Work doesn’t finish when night falls in Rendsburg. Spot lights highlight what matters: the shipyard, the people and the custom-built yachts, made by NOBISKRUG.
Seafaring was his big dream as a boy. An uncle crossed the seven seas as captain on a tanker, but for Jörg Gelhaus it was not to be. Even though he spent his national service in the German Navy and rose to the rank of leading seaman on the frigate “BRAUNSCHWEIG”, he remained firmly planted on solid ground afterwards.
He graduated in ship building from Kiel University of Applied Science, trained as welding engineer and started at NOBISKRUG in 1981. It was “love at first sight and since the beginning the yard has been my second home,” says Gelhaus. He is NOBISKRUG’s manager for all plants and trades.
Coordination and control of all trades do not leave Gelhaus much time for private pleasures. But when he does get time to himself he indulges in his hobby of tennis and his love of music and drama. There are not many musicals he has not seen, nor has he missed many plays by the Hamburg Ohnsorg Theatre. He likes their traditional style and has a subscription. “I am a down-to-earth kinda guy.”
Boats define Bernd Liedtke’s life. Trained as a shipping merchant, 53-year old Liedtke manages the purchasing and storage division and serves as project manager at NOBISKRUG; even his private life involves ships, because “recreational boats – motor, rowing, and dragon boats –” are his greatest passion.
At NOBISKRUG, he appreciates the continuous “fascination with ships, in particular with yacht construction, as it represents the masterful union of complex systems, production excellence, majestic appearance, quality workmanship,and meticulous construction.” All that Liedtke admires in ship building finds expression in “SAILING YACHT A”, the project that has received most of his professional enthusiasm during the past few years.
A family with ship building tradition: Hans-Jürgen Bruhn (right), the elder, began his apprenticeship at NOBISKRUG in 1976, followed three years later by his younger brother Christof (middle). Hans-Jürgen’s son Marcel started in 2004. Hans-Jürgen heads the Single Item Production division as foreman, with his brother Christof at his side as his deputy. He is the machinist of the CNC Plasma cutting machine. Son Marcel works in the pre-assembly hall and says that he has never regretted following in his father’s footsteps.
All three get on famously and understand each other implicitly and without many words. It goes without saying that even at home the shipyard is an important topic, “but there is more to life on the shipyard than just work.”
Christof is a big football fan but Hans-Jürgen takes to the air on his days off in his ultra-light aircraft. “Hang-gliding used to be my passion but then I got infected with the flying bug.” He waves to his colleagues when he flies at low altitude above the shipyard to take photos of the extensive yard area for the archive.
“I don’t think there are many other shipyards with employees that have a similar breadth of specialist knowledge as us. We have even built parts for US Navy aircraft carriers.”
“How single steel panels and metal plates turn into a yacht is beyond anybody’s imagination.” (Hans-Jürgen Bruhn)
Carpentry workshop manager
Calibrated for custom work – that is Volkmar Bittermann. He is a perfectionist. A carpenter by trade and at the shipyard since 1980. He now manages the workshop where he once produced his first works. Yacht building for him is like art. The demand is always for the extraordinary – in a yacht’s effect, in her appearance and in the materials used. And art is also his private subject – the carpenter loves to paint abstract pictures.
Sophie Ernst is a country lass, working in the water industry. The 29-year-old industrial engineer likes to ride horses and jog. She has her best ideas for her work on superyachts in the out-of-doors. Since 2013, she has participated in the new-build numbers 784/785 and 790, among others. Ernst is particularly fascinated by “the complexity of the projects” and the team effort that yields the best solutions.
“It is immensely inspiring and motivating to solve a problem cooperatively.”
Director of repair & refit
Bernd Wittorf has always been excited about machines and motors. Originally trained as a car mechanic and with a diploma in mechanical engineering, he has been working in the shipbuilding industry since 1989 and joined the team of mega yacht builders at NOBISKRUG in June 2012.
“My ‘project’ is the management of the repair area,” he explains. “While I feel a passion for ships in general and technology in particular, I am most fascinated by the collaboration with my coworkers and with colleagues from the other departments. I am happy to hire young people or to partner with older colleagues in a process of change by giving them new tasks, and it fills me with pride to experience how they develop and grow.”
In his spare time, Bernd Wittorf is nowhere near water. The 55-year-old prefers extended walks with his dog, tennis and soccer – “from the grandstand.”