Convincing a client to build a superyacht at a fledgling shipyard is surely the toughest sales pitch in the industry. The client exposure and associated risks are high and the confidence that one must bestow in the yard is significant.
With so few facilities able to build a superyacht worldwide, first deliveries really are a make or break. However, when asking prices are indistinguishable from a phone number, second chances are rare.
Even for those that are fortunate enough to be given a second chance and continue building, I wonder if an adverse introduction to the industry is redeemable, or if our propensity to rely on word of mouth and heritage are inadvertently setting some yards up for failure.
There must be some yards out there, without the track record for proof, that have become great yards because of operational improvements made inside the shed, but are failing to sign contracts because its first impression does not lend itself to the esteemed segment of yachts referred to as ‘pedigree’ (although I feel this word has partly lost its value through overuse as a means of one-upmanship).
I often hear brokers urging other brokers and prospective buyers to see yachts in the flesh to form conclusions. There must be so many top quality yachts on the market that are unsold because of the yard’s name and a total underestimation of the build quality.
I don't expect any yard's first delivery to be as well constructed as its 20th, or the construction process as well oiled. But can a yard that optimises its production processes and promotes best practice in its business methodology not deliver a quality product?