For the last three years Nobiskrug has been fairly quiet. The German yard has been keeping a low profile, working hard on the extremely confidential project White Pearl, an epic sailing yacht of 140m shrouded in secrecy. caught up with managing director Susanne Wiegand at the London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show ahead of the project being launched.

SYN: There are whispers that we will finally be able to see White Pearl out in the open soon…

SW: Yes, she is a bit too big to hide anymore! We started construction in March 2012 and have not communicated about her at all, following the strictest confidentiality agreement. But right now we are dismantling the shed around the vessel and preparing the flooding of the dock. We will soon take her out of the dock and relocate her for the finalisation period at the beginning of May and prepare her for sea trials. She will then be in the public domain then, so expect photos soon. We won't be able to stop them. It is quite exciting for us. She is the biggest yacht Nobiskrug has ever built and she will come out as one of the biggest worldwide, whether you measure that in length or in volume. She will no doubt raise our profile. People will talk about this boat.

SYN: Does having such strict confidentiality agreement pose a problem for marketing the yard?

SW: Absolutely. Usually we try and convince the owners to let us show something. It is nice if you have material you can show potential clients when you have something under construction. Owners are often open and flexible to this. But not everyone is, which we completely respect. It has been a long time of silence for this one. But the project will speak for itself when it is out. People are always interested in something that is surrounded by mystery, so it is self-marketing in a way.

SYN: White Pearl is Nobiskrug’s first sailing yacht and sailing yachts still make up a very small portion of the global order book. Do you think you will do more? 

SW: I really don’t know. Historically, the complexity of a sailing yacht may have put off clients. The motoryacht is easier to enter the market with; the variety is huge, the range is large and the space is much more flexible. With sailing yachts, many clients have a sailing yacht moment in their lives. Sailing yachts are charming, they are special. We’ll follow the market requirements, and if someone wants a sailing yacht like White Pearl, we can do it. Because we are a custom yard, everything we do is project and client related. There is no such thing as ‘no’ in our industry; it is always, how can we do this.

SYN: Where do you see Nobiskrug’s position among the wider shipyard fraternity?

SW: That is a good question. Before I answer, I think it is always important to structure the market a bit because it is different whether you address smaller vessels, semi-custom yachts or production boats for example. There are very few yards that are able to build fully custom yachts because it requires specific levels of capacity, engineering and project management. I think there are only a few yards in Europe that fall into this category: the usual Dutch yards, the German players, Fincantieri. These yards can cope with this challenge. We are definitely one of them. Nobiskrug’s facilities and capabilities definitely mean that it is in the top five I think.

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