A classic yacht built for timeless adventure
The owner of Iduna on the superyacht that has enriched his family life.
Iduna is arguably one of the most significant classic yachts on the water today. Commissioned by Dutch shipping magnate, Phlippus van Ommeren III in 1939, the yacht was designed by Henri de Voogt and custom-built by the De Vries shipyard (both founding partners of the now-famed Dutch shipyard Feadship). For Laurent Hompes, the Dutch entrepreneur who acquired Iduna in 2007, the yacht’s history carries weight, but the boat also represents something equally valuable; the discovery of a life at sea, spent in the company of his family, wanting for nothing.
“Iduna is the first yacht I’ve ever owned,” says Hompes. “I have a few classic boats, but Iduna is my first superyacht. She’s so beautiful. And she’s a Feadship. The first Feadship. It’s nice to have a boat with heritage. Iduna is something special.”
Over the years, the boat has passed through the hands of various owners, including a Portuguese nobleman, but it wasn’t until 1999 that the boat was extensively restored, when an adventurous Dutchman with a love of history purchased Iduna. Three years later, the work was completed, to a spectacular standard.
Laurent Hompes' daughters on board Iduna
Laurent Hompes' daughters on board Iduna
“The works started out as a restoration, but the more they kept digging, the more rot they found,” explains Hompes. “In the end, 80 per cent of the hull was replaced. The elements that could be saved were saved, and anything new was approached with complete precision and perfectionism. They did an incredible job, such as using solid cherry wood throughout the interior; there is not a veneer in sight. Plus, there are all the modern conveniences, such as air conditioning, alongside all the classic beauty.”
Since buying Iduna, Hompes, who sold his successful fashion brand Scotch & Soda ten years ago, has given the interior a complete overhaul. Now, luxurious rain showers, comfortable cabins with ensuites – and a wine cellar that holds 600 bottles – all contribute to an updated ambience. But his favourite place on board remains the deckhouse, beloved for its original aesthetic as much as for the flexibility it affords. Providing shelter from the elements, it offers a variety of comfortable and private places for the entire family to enjoy time together. “Even in harbour, you can sit in front of it and people walking along the quayside can’t see you,” says Hompes. “It’s those little details that I so appreciate.”
Since buying Iduna, Hompes has cruised extensively around the Mediterranean, taking in Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece and Croatia. “When we cruise with the motor we always put the front sail up and that keeps things quiet on the waves, which is wonderful,” he says. “Iduna can access even the smallest harbour and so you have the opportunity to really discover new places. You feel so free. I discovered islands off the coast of Sicily that I never knew existed. Those are the sorts of things I enjoy. I’ve seen so many things that I would never have seen if I didn’t own Iduna.”
As well as making the most of water skiing and kiteboarding wherever possible, he also enjoys exploring with Iduna’s tender. Land-based excursions have become a favourite pastime since acquiring two electric mountain bikes. “They’re really powerful bikes, which means you can cycle across most terrain, including countryside and beach. We use them a lot when we’re not snorkelling or swimming.”
One of his stand-out memories aboard is cruising into Venice. “Not many people visit Venice by yacht, but it’s a must. We dropped anchor just 80m from Piazza San Marco,” he says. “It’s such an experience to be on board your yacht in the middle of it all. And then a water taxi picks you up from the boat and delivers you to fabulous shops before returning you to the yacht to enjoy a candlelit dinner. It’s like a little fairytale. I think that’s maybe one of the most spectacular things we’ve ever done.”
In contrast, the anonymity of being in a remote anchorage has created other memorable moments. “When it’s dark outside and you’re anchored in a bay in the middle of nowhere, you have your whole world with you – Michelin-star food, a great ambience and your family. Just being together like that, everything is right.”
Hompes, who lives on one of the 90 islands dotted around Amsterdam, is used to spending time on the water. But the freedom that Iduna has afforded him during the eight to ten weeks he typically spends aboard each year is incomparable.
“Yacht ownership is another life,” he says. “I didn’t know about it until I bought Iduna, but I find it completely seducing. I discovered a new way of living that is so different to just going on holiday, because you have your home environment around you and can go wherever you want to go. That’s the life-enriching advantage of yacht ownership.”