It’s not every day you see a gigantic super yacht weaving its way through the narrow canals of the Netherlands. Luckily, photographer Tom van Oossanen was on hand to capture the amazing scenes as “Project 817,” a 94-meter boat built by Netherlands shipyard Feadship, was transported from its facility on Kaag Island to the North Sea in Rotterdam last week.
In a series of striking images, the ship, one of the largest to be launched in 2021, is guided through the water by tugs, passing houses and churches as the crowd looks on in wonder. According to Tom van Oossanen, about four to six superyachts are transferred along this route each year before moving on to sea trials, which usually take place in Amsterdam. Few, however, are as large as the 817 project, which will likely be called “Viva” when it is officially launched.
“It’s always quite an operation. Everyone loves to watch the show,” explained the photographer our colleagues of CNN. He added: “But these maneuvers lead to serious unforeseen events on land and on the water. It can take an hour to cross a bridge, and with the amount of traffic we have in Holland, it adds up quickly. “
Kaag Island is one of two Feadship shipyards based in the interior of the Netherlands (the other is in Aalsmeer, near Schiphol), which means every yacht delivered from here must be painstakingly moved in the same way. “Both shipyards are actually quite far from the North Sea, so to get the yachts to sea, they have to go through a small canal to Rotterdam. There is only one possible way to get there,” says Tom van Oossanen.
Much precautions needed to move such big boat through these small canals.
Parts of the channels along the route are only a few meters wider than Project 817, which extends about 15 meters from port to starboard. Under these particularly complicated conditions, to say that the transfer required a great deal of care and attention is an understatement.
In the first phase of the operation, Viva was moved from the Kaag Island shipyard to Lake Braassemermeer, where it was fitted with pontoons to raise it so that it would not be too deep to maneuver in the canals. Tugs were then attached to the pontoons on either side of the superyacht, which was also wrapped in protective sheeting, to guide the vessel through the water with precision.
It was then ready to be pushed and pulled along the canals, across a small bridge in the small village of Woubrugge, as well as in Alphen aan den Rijn, a town in western Holland, before reaching the Dutch town of Gouda, located south of Amsterdam, a few days later. A team of five experts and a crew on board are usually mandatory to successfully navigate a superyacht to the sea.