SuperyachtNews COVID-19 Advisory – yacht tender builder status
The Superyacht Tenders and Toys team provides an update on builder activity as of 6 April 2020…
Superyacht Tenders and Toys has a large number of yacht tenders in build across the world so we thought it would help anyone know what the builder’s status is during COVID-19. A number of builders have managed to remain open, particularly those with military contracts and thus being termed as essential. Others are implementing new measures to address social distancing reducing and rotating their workforce. Manufacturers have had cancelled orders and thus there are some readily available new boats on the market and build slots which can be utilised. Many companies are making the most of this time to work on improvements and updates on their current range, and some new designs.
At SYTT the office is now largely closed, with the warehouse remaining operational fulfilling orders. The team continue as normal from the relative safety of remote working and only last week did a full new build order leave us. Working from home affords us a new opportunity to spend more time on projects when previously travel would have taken that time. We have used video calls to manufacturers to do inspections or screen share for design updates, alongside spending longer on calls to better understand client’s requirements and overall develop closer relationships in difficult times.
During this period of reflection, we have taken the time to catch up with tender manufacturers around the world to get a grasp of how they are coping with the challenges that COVID-19 is posing. It seems that for the likes of Novurania and Nautique in Florida, USA, it is pretty much business as usual with production continuing and leisure customer enquiries still high. With many companies like SYTT receiving an increasingly high volume of internet traffic and with people having more time on their hands to think about their boats, everyone is receiving a high number of enquiries. Further North in Maine, Hodgdon also continue production.
Pascoe International remain fully operational whist ensuring that all UK Government working guidelines are fully adhered to. Such is their commitment to their clients, a number of measures have been implemented to protect their workforce and to ensure business continuity. A remote working policy has been put in place with all office and design staff having full connectivity. The production teams have been divided into two shifts working a 4 days on / 4 days off rota with no physical interaction between the two groups to allow careful control of social distancing. This enables continuous production 7 days a week to reduce any impact to current builds, refits or future projects.
Elsewhere in Europe, it seems that restrictions are in place throughout, but manufacturers are working hard to meet the deadlines of their clients. In Serbia, custom Limousine and Open builder Ante Tenders continue production although with a slightly amended time scale. They are confident that they can carry on meeting client requirements. Discussing with Dusan Antic, Managing Director, they are even considering increasing their workforce so that they can match any potential demand for the coming summer. In contrast, Castoldi who are almost in the heart of the epidemic just outside Milan, had to close production completely whilst Northern Italy weathers the storm. However, due to ongoing defence contracts they have been allowed to continue waterjet production and will no doubt be back up to full capacity shortly.
The dedication of builders around the world to press on and deliver amazing projects at such a testing time is highly commendable. As we all know, the expectation of owners rarely changes no matter the situation, therefore the ability of these manufacturers to meet the deadlines is imperative and with the aid of images and video calling SYTT is able to continue working with them to provide reporting and updates to our clients.
Alongside the manufacturing side of things, we are excited to hear that companies are investing a great deal of time and effort in R & D of new models or development of current ones. Ribbon Yachts have recently brought out their 28 Monza Hybrid tender and alongside this have a new SOLAS version of the R28. They also have a new SOLAS Lifeboat which doubles as a Limousine tender. Ribeye, who unveiled their new A series at the Southampton Boat Show are currently developing jet configurations for their Prime Superyacht range which will then mean they can offer inboard, outboard and jet to all clients.
Overall, it appears that the Superyacht tender market are adapting as best they can to current situation in order to deliver on time and to the same quality. At the moment, working situations seem to vary from country to country and manufacturers are afforded different freedoms depending on where they are. However, whether it be in physical production or product development it can be said that all are battling their hardest to limit the effects of COVID-19 that sweeps our planet.
Individual Manufacturer updates:
Ukraine has been largely unaffected with any reported COVID-19 cases being in Kiev. Kharkov where BRIG HQ is located is free of coronavirus and production is operating at full capacity.
In the UK, the showroom and service centre are closed to the public, but it is business as usual by working remotely. Should a prospective customer be interested in a stock boat then virtual walk-arounds via Facetime / WhatsApp are used to enable purchase decisions to be made. When the pandemic escalated, BRIG UK were quick to purchase any rigging components (electronics, steering etc.) required to fulfil not only orders but also to enable the rigging of all BRIG stock boats expected into the UK. Consequently, the workshop engineers are working in isolation to continue to rig BRIG boats ready for customer handover and also to accumulate a healthy stock of rigged. For customers who have agreed deals, BRIG have offered free storage until a suitable time when a boat handover can be undertaken.
Novurania, Florida USA
At present this is running with normal production. There are some supply chain issues causing some delays. All local marina slipways in the area have been closed so they are unable to do any sea trials. Novurania are reporting lots of enquiries coming in from US leisure customers and still some from the superyacht market. They recently delivered 6 Cats to Royal Caribbean cruises. COVID has obviously affected that market more than almost any other so this is going to be an area where they are not expecting growth. They are using this time developing a new Limousine Tender.
Pascoe’s operation at Universal Marina, Southampton, remains fully operational. All non-production staff are operating remotely. The production teams have been divided into two shifts which are alternating on a four days on / four days off rota with no physical interaction between the two groups allowing Pascoe to operate seven days a week. It has been necessary for Pascoe to reduce the number of employees at the facility in order to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the UK Government.
Pascoe’s in-house design team is working hard from home supporting the workforce with current builds, several refit projects and also as well as some exciting new platforms which will be unveiled later in the year.
Ribbon have slowed production on everything. They are however continuing with carbon production. This includes the new SOLAS Limousine design as well as a SOLAS R28.
The Italian Government decided to close the production of all the non-essential companies. Like other builders the office staff have continued to work from home. On the 2nd April, after having requested and obtained from the authorities approval Castoldi managed to reopen the warehouse and the waterjet production. This was allowed because Castoldi have some military and defence contracts.
Yacht tender production will be delayed due to the enforced shutdown however with the perceived relaxing of measures in Italy in the coming few weeks production will get moving again. A lot of Castoldi’s supply is locally to shipyards and thus the delays to the tender builds will be reflected similarly with shipyards builds, hopefully having minimal impact.
The Spanish government exceptionally authorises Narwhal to remain open, this is because Narwhal is a supplier of the Spanish, French and Portuguese military, with ongoing orders which need to be fulfilled. Narwhal is fully working till April 8th then will close until the 13th simply for the Easter holidays as per normal.
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