24 Jul 2012
New builds could provide gateway to yachting
Fort Lauderdale-based Broward Shipyard has secured the first of its new build motoryacht contracts since the company came under new ownership in 2009. The contracts for the two 41m steel-hull, aluminium-superstructure vessels were signed in June by WorldSea Yachting. The identical 455gt vessels are designed by Vripack with specification from Broward Shipyard itself.
The yard will be laying the keels of the superyachts in August and September respectively, with expected delivery time of 24-25 months, said Broward Shipyard’s project and sales director Philippe Brandligt. He added that there are further projects with the same owners in the pipeline this year.
WorldSea Yachting’s aim is to provide a novel experience for its clientele between a traditional cruise ship holiday and a luxury superyacht charter, where guests can book on a single room basis or charter the whole vessel. As such, Vripack has designed the layout with six equally proportioned guest rooms that can be expanded to more a generous size by a moveable wall.
to be delivered in late 2014 and early 2015
“I think about 70 per cent of our business will be from outside the classic [yacht] charter market. The idea behind the model is much like that of a holiday club, where you don’t feel like you have to put your hand in your pocket at any point during or after the cruise; it should be more inclusive,” said WorldSea Yachting founding partner Philippe Swolfs, a naval architect and mechanical engineer with a background in commercial and mini-cruise vessels in Belgium and Holland. “We are looking to take delivery of the two vessels in late 2014 and early 2015.” Swolfs’ fellow founding partner is Francis Liabres, who has a background in the leisure industry.
This model provides an interesting new channel for prospective superyacht owners to learn and experience the benefits of chartering a superyacht without having to jump straight into a full-on charter, which can be intimidating for those who are unfamiliar. At this year’s American Superyacht Forum the ongoing discussion continued about where the industry is going to find it’s ‘next generation’ of yacht owners, and high-end cruise ship passengers were brought up as a potential target market. During the conference, Bruce Schattenberg of yacht brokerage Y.CO, commented that, for many smaller superyachts, the per-week, per-person cost to the clients is not too dissimilar to that of a luxury cruise, but with the a much more bespoke experience focused on the individuals, with better staff-to-guest ratios. The WorldSea Yachting model seems like it could psychologically bridge the gap between cruise ship holidays and superyacht charters.
The two 41m contracts not only provide a watershed moment for Broward Shipyard under its new ownership, but also inject some projects into the US new build industry, of which there have been relatively few since the global economic crisis hit.
“Since 2009 we have concentrated on refit and repair, working on approximately 100 vessels a year. We are now focusing on new construction,” said Brandligt, who brought experience as a project manager at Amels and managing director of Moonen Shipyard to the Fort Lauderdale company after it was bought out three years ago. He commented that under his management he would like to see the company model itself on the shipyards in Holland that build yachts in series, such as Amels: “[If you] build a series of yachts of the same size, the owners get a very good boat. That is a model I would like to bring to Broward Shipyard and I think it is the way forward. If you always make custom-build boats, you have to reinvent the wheel for each project, and some of the wheels will be square. We are not looking to sell to people for a low price, but we are looking [to provide] value for money.”
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