Robert van Tol was a member of the Feadship Heritage Fleet secretariat from an early stage and played an instrumental role in helping the association establish itself in Europe. After stepping down due to his work at the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss), Robert is now back in the FHF fold and a proud classic Feadship owner himself!
It was August this year when Robert received the chance to take ownership of Irene, a Super Holland Kruiser built in 1939 by Van Lent. “She had the perfect length for me at 9.80 metres and the option to take off the roof and have an open cockpit. Moreover, the sleeping cabin in the back would allow my fiancée Kathrin and I to escape for the weekends.”
A stringent inspection confirmed the good condition in which Irene was kept by the Van Gerven sisters, who Robert had come to know through his work with the secretariat. “They were happy for me to become the new owner and I thought that if I don’t do this now such an opportunity might never arise again. Immediately after the handover, the Netherlands started enjoying a great Indian summer and we could enjoy Irene to the max.
“This winter we are conserving Irene’s mahogany exterior, bringing back the natural mahogany colour and applying many layers of fresh varnish. She will look fabulous on our wedding day in June when we will arrive at the location on board Irene.”
Irene was named after princess Irene of the Netherlands who was also born in 1939. She was built for an owner living on the Reeuwijkse lakes in the centre of Holland, hence her rather slim beam of 2.85 metres to navigate through the narrow waters. Robert is only the fourth owner in Irene’s 77 years.
“Apart from the FHF membership that Irene enables, I was very much intrigued by the fact that she was built at Van Lent, the yard I grew up close to and always admired when passing by in a dingy or ice skating on the Kaag. In 2007 I wrote to Van Lent asking if I could be a marketing intern, I was redirected to Feadship, but had no idea what that was. It was lucky timing and I was warmly welcomed at the Feadship marketing office in Haarlem. This was my introduction to this extraordinary company, its fascinating history and the supreme yachts they build and have built.”