Linssen Yachts History - Since 1949...
Linssen Yachts BV is a family firm with a long history. Jac. Linssen set up the company on 1 April 1949, which started out as a small-scale woodwork and ship repair business. Over the years, the business continued to develop and it became an important player on the international steel yacht building market.
Jac. Linssen - founder of Linssen Yachts in 1949
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From 1949 - 1970
From 1971 - 1990
From 1991 - 2000
From 2001 - 2010
From 2011 - 2016
From 2017 - present
Linssen Yachts is one of the oldest yacht builders in the Netherlands, making it a company with a rich tradition. The business was established in 1949 by Jac. Linssen Sr. in Maasbracht, a small but dynamic harbour town on the River Meuse in Limburg, nestling in a valley between Belgium and Germany. At the time, Maasbracht – which was then booming as an important harbour for inland shipping in Western Europe – was home to over two hundred seriously war-damaged cargo vessels awaiting repair. The massive amount of work that resulted created firm foundations for the development of regional shipyards and ship-repair businesses. Young local entrepreneurs were in a positive mood and saw opportunities everywhere. Build and invest for the future was their motto at the time!
One of them was Jac. Linssen. Having trained as a shipwright at a small local shipyard, the young all-round craftsman initially concentrated on wood machining. He soon made his name with completely prefabricated solid teak wheelhouses for barges and teak doors for houses. His ships’ wheels, made from tropical hardwood and fitted with a boss construction developed and patented in house, were soon being used in the shipyards which were then flourishing throughout Europe.
The yard’s increasing business required a metalworking department so that large-scale ship repairs could also be carried out fully in house. Small steel rowing boats, work boats and small flat-bottomed boats for use on inland waterways and in the dredging industry called “vletten” were built in this metalworking department to Linssen Senior’s own design.
The obvious next step was a move to luxury yacht building. The sturdy “vlet” boats were ideally suited for this purpose. After further development including a handsome superstructure and a finish which was luxurious for the time, production yacht building was underway at “Scheepswerf en Houtindustrie St. Jozef Jac. Linssen”.
Jos Linssen took over from his father in the 1970s. He focused on the development of professional production yacht building in steel, and rechristened the company Linssen Yachts B.V. This was a name with more international appeal and better suited to its increasing export activities. In the years that followed, the brothers Harry, Jan and Peter also took their place in the family business. The Linssen brothers and their children Yvonne vand Jac are now members of a strong team in which each player has his or her own specific tasks and responsibilities.
In the mid-1970s, Jos Linssen launched a new generation of “vletten”, the first series of Sturdy models. These were “four new St. Jozef vletten”. With this special series of models, he established a trend in the 8-15 metre segment of the Dutch yacht building industry which still felt today, over 30 years later. The St. Jozef vletten laid the foundations for the legendary Linssen Classic Sturdy series. In addition to the vlet-type models, Jos Linssen developed the well-known Linssen SL Series and the Linssen SE and SX Series in the 1980s. In 1995 the Dutch Sturdy® Series was developed in association with Dick Lefeber (who died in 2000), a highly successful range of models which was built until 2005. In parallel to this development, the Grand Sturdy® Series was launched in the larger (15 m) segment. Linssen Yachts commissioned yacht designers W. de Vries Lentsch to design the Grand Sturdy. Willem de Vries Lentsch and Anne Elsinga subsequently designed the Grand Sturdy® 500 Variotop® and the Grand Sturdy® 460. Within a few years, the Grand Sturdy Series had become a recognised name across Europe.
The development of this successful series continued unabated. With almost inexhaustible creativity, Anne Elsinga and Linssen’s internal development team worked continuously on the design and further development of the Grand Sturdy Series. Many new versions and models based on the characteristic design were launched over the years.
A number of years ago, Linssen Yachts made important strategic choices. Extensive market investigations and demographic studies revealed trends that resulted in the staff at the boatyard drawing important conclusions. A long-term plan was drawn up based on a number of significant starting points. Being a trendsetter, rather than being a follower of trends, Linssen opted for a new approach. It observed how larger and larger vessels were being built. An increasing number of boat builders were no longer focusing on smaller vessels. After all, it was alleged that “it was no longer possible in the current climate to produce smaller yachts competitively”. Apart from opting to build semi-custom-built models of 18 metres and larger, the only other option seemed to be transferring production to low-wage countries. But Linssen was convinced that this option was nothing more than a stay of execution. Relocating dated technology to a low-wage country – with all the associated logistic disadvantages – only to see wages rise to West-European levels in the short term, is hardly a strategic measure. Linssen Yachts viewed developments in the yacht-building market from a totally different angle. Serial construction, process technology, scale advantage, logistics and technology were aspects that were far more important to the Maasbracht yacht builder.
The introduction of the Linssen “9” series at the 2004 Linssen Yachts Boat Show immediately caused commotion in the steel yacht-building industry. It may now be justly concluded that Linssen Yachts brought about an upheaval in its product sector. Linssen has a market share of an impressive percentage!
Based on a long-term strategy of continuity, product and process development, optimal product-market combinations, marketing and distribution are terms that have become embedded at all levels of the organisation. Important parts of and investments relating to the long-term plan have now been achieved or are nearing completion. For instance, Linssen Yachts B.V. is investing in high-quality machinery and CNC production technology.
Mainly because of the Classic, Dutch and Grand Sturdy Series, Linssen became known as a yacht builder that builds sophisticated, comfortable and reliable yachts with a completely unique and recognisable style. No superfluous gimmicks, no kitsch, no frills, just honest boat-building offering functional technical solutions, based on almost sixty years of knowledge, experience and craftsmanship.
It is no coincidence that used Linssen yachts fetch very good prices when they are resold. This remarkable fact has contributed to the reputation that Linssen yachts have acquired in the industry. A reputation for being reliable motor yachts with relatively low maintenance costs and a remarkably high resale value results on balance in the lowest “cost of ownership”.
It goes without saying that the basic design and the overall quality of the product play an important part in building a company’s reputation. The yachts’ ability to retain their value is the logical consequence of this philosophy.
Design, smooth handling, comfort, durable, timeless, maintenance, universal, finish, reliable, value, service, image, and so on. These are fine words. Words which, despite each having a specific meaning, can only ever describe one facet of a complex gem. However, it is the facets together that provide the gem’s unique brilliance, incomparable beauty and special value.
The material or the emotional value? They also go hand in hand, just as in the purchase of a motor yacht. After all, this is an investment whichever way you look at it, an investment with an intangible dividend and an excellent residual value...