A Very Tight Fit

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Why is a 310-foot yacht squeezing through skinny canals and bridges in tiny Dutch villages? Because its builder, world-renowned Feadship, built it at an inland facility. Even though the shipyard’s location is only 7 miles from the North Sea, newly completed superyachts have to take a circuitous 50-mile trip through the province of South Holland to make it there.

Dutch photographer Tom van Oossanen has been shooting footage of the last few ships to head for the North Sea, but this latest video of the newly built yacht, Project 817, is by his own admission his best yet. He captured it as it passed through tiny towns and barely squeezed its 44.7-foot beam through bridges with inches to spare.

The journey took about four days but Oossanen followed it for the first two days, which were the trickiest and most scenic part of the trip. The ship was designed about as long and wide as the canals and bridges could fit.

“Got a dentist appointment? Then you're not going to make it," van Oossanen told CNN. "Sometimes it takes an hour to go through a bridge, and with the amount of traffic we have in Holland, it soon builds up."

To reduce its draft, the new vessel was fitted with pontoons in a nearby lake. Tugs then pushed and pulled the entire contraption through the tiny village of Woubrugge, the town of Alphen aan den Rijn, the city of Gouda, and then to Rotterdam and the North Sea.

Van Oossanen says about four to six superyachts per year make the trip, but Project 817 is one of the largest ever, and likely one of the last. Feadship has opened a new facility in Amsterdam that can build superyachts up to 528 feet in length and its Makkum shipyard has a drydock that can accommodate beamier vessels.

“I think seeing a 94-meter [ship] doing this route might not happen [again]," van Oossanen told CNN.

You can see his video below.


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