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From Medemblik to Palma: An interview with Cornelis Jongkind Yacht Installations

Showcasing their new in house developed alarm & monitoring system at METS 2014, Yachting Pages recently spoke to Jan van Balkom, managing partner at Cornelis Jongkind Yacht Installations to find out just how business is going and what exciting company developments they have been working on.

When was your business founded?

Cornelis Jongkind Yacht Installations was established in 1987 in Medemblik, North Holland by Carl and Tanja Grootjes. Back in those days Carl and Tanja used to visit yacht owners in their truck providing them with electrical products and services.

In your own words how would you describe your business?  How has it developed over the years?

We currently have 28 employees at Cornelis Jongkind due to the popular demand of yards. Our customers are normally coming to us for integrated system solutions or part of systems in energy & electrics, navigation & communication, fluids & air, hydraulics, alarm & monitoring, propulsion and aerosol fire extinguishing systems.

We are an efficient team of engineers and technicians that have, between us, completed more than 100 projects that sail all over the world.

What makes you different from your competitors?  How are you unique?

We offer systems integration in a way that very few companies do. Usually there are different suppliers for all the above mentioned systems, and integration of the various systems can be a serious challenge. Integration of systems is what makes us unique or at least special.

What’s new with your business?

During METS 2014 we will be presenting our in-house developed alarm & monitoring system for (Li-ion) battery control, charger and inverter control, generator management, main engine status and control, shore power converter status and control and hydraulic control.

Is there anything that people don’t know that you would like to announce?

From October 1st we have joined forces with Jongert Service Palma and Sirius Electronics, both based in Palma and with a well-established network of international clients, to form Jongkind Service Palma. Effectively we will be able to offer all our services to yachts wanting maintenance, repair and refit for all our systems. 

Who is your key target audience?

We specialise in sailing yachts (90% of our business) and so our key audience is owners and yards that are looking to work with an installation company specialising in this.  

What are the biggest challenges that you face in the superyacht industry at the moment?

At the moment we are expanding and projects are more or less neatly following one another. Keeping that up will always remain a challenge for all companies doing larger projects. Luckily we also do a lot of smaller projects and are a sales organisation for yacht equipment as well. It is a balancing act that we have become fairly accustomed to over the past 25 years or so.  

Have you been effected by the recession?   

Luckily, we have a continued demand for our services so we are growing to accommodate that. The recession hasn’t affected us much but who knows what there is to come?

What are your top tips in your industry?

Keep it simple. At sea simplicity works even for complicated systems.

What is the most bizarre client request you’ve received?

What comes to mind is a special foreign client back in the 1990’s with a 70ft motor sailor. We were asked to supply a freezer for his galley. When options were presented to the client he kept repeating, “No! No! Semi cow!” Eventually we understood he wanted to be able to store half of a cow in his freezer. At the time and on a 70ft: pretty bizarre. 

What are the current trends in your sector at the moment?

We are seeing a rise in systems integration. What used to be separate islands in systems are becoming more and more connected. Keeping the systems seaworthy is what we do best. Our clients are usually people that love sailing and boating and they want systems that last and will not let them down in difficult circumstances.

Our cumulative experience is a welcome addition to innovation. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of well thought out innovation but the proof of the pudding is in the eating i.e. at sea.

Who would be your dream client?

We were involved in the Long Tall Sally expedition project and would love to see that project materialize. Plans were to sail to the remotest regions of the world with a combination of expedition charter clients and scientists to explore these regions of the world. A great idea!

It would be a great challenge to supply systems that would make that possible. In general and as a sailor we are always indebted to the sea for beauty and adventure, so being part of a project that brings this to a broader public would contribute to keeping it clear.

For more information visit Cornelis Jongkind Yacht Installations

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