Leading Dutch sailing yacht builder Contest Yachts will this month open its new Sales & Service Centre in Palma. This move is part of the company’s strategic expansion plan which will open a presence for its growing customer base in the Mediterranean and the increasing number of Contest yachts using the local cruising grounds.

The new centre will be fully operational from this month with Contest Yachts Mediterranean being managed by Mark van Gelderen. He has a strong track record in yacht building and pro-circuit racing CV. This includes time as build supervisor and then captain of the 35m(115ft) Hoek-designed Firefly, the first classically styled F-Class.

Gelderen trained originally as a naval architect, and is known for the high standards of quality that he always works too.  He says he is very much looking forward to running the Palma Centre and the challenges that it will present.

Through the new centre he will be offering a full range of yacht services for Contest owners. This portfolio comprises repair and refit, new boat sales, brokerage, berthing, haul-out and hard standing. Shipping is also within the portfolio through the partnership with Sevenstar Yacht Transport who are also setting up in Palma.

As to other developments at Contest Yachts a top of the agenda item is the construction of the company’s new flagship model, the first 26m (85ft) Contest 85CS. The fit-out is now well underway with internal structures, systems and much of the engineering in place in advance of first-fit cabinetry and timber furnishings. The deck is also in fit-out separately to the hull.

This eases work-practice on both hull and deck and allows completion of the larger furnishing components off the boat before installation on board, again easing work and enabling larger, more complex panel sections and detail joinery than if working lid-on. This open-hull approach also provides a perfect birds-eye view for visitors keen to see the work in progress.

Contest Yachts is holding an Open Day at its Dutch yard in Medembilk on April 21.