Sunreef set to trailblaze through the superyacht market
CEO Francis Lapp talks building bigger superyachts and appealing to new audiences outside the nautical world…
Sunreef Yachts are an interesting company, although they are something of a niche within a niche, their range of catamaran yachts has proven to be wildly popular not just in the scope of the current market, but also with individuals outside of the yachting realm. For many, all that is known about Sunreef Yachts is that they have impressive clients and brand ambassadors such as Rafael Nadal, Nico Rosberg, and Fernando Alonso on their portfolio. But there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Polish yacht builders, their 20-year gamble to change the face of the catamaran market has more than paid off, and now they have their eyes set on even bigger and more exciting projects.
20 years ago catamarans were primarily used for racing and cheap leisure experiences, it took a visionary like Francis Lapp, the CEO of Sunreef Yachts, to realise their potential in the luxury yacht market. With over 140 yachts launched in less than two decades, it's fair to say they have tapped into something special. They have been incredibly active in the 60-100 foot range, with both sailing yachts, motor yachts and their fleet of eco yachts. But what is the vision for Sunreef yachts - is the plan to keep going bigger or are they happy to keep developing and evolving in the current size bracket?
Credit: Sunreef Yachts
Lapp explains, “Our product range is quite diverse, but we feel that it makes perfect sense to introduce more and more voluminous models. The feedback that we currently have from the superyacht clientele is outstanding. Our last two Monaco showcases proved that catamarans are a refreshing proposition on the monohull-dominated superyacht scene. Our most recent additions to the range include two large explorer yacht concepts and a 43-metre luxury sail cat concept. We keep very active in the 60-80-foot range which remains vital to us, but we definitely see a growing appetite from our customer base and we need to have a relevant response.”
There are few yacht building companies in the world that have managed to disassociate themselves from the connotations of excess and pollution, but Sunreef has managed to do just that. Whatever you may think of the actual specs and performance of their yachts, there is no denying that they have an enviable image and reputation. This is largely due to the fact that they are a relatively modern company with a sharp focus on sustainability, but it's also because they have managed to get such great ambassadors.
Attracting people and clients with credentials and backgrounds that normally wouldn’t normally want to be associated with the traditional idea of yachting is no simple feat, Lapp reveals, “One of the reasons why our yachts are attractive to a very wide and varied clientele is that our catamarans are the perfect entry-level yacht. They are comfortable, stable, safe, extremely spacious, and on top of that, they are totally customizable. They are appealing to first-time buyers as well as to experienced yacht owners. We work a lot with our brand ambassadors, like Nico Rosberg, Rafael Nadal or Fernando Alonso, which also helps us reach new audiences from outside the nautical world.”
Francis Lapp and Fernando Alonso, credit: Sunreef Yachts
Ever since the company began, Sunreef has aspired to use the very best green technology to trailblaze sustainable solutions in the yachting industry. The 80 eco luxury catamaran is a fully-autonomous craft which uses fuel-free cruising in total silence. The yacht features ultralight composite-integrated solar panels which are built into the hull sides, mast, superstructure and bimini roof. It is also equipped with advanced electric engines and a hydro-generation system along with custom-engineered batteries.
Of course, taking on the environmental crisis is a noble pursuit, but to tackle the issue so vigorously via the yachting industry is particularly brave. Speaking on the company's quest to achieve minimal environmental impact, Lapp stated, “Every branch in every industry should do everything possible to reduce its environmental impact. Our business is in yachts and we try our very best to make the boating experience more sustainable. That’s why we invest a lot of effort in developing new technologies to have a maximum of energy efficiency. We have a talented team and a growing number of environmentally-conscious customers to push innovation forward.”
Lapp continues, “We have developed an entire range of electric yachts combining eco-responsible design with new, green technologies, like the composite-integrated solar power system that we created in-house. People will always be attracted to the seas, and we feel it is our responsibility as yacht manufacturers to provide them with the best platform to enjoy cruising in the most sustainable way.
So far in his career, Lapp has been an excellent forecaster of where the market is going, and it may come as no surprise that he sees a lot of potential for the catamaran market. However, a bigger concern might be whether or not the current marina infrastructure is prepared to deal with an influx of beamy, spacious superyachts. But without focusing too much on the potential wider industry drawbacks of a booming yacht sector, there is no harm in speculating what the superyacht landscape could potentially.
Historic deliveries of 30m plus superyachts - how will this change in the next 10 years?
When asked what he thinks yachting will look like in 2030, Lapp replied, “We will definitely see more and more catamarans. There is a very strong trend for multi-hull yachts nowadays. This is due to the fact that customers and builders are becoming more and more aware of their multiple advantages. There is going to be a strong evolution towards making boating more sustainable and here, again catamarans have many advantages like low hull resistance and lots of space for solar panels. We will surely witness new technical developments in electric yachting.”
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