With the 100- foot Gaia as its flagship yacht, Spirit Yachts is now focussing on marketing the larger, custom end of its business. “We are launching a new PR and marketing drive that says we operate in three areas; the smaller boats but also the superyacht and power range, which includes a 110-foot gentleman’s launch,” explained recently appointed managing director Nigel Stuart.
“The company needs to show we have already built these big boats like Gaia, but that we can do a lot better than this and we are in the market to do it, because sitting around and waiting for clients doesn’t work. We build with wood so we don’t have to have moulds, and we are not like an alloy factory where you have got years of welding and then filling and fairing. We can build something very light that works well with both power and sail.”
Up until Stuart’s appointment in August 2014, the company had not attended a boat show for three years. With its latest marketing push however, the company has already been seen at Dusseldorf, Singapore and London boat shows this year, with plans to attend Cannes, Southampton and Monaco in the coming months. “We are starting to shout about our name and I think the bigger boats are a very important part of the picture,” Stuart added.
With the challenge of procuring new orders in the superyacht size range, Stuart believes that access to customers that appreciate wood as a construction material is the main contest. “People’s perception is that wood is what we used to build boats from, then we built fibreglass boats, and then we build better fibreglass boats by making them carbon,” he explained. “We need clients that grasp that wood is better than fibreglass, that you can build these boats with a combination of wood and either stainless steel or carbon, and that you can build a very lightweight structure that performs very well.”
For the future, Stuart is confident that the company’s rejuvenated marketing message will reap the rewards. “People always comment on how beautiful Gaia is and ask why we haven’t built any more of her size. We will build more, it is just that we are not known for doing it yet.”