It is not uncommon for large yachts to have an interesting history, but the fascinating tale of Sherakhan’s transformation is unique in every way. From humble beginnings as a merchant navy training vessel to show-stopping superyacht status, she is now one of the most popular and adventurous charter vessels. Here, we reveal the remarkable details of how Jan Verkerk, a visionary businessman and passionate sailor, turned his dream of creating a ground-breaking charter yacht into reality.


A symbol of national pride

Sherakhan’s first incarnation was as the Prinses Margriet, a famous training ship for the Netherlands’ merchant navy that was launched in 1966 for the Dutch Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz, operating out of Terschelling. She served her country by preparing the nation’s seafarers for a safe career on the water, first as a training vessel and latterly as a hostel for the cadets. But after four decades of service, the Prinses Margriet was decommissioned and left moored off the coast of Terschelling with an uncertain future ahead of her.

An astute business mind

After decades of refitting, converting and building many boats and yachts, backed up by his extensive background in mechanics, a lifetime of sailing, a canny eye for potential and love for challenge, Jan Verkerk, was set to start a new project.

His first international commercially operated vessel was M/Y Jaguar; a 38.1m (125ft) deep-draft displacement yacht. Jaguar was bought and refitted by Verkerk with the expertise and advice of ms. Anne Sterringa. It is safe to say Jaguar was one of the first superyachts to hit the charter scene! Once arrived in the Mediterranean and ran by both Verkerk and Rijntjes, Jaguar quickly became one of the most popular yachts on the buzzing Mediterranean scene.

In 2002, Verkerk undertook the most technical challenge of his career so far: a three-year project to convert the Prinses Margriet into a head-turning superyacht that would make a significant impact on the charter market.  Verkerk worked tirelessly with Rijntjes to plan everything to the last detail, calling on his engineering background to inform the technical decisions while Rijntjes immersed herself in the interior’s overhaul.

Having a very top-heavy look as Prinses Margriet, she was in need of skilful remodelling to befit her new yachting role. Verkerk was inspired by the lines and styling of a 1936 classic yacht he had seen in the Mediterranean, and set about redrawing the boat’s exterior from the main deck up.


Showstopping interiors

The interior design of Sherakhan was carried out entirely on instinct by Rijntjes and Verkerk, calling on their extensive experience of renovating smaller yachts rather than taking inspiration from books or yachting magazines. Due to the limitations of SOLAS compliance, there were many creative challenges when it came to the selection of materials that were permitted to be used.

A combination of natural tones and finishes offset by striking artwork lend a comfortable and homely atmosphere that has been popular with countless repeat charter guests. Sherakhan is a home away from home for all those who enjoy time on her.


Undoubtedly the most eminent feature of the yacht is her stunning saloon, which takes pride of place in the centre of the yacht’s main and upper decks. At 20m in length and 9m in width, it is made all the more grand thanks to its double-height ceiling extending up 7m past a minstrel’s gallery accessed by two open-tread sweeping staircases of glass and steel.

Light bathes the room from above through the opaque glass bottom of an enormous spa pool, which was specially cut into the superstructure with expert design and engineering skill, due to its 350kg weight. By day the room is flooded with natural sunlight while at night, diners enjoy the playful twinkling of the spa’s underwater lights.

Sherakhan continues to evolve with contemporary tastes and the new technologies that are available but she continues to remain true to her original essence

The 7.5m curved wooden dining table mirrors the shape of the gallery, inlaid with wenge, white ash and teak in geometric patterns, and a pair of stunning Italian sculptural lights illuminate from above. The Greek butterscotch-hue marble floor trimmed with varnished teak is surrounded by a sumptuous off-white deep-pile carpet.

To the aft of the saloon is a lounging area with two asymmetrical seating areas facing a large television and fireplace, respectively. A white baby grand piano sits next to the bar and a bijou dancefloor for after-dinner fun, while the gallery above serves as an excellent spot for  quiet reflection in the day or pre-dinner evening cocktails. Double doors off the saloon lead to a large alfresco dining area with three wooden tables and seating for 26 guests.


The expansive sundeck features the splendid glass-bottomed, 18-person spa pool with a fixed bimini for shade, surrounded by loungers. A barbecue area and bar to the aft of the sundeck is the perfect spot for a sundowner cocktail, while there is ample space for the  tenders and jetskis to be stowed.

Another stand-out feature on Sherakhan is the unique circular observation lounge in the funnel, known as the “crow’s nest”, which stands some 20m above the waterline to offer perfect views of the ever-changing surroundings with protection from the elements.

Fit for a king

The yacht’s staterooms range in size from 30m2 (323ft2) to the 50m2 (538ft2) master suite, located at the front of the yacht for the best views onboard. It comprises a lounge, ensuite his’ and her’s bathrooms and study (which can be converted to an additional cabin) to complement the large bedroom. The bedroom also features a private terrace.

The additional 10 staterooms (four on the main deck and six on the lower deck) each have king-sized double or twin beds, two of which feature a connected double-bunked children’s room. Named after celebrated authors, each of the bedrooms is decorated uniquely and given adequate space for comfortable lounging, should guests prefer some privacy. Also found on the lower deck is the library, decorated in the style of a gentlemen’s club, as well as a beauty salon permanently staffed with certified personnel.


Adding to the wellness amenities available is the Spa de la Sirene on the lower deck, a vast space incorporating a sauna and raised central spa pool, with metallic mosaic tiles depicting a mermaid looking down over a freestanding bath.

A gym completes the offering, conveniently located next to the post-workout sauna and bathing options. As this space is located below the waterline, Rijntjes cleverly incorporated faux backlit portholes and coloured lights to ensure a relaxing atmosphere.

Since her initial conversion and relaunch in 2005, Sherakhan has benefitted from a number of updates and smaller refits to ensure she is always in  optimal condition for guests. The latest and most extensive refit was completed at Dutch shipyard ICON Yachts in December 2017, incorporating a crisp and contemporary palette of understated whites and off-whites, complemented by a range of refined textures.


These 2017-designs were envisioned and created by Verkerk together with Sherakhan’s long-term hotel manager ms. Manon de Wit. Her hull was given a fresh new look, changing from classic navy blue into a timeless white, clearly showing all features and lines.  Many of her technical systems were given an update, including the audio-visual entertainment, internet and communications systems.

Sherakhan continues to evolve with contemporary tastes and the new technologies that are available but she continues to remain true to her original essence, as created by Verkerk over those countless hours spent envisaging the perfect yacht for entertainment. A home away from home, she is and will always be the consummate host to all those who charter her.

Sherakhan is available for charter to groups of up to 26 guests through central agent Tom DeBuse at Y.CO for a weekly rate of €425,000 (plus APA).