Behind the Scenes at Contest Yachts

Cruising World visits the Contest Yachts yard in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

At the Contest Yachts yard in Medemblik, the Netherlands, 12 to15 sailboats and power boats are built a year by a team of 80 boatbuilders. The company was founded in 1959 by Ed Conijn, who learned about fiberglass construction during a visit to the US. Early boats included a 29- and 25-foot sailboats. Today, the company remains family owned. It’s sailboat line ranges from 42 to 72 feet. The company also builds a 52-foot power boat.Contests have a well-earned reputation as bluewater voyagers. The Contest 42 was named Cruising World’s Import Boat of the Year and Best Midsize Cruiser, 41-45 Feet in 2014.

A vacuum-infused, balsa cored bulkhead sits on a work table at Contest Yachts. All parts, including hulls and decks are infused and cored.Mark Pillsbury
Contest Yachts’ sales manager Marcel Offereins holds fiberglass samples from two similar-sized yacht that demonstrate the weight and resin savings gained by infusing hull sections. The thinner of the two is infused, and is a strong as the thicker, hand-laid piece.Mark Pillsbury
Bulkheads and stiffeners are glassed into the hull of a Contest 50 before it comes out of the mold.Mark Pillsbury
Depending on the interior finish selected, a furniture part may receive multiple coats of varnish before being installed.Mark Pillsbury
Fiberglass glass cloth is cut and placed in the hull mold to prepare for the infusion process.Mark Pillsbury
Fiberglass glass cloth is cut and placed in the hull mold to prepare for the infusion process.Mark Pillsbury
Balsa coring is being placed on the deck mold of a Contest 50.Mark Pillsbury
Solid fiberglass blocks are placed anywhere that hardware will be mounted. This prevents moisture from reaching the core and allows bolts to be tightened without compressing the inner material.Mark Pillsbury
At Contest Yachts, teak decks are built on a mold and then mounted and glued onto the fiberglass deck. This eliminates the need for screws, which could allow moisture to reach the core.Mark Pillsbury
At Contest Yachts, teak decks are built on a mold and then mounted and glued onto the fiberglass deck. This eliminates the need for screws, which could allow moisture to reach the core.Mark Pillsbury
Furniture pieces are built in the woodshop using a variety of tools.Mark Pillsbury
Decks are glued to the hull of a contest, and then the hull-deck joint is further strengthened with bolts (left side of photo).Mark Pillsbury
Workers install a cabin wall in a Contest 67.Mark Pillsbury
The Contest 42CS was named Cruising World's Import Boat of the Year and Best Midsize Cruiser, 41-45 Feet, in 2014.Billy Black