The $31 Million 'Van Tom' Mixes Billionaire-Style Comfort With Thrilling Speed

With the 2023 Monaco Yacht Show coming up in just a few weeks, we take a closer look at one of the most impressive superyachts that will participate in the event. Van Tom is already five years old, yet still one of the finest examples of contemporary Dutch craftsmanship coupled with top-level performance.
The $31 Million 'Van Tom' Mixes Billionaire-Style Comfort With Thrilling Speed 15 photos
Photo: Romeo United Yachts
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Every glamorous superyacht starts out with a number. YN 18050 was Heesen Yachts' new project back in 2015. As it started to take shape, it became Project Alba. Later, when it was delivered to its owner, it was officially christened Van Tom. It kept the same name for five years, during which it never changed hands and was never shared with charter customers. In other words, it stayed away from prying eyes. Until now.

The sleek yet majestic Van Tom will be heading to the Monaco Yacht Show in a couple of weeks. One of the world's most prestigious yachting events is the perfect setting for a luxurious pleasure craft like this 2018 Heesen. The reason behind this appearance is simple – Van Tom is up for grabs for the first time since its delivery. It's also one of the most expensive superyachts on the pre-loved market, signaling a potential impressive sale by the end of this year.

A $31.2 million price tag seems bold for a seven-year-old, 50-meter (163 feet) yacht. Yet Van Tom is a coveted jewel. First of all, it comes from one of the most acclaimed builders in the world, the Dutch Heesen Yachts. Secondly, it's the sixth hull in an eight-unit series, giving it a "limited-edition” appeal. Thirdly, its speed and interior volume are outstanding for a pleasure craft in this size category.

Van Tom
Photo: Camper & Nicholsons
Van Tom is part of the Heesen 5000 Aluminum Class, based on a semi-custom platform. Its owner, allegedly a German billionaire, bought it in December 2015, when the yacht was already six months into its construction. The benefit was double – the owner got his new toy faster yet was still able to make plenty of customizations. Even so, it still took nearly two years for the yacht to be completed.

Frank Laupman and the Omega Architects team designed Van Tom's high-performance exterior. The interior was handled by the acclaimed Francesco Paszkowski, together with Margherita Casprini – an award-winning design team. The owners also actively participated in the interior design process.

They wanted a vessel that would feel more like a home than a boat, and the warm color palette paired with informal layouts helped achieve this. All the furniture was custom-made by the builder's in-house carpentry team. Paszkowski stated at the time that the goal was to bring out the vessel's "airy brightness." To do so, he combined natural materials such as stone and leather with glamorous lacquered surfaces, and he tried to create a strong contrast between light and dark tones.

Prior to the delivery date, Van Tom showed off its impressive technical skills. During sea trials in the North Sea, it not only reached the targeted 20-knot (37 kph) speed but even exceeded it. Powered by its heavy-duty 3,860 HP MTU 16V 4000 M73L diesel engines, Van Tom hit more than 23 knots (42.5 kph) despite the rough sea conditions and 16-knot (29.6 kph) winds.

Van Tom
Photo: Camper & Nicholsons
The Dutch superyacht owes most of its performance to its hard-chine hull for optimized efficiency and the advanced propulsion system. In addition to the remarkable speed for a yacht this size, it promised a transatlantic range of more than 3,000 nautical miles (5,550 km). It was also equipped for a smooth ride and low noise levels even at high speed – a feature that all superyacht owners are looking for.

A high-performance yacht, Van Tom also claimed to boast the largest volume in its size category – just under 500 GT. This translated to lavish outdoor spaces and a family-oriented configuration.

One of its most remarkable features, and one of the most beloved spots on board, is the luxurious sky lounge. The sun deck is also huge, housing a big jacuzzi and an al-fresco dining setup centered around a Teppanyaki grill.

Another unique feature is the full-beam VIP suite – most luxury yachts only have a full-beam master suite. The six-cabin configuration also includes two doubles and two twins, which is enough to accommodate more than ten guests. Even though Van Tom wasn't destined for charter, it also featured generous accommodation for a large, nine-person crew.

Van Tom
Photo: Camper & Nicholsons
Like any contemporary pleasure craft, this 2018 Heesen comes with the latest entertainment systems and user-friendly control setups for each guest. A distinctive feature is the Child Protection Plan implemented onboard (custom-made exterior railings with safety gates).

Since it's only been used privately since the debut, Van Tom claims low engine hours. Plus, it completed its five-year class survey, meaning it's safe for future cruising. Although never chartered, this Dutch beauty was built to commercial standards, so its future owner might decide to bring Van Tom to the charter market. But first, he will need to pay a whopping $32 million.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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