We would like to take you on a journey through the history of the Gouwerok ship and yacht yard. The origin, the growth over the years and finally the present.
Gouwerok yacht and shipyard originated 6 generations ago through a marriage. Arien Gouwerok marries his Maria Antonia Akerboom in 1851 and takes over the yard from his father-in-law. Shipyard Gouwerok is now a fact.
In the following years, his son Jasper and then grandson Adrianus take over the yard. The yard is moving from the Amstel to Amsterdam-West, which means that the growing clientele is changing from contractors to horticulturists. These gardeners use wooden gardener barges or barges to bring their vegetables to the market in the city.
A new course
With the advent of more and more steel barges, less replacement and maintenance is required. Jasper, the son of Adrianus, therefore changes the course of the company and focuses with his brother Willem on building steel pleasure craft.
In the war years, the brothers manage to modernize the shipyard so that they can continue fully after the war and establish their name as shipbuilders thanks to the carefully finished boats. The demand for a Gouwerok hull increases and in 1953 a collaboration begins with shipyard Visch from Warmond.
Relocation to Aalsmeer
In 1955 the yard moved to Aalsmeer, after which more and more Gouwerok cruisers, the so-called West-End cruisers named after the Westeinderpplas, were launched. And when Gouwerok starts working with shipyard Van Dam in 1964, the construction of hulls for sailing yachts starts and they built up a strong reputation thanks to the well-known tight hulls.
The sailing yachts are now so large that they do not fit in the shed or on the wharf. The usual method of building a boat no longer suffices and a new revolutionary method is devised that Gouwerok still uses: everything is built on the ground in sections, after which it is assembled later. It is typical of Gouwerok, who also leads the way in other areas in shipbuilding and thus consistently delivers even tighter and more beautiful work.
Hull for a mega sailing yacht
After moving to a new location on the other side of the Dorpsstraat in Aalsmeer, the current location of the yard, the first aluminum ship was built in 1982, a Nordia sailing yacht of 17.5 meters. The following year, a hull for a mega sailing yacht will be launched. This sailing yacht, Thalia, is still built in steel and has a length of 48.5 meters. But gradually more and more is being built in aluminum. First parts, but especially with sailing yachts whole hulls.
Fast sailing aluminum mega yachts
Just like in steel, building in aluminum was pioneering in the beginning. Aluminum in itself is less strong than steel, but it must just as well withstand the immense forces of water and wind. The shipbuilders at Gouwerok are also successful in this, and the first fast-sailing aluminum motor yacht is delivered in 1994, followed by another fast-sailing aluminum mega yacht in 1997; the Sussurro of 49.5 meters.
Now that technically it appears that these great lengths are possible in aluminum, more customers are coming and countless aluminum mega yachts are being delivered. The longest to date, a 78-metre aluminum motor yacht built in 2009, is the most famous worldwide.
A second hall
A second hall will be taken into use in 2009. This was very well timed as an order was immediately received for a 66 meter sailing yacht. This spectacular yacht with a mast of 84 meters high has a lifting keel, which when extended gives a draft of almost 10 meters. Immediately afterwards, the order for a motor yacht of 78 meters follows, too long for the 68 meters long new hall. That is why the head section is outsourced and welded to the ship at the end of the construction period. The hall can be temporarily extended for this. When leaving the complete ship, the lampposts must be removed on the other side of the canal and the head of the ship pivots 1.5 meters from the facades of the houses.
Yacht builders with craftsmanship
Alternately, large hulls for motor and sailing yachts are being built, and it is striking that yacht designers come up with increasingly innovative designs. A challenge for the Gouwerok craftsmen to shape this in aluminum. Skin doors in the side of the ship are increasing in size to load and unload dinghies and to provide a place below deck. Naturally, the ship must remain strong enough. Retractable propeller shaft installations and keels have now become common in sailing yachts.
About 50 people work on the site. With unprecedented craftsmanship and great adaptability, these yacht builders take on every new challenge now and in the future, with the only permissible result being a top product.
More than 170 years of craftsmanship in the field of yacht building,
that is Shipyard Gouwerok!
Owners and management
In chronological order
18551 – 1889
1976 – 2001
Esther Gouwerok and Michel Vermeulen