It's a busy time at Bering Yachts, which has sold its first three superyacht projects in the past year – two of the B145 series and a B107. Having previously delivered all of its projects in the below-30m explorer yacht segment, Bering Yachts’ president Alexei Mikhaliov believes the US brand’s recent growth into the superyacht market stems from its success in this entry-level market.
“We have virtually no competitors for explorer vessels below 24m in steel and we offer a good line of expedition and explorer yachts from 65-85 feet in steel with aluminium superstructures,” Mikhaliov explains. “The majority of GRP boat builders in this size segment are not really producing true displacement expedition yachts – the styling might make them look like real explorers, but they are not.”
Moreover, Bering Yachts has benefited from a number of repeat clients upgrading their yachts over time. “A lot of our potential clients have realised that we're capable of offering larger yachts between 30-50m,” Mikhaliov adds. “In this category, we have a solid clientele looking for capable expedition vessels. Of course, this also corresponds with the growing popularity of the expedition segment.”
According to Mikhaliov, the growing popularity of explorer yachts comes from an evolution of people’s perception of yacht ownership, which is increasingly being seen as a way to experience unique moments. While the definition of an ‘explorer’ can be subjective in the superyacht industry, for Bering it means a self-sufficient, reliable, safe and comfortable yacht that can cruise long distances – at least 3000 to 4000nm – in economical mode. Furthermore, for a yacht to be able to go where other yachts cannot, it needs large tanks and plenty of on-board storage, as well as redundant systems and back-up equipment.
“Increasingly people want to go off the beaten track and visit destinations they can't with a conventional yacht, or even by plane,” continues Mikhaliov. “People are also starting to realise that it’s very inefficient to cruise at high speed. We believe we’re going to see more and more large, full-displacement yachts with commercial duty engines that are reliable, economical and efficient, rather than a mix between planing and displacement hulls.”
Founded in 2007, Bering Yachts is a US company which moved its production operations from China to Antalya, Turkey in 2017. “Turkey is a great place for boat building,” says Mikhaliov, explaining the decision behind the transition. “It has incentives such as Free Zones, meaning we don’t have to pay duties and taxes like VAT on exports. It has a plentiful, experienced and inexpensive labour force, meaning it’s easier, more flexible and cheaper to build there, and these benefits can be passed on to the client in terms of price. Turkey is also close to Europe for access to all our main suppliers and service partners.”
Bering’s corporate headquarters and sales activities, however, remain in the United States. “It’s a very efficient setup and our vessels are competitively priced and offer a high level of quality on a par with Italian builders,” Mikhaliov concludes. “It’s also easier for clients to visit the shipyard for sea trails and so on as Turkey has a year-round season. The COVID-19 situation has had an impact on boat shows, of course, but we have had a constant flow of customers coming to the shipyard and inspecting boats under construction.”
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