Interested in the history of a premier yacht builder that takes you a long way back back to 1875? If it’s to be educated on the evolution of the world renowned brand —Lurssen—of course one would. Allow us to introduce you to boatbuilder, Friedrich Lurßen. His wish, at this time, was to work with his father, Luder Lurssen in his shipyard. However, Luder recommended his son open his own yard to ensure a double income. So, Friedrich - just 24 -followed his dad’s suggestion and so in Aumund, Germany, his shipyard was born. Just from his first creation, Friedrich becomes known for his future trademarks: innovative design and superior quality. The shipyard flourishes with a few orders even being placed with his father.
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By 1883, Lurssen, who at first was only building racing rowboats for local oarsmen, began taking orders from the rest of the country of Germany. These stunningly designed beauties were also gaining attention for their superb state-of-the-art workmanship and lightweight hull giving them an edge in the speed department allowing for a win in any regatta.
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Lurssen decided, in 1886, to construct the world’s first motorboat—REMS—measuring 6 meters. She was commissioned by Gottlieb Daimier, the inventor and engine manufacturer who wanted her to put his new engine through its paces.
By 1904, Lurssen’s yard grows a bit more adding a site with open water access in Bremen-Vegesack.
1905 was the year that Otto Lurßen, Friedrich’s only son, built DONNERWETTER —a highlight achievement for this time. With a 40-hp engine, Donnerwetter, could hit speeds close to 35 knots!
And a few years later, in 1907, the 2nd generation of Lurssen comes into play when Otto becomes a partner in his dad’s firm adding much value. A former shipbuilding engineer, he took the build to an elevated level of craftsmanship with upgraded technical brains, fine tuning past techniques. And so the present day spirit of Lurssen’s distinctive quality and original ethos.
The Lurssen-Daimler speedboat came onto the scene in 1911-1912. Her 102-hp engine was the highlight of the racing season. Set the stage in Monaco, and she wins the Champion of the Sea —the unofficial world championship. She then continues her wins with the Prix de la Côte d’Azur and the Grand Prix des Nations and all in the same year. Then a second speed boat, the Saurer-Lurssen, was the result of Swiss engine manufacturer, Adolf Saurer, joining forces. This time SHE sets an unofficial world record in the Prix de Monte Carlo with a steady speed of 32 knots.
Almost ten years later, we arrive to the year 1925 when two milestones are hit by Lurssen. The first being this thriving company building a 14-meter wooden motor yacht — it’s 10,000th vessel AND celebrating their 50th anniversary!
Oheka II was the highlight of 1927. This speed-demon was equipped with three Maybach engines taking her to top speeds of 34 knots making her the world’s fastest commuter yacht. Later that year, they then build the 36 meter Aar IV, the world’s longest motor yacht.
A sad and bitter year for all, 1932 brought the sudden death of Otto Lurßen, only 52, leaving the company with just the memory of his open-mindedness and love for innovation. Frieda Lürßen, his wife, the determined daughter of a large cruise ship captain, takes the reigns and the shipyard sets sail under her direction.
As the company reaches its third generation in 1938, Gert Lurßen joins Frieda (her son) – bringing along his passion for motorboats passed down from his dad. Adding some excitement, he set a fabulous world speed record in a Lurssen diesel-powered speedboat, reaching a whopping 68.2 km/h.
Business became rough in 1948 in the wake of the war. Scraping the barrels and starting over was the norm during this period —even for Lurssen. The brothers Gert and Fritz-Otto Lürßen agreed to divide the shares of the company, all he’d jointly with their mother Frieda.
As we slide on forward to the year 1962, Frieda Lurßen, who did amazing work for all these years decides to hand over control of the firm to her sons Gert and Fritz-Otto. That very year the 55-meter yacht PEGASUS II is delivered to a London shipowner.
1971 brings us Carinthia VI — designed by Jon Bannenberg making her his first major yacht project. Even up to today, the 71-meter vessel with her ever present contemporary styling, is seen as the precursor of today’s Lurssen yachts.
And all media was a buzz as Lurssen celebrated a century in business as of 1975.
Then the 4th generation was born in 1977.
At the age of 27, Friedrich Lürßen hops aboard the company. With a degree in business administration, worked his way through almost all of the departments of the shipyard, he soons assumes a senior position.
1985 was the year they transfer the shipbuilding work to Lemwerder.
Peter Lurßen joined the company in 1987. Peter studied shipbuilding and industrial engineering in Germany and business administration in the United States along with much hands-on experience. Peter had worked for a year as a construction inspector at different Japanese shipyards, and had familiarized himself with various Lurssen departments.
They soon add another location with docks able to accommodate 60 to 110 meters long - on the Kiel Canal near Rendsburg. Yacht refits and conversions can also be handled here.
1988 moves us to a time when Lurssen shipyards were operating at 90 percent capacity with navy contracts. The company then chooses to split production between naval and yacht business leaving them to devote half of its production capacity to constructing large yachts. In the process they then set up a new yachtbuilding division to aid this market.
1997 brought the 97-meter megayacht LIMITLESS, also designed by the well regarded designer Jon Bannenberg.
Acquisi joined the fleet in in 2004 when Lurssen purchases the Neue Jadewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. She was useful in handling naval vessels as well as maintenance, repair and conversion work on vessels up to 150 meters long!
The Norderwerft shipyard in Hamburg decides to join forces with the Lurssen Group in October 2012. Handling repair and maintenance of commercial shipping vessels as well as ship maintenance for the German Navy, the company scores a great space.
As we reach the time May 2013, Lurssen decides to purchase the Peene Werft shipyard in Wolgast, Germany. The facility builds yachts as well as handles new build and repair services for naval vessels.
Then up next, we have the longest yacht in the world. Lurssen delivered the world’s longest yacht in 2015. Here we introduce you to AZZAM, a 180.65 meters stunner. Setting a record for length and speed -yes she reaches well over 30 knots, she’s also looked up to for her build time —taking less than three years.
And then a year later in 2016, we find the birth of Dilbar, the largest motor yacht ever in terms of gross tonnage. At 156 meters she was built with all the features that wow the crowds with her state-of-the-art technology. She is one of the most intricate and spectacular yachts ever built. The 15,917-ton vessel features luxury entertainment and recreation spaces like one has never seen before. And to think this masterpiece was completed in just 52 months.
When choosing a Lurssen, one will feel most confident of the decision made due to the extraordinary grasp they have of all aspects of boatbuilding that’s been passed down generation to generation which few yacht-builders can declare.
It’s hard to find a better build with more than 13,000 boats and ships built since 1875. And let’s also keep in mind that many of these are still in service after decades too —a brand that speaks for itself.
And for the record, there’s been no other shipyard to deliver as many of the world's top 20 largest yachts as Lurssen.