Inside the yachtmaker that built Steve Jobs' megaboat
It's a secret known only to a few very rich yacht owners.
Down a small road, in the marine village of Aalsmeer in the Netherlands, is a series of stone cottages with a small wooden sign on the front lawn. It reads: FEADSHIP.
Feadship is one of the world's most prestigious makers of megayachts. From its covered, metal sheds that jut out into the water, yachts stretching more than 200 feet and costing more than $50 million are waiting to make their debut to the world.
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Describing his typical client, Henk de Vries, CEO of the Feadship DeVries Group, said, "If you have half a billion you could comfortably buy a Feadship." He added that "The typical owner of a private yacht is an entrepreneur."
Feadship gave CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" a rare inside look at one of its yachts under construction. It's called "Project Kiwi," since it's being built for a New Zealander. It's more than 150-foot long, costs more than $40 million to build and will take two years to construct.
Like most Feadship boats, Kiwi is a wonder of technology and craftsmanship: more than 20 miles of cable, hundreds of man hours spent grinding and sanding the hull to perfect smoothness, plus all of the latest flat-screen technology.
"It's like building a house with its own power plant, its own farm, its own five-star hotel, its own three-star Michelin restaurant with backup," de Vries said. "And—then on top of that, you generate your own power, your own electricity, you clean your own air, you make your own water. And—on top of that, it has to move, and it has to stay upright in a storm."
De Vries' great grandfather started building boats in the village in 1906. Since then, Feadship has grown to become the Rolls-Royce of megayachts. Yachts with the Feadship badge on the side carry special status and value.
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Two years after Steve Jobs' death, the company recently built the Apple co-founder's yacht, called Venus. It's 257-feet long, cost more than $140 million to build and is operated with 27-inch Apple iMac screens.
It also built former Citigroup CEO and Chairman Sandy Weill's 200-foot boat, April Fool, which was recently sold to hedge funder Dan Loeb for around $50 million.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.
"Secret Lives of the Super Rich"
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