Speaking to Bloomberg, de Vries, who heads up Holland-based Feadship, one of Europe’s oldest shipyards, explained that the yacht is “a naked boat,” which required “removing everything that is considered unnecessary and bringing the boat down to the bare essentials.”
The yacht, christened ‘Venus’ after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is believed to be made with lightweight aluminium, and the initial designs were described in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs as “sleek and minimalist… As at an Apple Store, the cabin windows were large panes, almost floor to ceiling, and the main living area was designed to have walls of glass that were forty feet long and ten feet high.”
According to Isaacson, Jobs was working on the design of his yacht in the weeks before his death in October 2011. De Vries revealed that Jobs would say to him and the team building the boat at Feadship: “No you can do better than this.”
“Everything was questioned and that made it very challenging,” said de Vries, who called the boat “controversial”.
The yacht made its first public appearance in October 2012, and Jobs’ widow, Lauren Powell Jobs, and their three children are believed to have been present at its unveiling.
Following its unveiling, de Vries checked the internet to find out the verdict from the public. “About as many people hate it, visually, as like it,” he said. “Everybody who knows a little bit about yachts says, “Oh my God… and you finished it, and it works, and the glass is not popping out?”
But, as de Vries points out, Venus is now sailing across the Atlantic. In mid-January, the yacht was spotted near the Canary Islands on its way to the US.
“We manage to keep the boat out of the limelight right until they leave the shipyard and then it’s in the public domain,” de Vries explained when asked how he keeps boats being made for high-profile customers secret. “Then, all I can do is sit back and say, “I’m not saying anything, but…”,” he added, implying that, once the boat leaves Feadship’s shipyard, the public can see everything for themselves and there’s nothing more he can do.
To watch Bloomberg’s full interview with Henk de Vries, click here.