Habbeke Shipyard is a very reliable shipyard for the KNRM. They proved to build excellent lifeboats. Lifeboats operates in severe weather circumstances in high seas, therefore the lifeboats need to be reliable. Habbeke has proven to be capable to build a variety of lifeboats under class and to look after periodical maintenance as well. In the process of design, building and maintenance Habbeke is always very cooperative to share their extended knowledge in favour of the crews of the lifeboats. Besides craftsmanship Habbeke performs also a high standard of customer service.
In January 2012 I went to the Netherlands for the refit process of our Valentine class boat, achieved as the “NOMAD”. It was built for the transport of persons and not directly as a rescue boat. It was my first introduction with Habbeke Shipyard in Volendam and also with Closed Valentine model, unlike the “normal” Valentine which have an open wheelhouse.
After the refit, I have sailed several times to learn about the possibilities of a ship powered by water jets. I had some experience in Curacao with Antje, the old lifeboat from Katwijk, but this was a breath of fresh air compared to the Antje where you barely had a reverse and who flew off the water when turning at full speed PS or SB, the Nomad just keeps sticking to the water without breaking out. After the necessary adjustments, towing bollards, more Ullman seats, NOMAD was shipped to the island where she arrived on the Lady Claudia on April 12.
From the arrival of the ship is the “Dick Braakman”, renamed in honor of the former operations coordinator of the CITRO. In Curacao we have the same kind of waves that is comparable to wind force 8 on the IJssellake, so very nasty short waves no problem for the boat but the crew should abandon properly. In 2 years I have sailed almost all actions as skipper, and must say the boat will never let you down, you can do everything with it what you want. Here our mainly jobs is the salvage of fishing boats and yachts, Venezuelan floating market, guiding sailing regattas, getting people out of the water, (with the stern platform for rescueworkit is easy to get a person out of the water) ., medical evacuation merchant ships, etc., the waves are never higher than 3 m here only in a short time, so annoying. Due the speed of our vessel, our actions never last much longer than three hours. Towing boats on the towing bollards goes smoothly with the amount of horsepower of the vessel.
“In 2004, members of the Project Committee of Caister Lifeboat Service in the UK began to explore the replacement of its existing lifeboat. After thorough research and many personal discussions, the team reached a unanimous decision to purchase a Valentijn 2000 built by Habbeké.
Throughout the contract negotiations and the period of construction it became obvious to all concerned within the Caister team that Arie de Waart and his loyal team of employees were not only first class craftsmen who take an immense pride in their work but they are also people whom you can trust implicitly. This enabled carrying out business with them a pleasure, and continued with their after sales service.
We would have no reservation in recommending Habbeké shipyard of Volendam to any perspective client.”
Lifeboat organisations such as the KNRM (Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution) do not allow “anyone” to build their vessels. Such boats have to be able to withstand hurricane strength winds and sea conditions, and must be built to the highest standards of design and workmanship.
In our opinion this means that the people who build these boats, from the director down to the most junior staff member, must be totally committed to their products, and must work in the knowledge that their products will have to be of the highest quality – not only handling natural forces at the height of storms at sea, but also withstanding heavy collisions with larger vessels as they go alongside. They must survive falling off meter-high waves and must also swiftly right themselves after capsizing.
Such conditions mean that those who crew these boats have to trust that their boat is capable of withstanding the worst that nature and perhaps man can throw at them: trusted shipbuilders produce trusted vessels and Habbeké are therefore one of the wharves where the KRNM allow their boats to be built.
“During my thirty years service with the KNRM, I have been associated with many different life-boats; twenty of these years as skipper/coxswain. My longest period was with the Eierland type of boat where the work was hard, the boat was under-powered, and you were always cold, wet and tired. This changed a lot in 1990 when we started training for the new type of life-boat – the RIBs. I was honoured to “lay the keel” of our new boat, the ADRIAAN HENDRIK, a VALENTIJN built by HABBEKÉ SHIPYARD.
I worked on the Adriaan Hendrik for five years. A lot of this work was experimental and can assure the reader that the VALENTIJN RIBS are an enormous improvement in life-boat technology. I would like to compliment the team at Habbeké for producing such strong and trustworthy vessels. One can rely upon them in all sorts of weather, and sea conditions, a tribute to the vision and expertise at your wharf”.
1937 – 2014 †
“Once you have sailed in one of these vessels, you will never want to return to the previous designs … They are especially suited to manoeuvring in breaking water, ground seas and heavy surf are no longer as dreaded as they were!”. “For instance, if you have to get to a yacht that is aground amid breaking seas, you go in as close as you can, turn head-on to the surf, and then drop astern until you can get the tow across. Then it is just a question of putting on the power and towing the vessel out into safer waters”.
In a traditional lifeboat, this was just not possible – you would get turned and twisted at every wave” Furthermore, the jets allow you get more and safer power: recently we had to reach a wooden sailing vessel trapped among a breaking ground sea. But with careful handling of the buckets, we reached her at about 10 knots. To do this we would approach the breakers head on and take the high ones by pushing the bow into the breaking water as it hit! By altering the thrust on the twin buckets one can keep the boat in balance, and going forward – of course in the dark it is a little more difficult and we have been knocked all over the place as well; but she always recovers and allows us to carry out our tasks.
But these vessels also allow you to run before a following sea – they are after all very fast and manoeuvrable. Their manoeuvrability also always allows one to get a tow across and the power of the boats then enables one to tow big or small, victims to safety”.