It has been well publicised that in recent years Moonen, the Dutch superyacht builder, has been forced to weather financial difficulty caused variously by the Global Financial Crisis and the plummeting price of Mexican steel. On the 2017 HISWA Holland Yachting Group press tour Moonen’s CEO, Emile Bilterijst, outlined the position in which the yard now finds itself.
“As you know Moonen has gone through a difficult period in the last couple of years, but fortunately we are in a better position now and, in a way, it provided the impetus to take stock and ask ourselves questions relating to our DNA and consider how the market is developing,” said Bilterijst.
Part of the process that Bilterijst described was conducting a survey to ascertain Moonen’s perceived areas of strength and weakness. The survey, which included around 100 respondents from various factions of the industry, highlighted Moonen’s familial approach, regardless of ownership, as being central to its appeal. The yard also scored impressively with regards to perceived quality, price point, comfort and noise and vibration.
“Was it all positive? No, of course not and we have to be frank about that. When asked how Moonen was perceived in terms of being traditional versus being innovative, we were seen as being very traditional and not very innovative,” continued Bilterijst. “We do consider ourselves to be innovative, we are innovative with our use of technology to improve quality and comfort. But, perhaps because of the style of our boats, we are not perceived as being innovative.”
Bilterijst conceded that this perceived lack of innovation was not altogether surprising and, as an exclusive, introduced the gathered press to Moonen’s new Navarino concept. At 47m and falling just below the 500gt, Navarino falls within the 40-50m bracket that Bilterijst believes is Moonen’s best position in the market.
“With the big yards like Feadship, Amels, Oceanco and Heesen all moving through the size ranges, we feel like Moonen has an opportunity between 40-50m,” says Biterijst. “Navarino is an island off the southern-most point of Chilli, we chose this name to reflect its explorative nature.”
While eager to highlight that Moonen is undergoing a period of modernisation, with regards its designs that target the modern yacht owner, Bilterijst was also outlined that Moonen’s more classic gentlemen’s yacht style products would remain, explaining that a number of Moonen’s clients are conservative in their stylistic wants. Presently, Moonen has one vessel in build, 36m Martinique, and is on the market for an owner. Bilterijst also took the opportunity to inform the press that Moonen will soon be opening up a new office in Fort Lauderdale, with more information to follow shortly.