Contest Yachts : Building dreams togheter. At Contest Yachts we see sailing as a way of determining, expressing your own dreams and ambitions. Which is why we build not just high quality yachts. We build them with each owner’s highly personalised input. Performance yachts well set to sail the world’s oceans and fulfil personal dreams, ambitions, comfortably, safely.
Our yachts are built to enjoy equally coastal, offshore and bluewater exploration. In our now 60-year history we have learned well the responsibilities and requirements of successful long-stay sailing. Using the best of materials, hand crafting and innovative technology, we work closely with each and every owner to design, build and deliver well sorted, strong, light, seakindly, easily handled, performance distance cruisers.
Yachts to let you adventure, to fulfil your dreams.
The founding father, and ultimately grandfather, was Ed Conijn, followed by son Fritz, and now grandson Arjen. Ed took the company through to 1970, Fritz to 2003, who in his first decade instituted private change growing boat length to 48ft (15m), with one of the largest ever series-built sailing yachts. Also every new boat now leaving the yard was Lloyd's Register certified, a first for this level of industry and a clear indicator of design and build integrity. Today with third generation Arjen Conijn at the helm, these very same principles apply, but updated and looking far forward.
Based in Medemblik, Holland on the edge of the IJsselmeer, we are a third generation family firm now 60 years old. We always cared deeply about what we do and what we build. We believe in reputation. Working to the finest or boat building standards and adopting the best appropriate world technologies, we also have always been innovative. We've come a long way since our very first built boat, the Olympic class Flying Dutchman, and early Contest yachts. Our first keelboat followed quickly in the wake of that first Flying Dutchman trapeze dinghy. The year was 1959, the boat was the Contest 25, eight meters long with berths for four. These were early days for GRP and volume production. We led. Three hundred were sold. Today we build bigger, much bigger, and more individually. Along the way we have developed unique construction techniques and a reputation for very well found, performance bluewater cruisers.
Progress is important to owners and industry. From being the first to introduce the centre cockpit with below-decks walkway to master aft cabin, to adapting the wing keel for cruising yacht use within months of its shock win at the 1983 America’s Cup, the company always leads and inspires, generation after generation. When taking the reins as CEO, Arjen Conijn committed his focus to performance and design with absolute comfort… and was first to introduce today’s handsome, sleek, low-rise panoramic coachroof and flush-deck styling.
Styling is what we see on the surface but the Contest Principle demands more than good looks. Integrity is implicit. That’s why the company has formed such close partnerships with suppliers, be it in engineering, electronics or materials supply, from composites, timbers and fabrics to sails, rigging and electronics. Ensuring advancement with compatibility. Learn from and accommodate appropriate innovation from other industries. Develop ideas together. This is what helps deliver a truly successful Contest Yachts design.
The design process is naturally very involved and through the years Contest Yachts has steadily grown its own in-house design and engineering development teams to work in close collaboration with chosen naval architects and stylists. This leads to exceptional understanding and opportunity to innovate and achieve wisely. For example, internally the team can define systems and engineering demands made of a new hull and can 3D-model possibilities to understand weight distribution and centre of gravity even before formal naval architecture begins.
In recent times Contest Yachts has begun work with two new external design groups, Wetzels Brown Partners for interior design and judel/vrolijk for naval architecture. Wetzels Brown began with the 2012 flagship Contest 72CS.
Gillian Brown explains, “The owner requested a small superyacht rather than family yacht. In creating this we formed also a template for future Contest yachts.” This is clearly evidenced in the subsequent 42CS and 52MC and carries forward to the 67CS and now newly launched 85CS.
Rolf Vrolijk of judel/vrolijk & co says, “We were delighted to start this ground breaking relationship with such a combination of layout and design for true semi-custom performance cruisers so suited to distance bluewater cruising.”
At Contest Yachts traditional boat building skills complement modern construction methods. Building our yachts starts, yes, with hi-tech vacuum infusion moulding, whereby resin is injected in precise monitored conditions, yet the build will invariably finish with classic cabinet making and polishing techniques. Between start and finish all the many trades involved conduct their work, both individually and together, to the very highest of skill levels to ensure delivery of a yacht that will not only fulfil but exceed expectations.
On deck you’ll see the craftsmanship in the sculptural shaping and polished welds of the sturdy stainless steel railings, and in the detailed, precision patterning of the thick laid teak deck vacuum bonded for longevity. You’ll enjoy the beautiful shaping of the composite mouldings perhaps unaware of the complexity in creating such contours. Below in the well thought layout it’s everywhere you turn, in the seamless grain-matched joinery, the hand stitching of turned corners for the settee cushions, and what’s actually in and under those cushions to maximise comfort and durability. The list goes on.
Less glamorous, but no less important in this practice, are the boat’s hidden systems, the electrics and electronics, pumps, engine, generator, complex hydraulics. All installed with pre-planned care, minimising noise and vibration, all clearly routed, labelled and sited for optimised access. Conforming with strict international classification standards, equipment is invariably highly specified, and in larger craft vital signs can be computer-monitored automatically. Classification societies welcome such systems which make yachts safer and simpler to service. For owner and crew the benefits are clear, too.