment system — every little thing is very important to charter guests.”

And so it was that instead of going into charter immediately, Calliope did something that precious few new-yacht operations take the time to do — she spent a full year fitting out and preparing — literally testing the waters.

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The owners did a two-week maiden cruise to Norway in horrible weather in July 2010, then Insull steered toward Gibraltar in such nasty seas that he had to alter Calliope‘s course. “Not a single glass or plate was broken,” Insull recalls. “These were good, stern tests of seaworthiness.” Next came a showing with Holland Jachtbouw at the Monaco Boat Show in September 2010, followed by a bit of private cruising with the owners and an entire winter season in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where every last punch-list item was addressed. By May 2011 in Genoa, Italy, where I stepped on board Calliope at her first charter-yacht show, Insull and the owner finally felt certain that she was ready to go. The entire months of July and August were reserved specifically for charter use — and the entire Calliope team was already working on plans for the next two years of charter to come.

“We had a world cruise in mind when this boat was built,” says Insull, who was captain aboard Cassiopeia as well as build captain for Calliope. “She was always meant to be big enough, strong enough, and with enough range to go around the world.”

Which is exactly what Calliope is now preparing to do. Summer 2011 was spent in the Mediterranean, followed by winter 2011-12 in the Caribbean. From there, Calliope will go through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands, explore the Pacific Isles and base in Tahiti for summer 2012. During winter 2012-13, she will be available in New Zealand and Australia, followed by the Indian Ocean before she returns to the Mediterranean.

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All the while, she will have a strong support team at home, Insull says, thanks to the continued relationship between the owner and Holland Jachtbouw. He chose the shipyard to build Calliope because he felt its after-sales warranty work on Cassiopeia was strong. And with Insull, chief engineer Ian Lance and chef Tony Gozra all having been integral in Calliope‘s build process and yearlong fine-tuning, they each developed personal contacts with the shipyard and suppliers in case anything goes wrong, anywhere.

“We’re going to faraway places,” Insull says. “It’s good to know that if we need something, we can get it on a plane in 24 hours.”

Calliope, the last design from designer Bill Langan before his untimely death in late 2010, looked absolutely brand-new during my tour in spring 2011. Her interior feels at once classic and modern, thanks to limed oak woodwork, lots of natural light and contemporary furniture placed in traditional interior guest spaces by U.K.-based design house Rhoades Young. She offers many appealing features, including a main-deck master with a private library, a lazarette that has been outfitted as a gymnasium and Naiad zero-speed stabilizers for comfort under way.

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The belowdecks cabin arrangement is well thought out too, with a geometrically shaped foyer that prevents any cabin doors from aligning with others directly across the hall, creating a better sense of privacy. Also a plus are the unseen crew passageways and tunnels that allow stewardesses to clean rooms and engineers to access machinery without having to use a single guest staircase or remove any floor hatches in the guest areas.

At the same time, Calliope remains true to the owners’ cruising lifestyle, which is big on conversation with friends and family, top-notch service from crew and low-tech fun with everything from snorkeling gear to playing cards. Unlike many other charter yachts, Calliope has not been outfitted with personal watercraft or over-the-top entertainment systems. There are instead water skis, a sun-deck hot tub, fishing gear and satellite TV, things that the owners feel are more in keeping with a traditional cruising experience. There’s also plush carpeting handmade of Nepalese silk — which is not friendly to spills, one reason that children younger than 10 are not generally welcome for charter.

“The owners set up the boat as they want it, and they hope everyone enjoys it,” Insull says. “They don’t watch a lot of TV. They aren’t interested in attracting a party crowd. When I get on this boat, I think it’s saying, ‘Come on in. Relax.’”

That’s exactly how I felt during my tour, and it made me wonder why there aren’t more Holland Jachtbouw motoryachts on the water. Cassiopeia showed the builder’s original prowess in 2004, and Calliope proved again in 2010 that the sailing yard’s craftsmen know how to build a motoryacht beautifully. Cassiopeia is currently on the brokerage market for sale, and if her new owner takes her private, Calliope will be the only Holland Jachtbouw motoryacht available for charter in the world. That will help her remain a unique property with plenty of marketing buzz, of course, but it also is a bit counterintuitive given all the terrific amenities that she offers.

“In my opinion, Holland Jachtbouw is a pedigree yard,” Insull says. “Cassiopeia was so well received by our owner and charter guests that, when it came time to build Calliope, we couldn’t understand why there hadn’t been another Holland Jachtbouw motoryacht already. It worked out great for us — we slid right into the production schedule — but really, there should be many more Holland Jachtbouw motoryachts out there. People really don’t know what they’re missing, whether they’re looking to charter or to build.”

Holland Jachtbouw, + 31 756 149 133; www.hollandjachtbouw.nl

Calliope takes 10 guests with nine crew at a lowest weekly base rate of $160,000. Contact Camper & Nicholsons International, 954-524-4250, www.camperandnicholsons.com

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