12 Jun 2013
When a 'Star' becomes a 'Helix'
The 42m Vripack-designed Star will undertake a tour of South East Asia throughout June. The superyacht, which was launched in China by Kingship in March 2012, will stop at a number of strategic locations on a promotional journey that is intended to raise awareness of the vessel’s quality among Asian UHNWIs.
Star, which can accommodate 10 guests and nine crewmembers, will visit Phuket Yacht Haven on 9 June, Penang on 13 June and Singapore on 18 and 19 June.
If Star fails to sell on the Asian market then Kingship’s recruitment of European naval architects for the design of 40m+ superyachts will have to be scrutinised. The Chinese yard already has two further vessels in build. Both 42.5m Essence and the 43.9m Green Voyager 144 have been designed by Axis Yacht Design and are due for delivery in 2014.
But Marnix Hoekstra, managing director of Vripack, believes that, although the yacht is a big step for the Asian market, undertaking such a tour will “give an opportunity to people who have enough wealth to look and feel and smell how much pleasure one can get from such a product.”
Despite its obvious European influence, Star is very much a flagship for Asian yachtbuilding. If therefore, the vessel were sold to a domestic client, it would represent another watershed moment for the regional market. “What has been built in this style up to now”, said Hoekstra, "has been sold to Hong Kong-based or ‘British’ Asians.” “It’s more challenging to convince mainland Chinese of the quality, and I believe it will continue to be the case for some time yet.”
But, whilst shipping Star to Europe and touring the show circuit would be the “easy option”, “the yard is really keen to stay there and find an Asian buyer.”
The $16.5 million vessel’s tour, which is intended to act as a catalyst to a sale, is not dissimilar to that undertaken by Helix. The 45m Feadship spent April 2012 being exhibited at various events in Asia and inspired a landmark moment for the superyacht industry in China when a mainland Chinese buyer commissioned the construction of a sistership, Blue Sky.
At the time of Helix’s tour, Feadship director Dick van Lent was prophetic about the tour’s resonance: “We are convinced that the time is right to personally introduce UHNWIs in China with the ultimate yachting lifestyle,” van Lent explained.
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