“Our 40m spec build is due for launch in December, and chances are we’ll sell her between now and then,” he said over lunch in London today. “Our 47 and 50m projects are due for launch in May and June respectively next year, and I have an active client right now who would like to come and take a look. We have a myriad of enquiries exactly like that—people who want to come and see these three boats—and I’ll be absolutely amazed if all three of them are not sold by December. And I think one or other of these big boat commissions will come in as well.”
The big boat commissions are an interesting development for Heesen, who, like other shipyards have seen the lengths cited in new enquiries increasing. One of Heesen’s exisiting clients who owns a 50m wants to build a 57m with the yard, and they have serious enquiries for another 65 FHDF, a 70m and a 75m, which is currently larger than their yard can contain. To that end, production director Hans Boerakker has plans to expand his build capacity by demolishing the current number two and three slipways and replacing them with a single 75m dry dock for these new projects.
“At the moment, we sail our larger yachts under the various unmoveable bridges between us and the ocean 125km away with the top deck and mast sent separately by barge and added on in Rotterdam,” Cavendish said, and indeed they did that very thing with Quinta Essentia and Galactica Star. “That works fine for now. But if someone asks for an 80m, we’ll have some head-scratching to do.”
Cavendish also discussed the new agreement with established Mid-East trading house Al-Futtaim, whose marine division will represent the yard in the region. “This is a very exciting development for us,” he said. “Al-Futtaim have started up a marine division, and we quickly spotted that as an interesting arrangement. They will look for customers and sell the boat with us; they’re very well placed to do that. They’re also building a maintenance and repair facility in Dubai which provides us with some interesting options.”
Having worked with outgoing sales and marketing director Fabio Ermetto, Cavendish understands the brand, the company and the needs of Heesen’s clients. “You’re not going to see change in Heesen as a result of my taking on this role,” Cavendish said. The notoriously efficient yard already works at near capacity, but still, challenges lie ahead. “I’m looking forward to the next ten years,” Cavendish said. “I expect we’ll see some amazing things in the superyacht market and we’ll be right there in the midst of it.”
Mark Cavendish photo: credit Richard Smith, Visions; Galactica Star photo: credit Jeff Brown, Superyacht Media