Heesen Yachts has announced its first vessel launch of 2019: Project Antares. The 55m fast displacement hull form is the first of five yachts that the yard expects to launch this year.
Project Antares is one of 13 yachts that are currently under construction at the Dutch shipyard, including Project Cosmos, which at 80m is the largest project in Heesen’s history.
The shipyard delivered four vessels in 2018, with incredible levels of activity in the market. In a statement to the press, Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen reflected on the successes of last year. “In 2018 the market in our core segments grew slightly, which is a good sign for us, and last year was a very good year.”
Looking ahead at 2019, Brouwer predicts that the 40m-60m bracket will continue to be the shipyard’s most successful segment, but also notes its concentration on larger sizes will grow. “Heesen has made a strategic move into the spec build 50m to 60m bracket and we see that segment as a core market for us with the best potential, alongside the full custom 60m to 80m bracket.” In addition to larger sized vessels, Brouwer also reveals plans to explore different designs and technologies that push the 500gt regulatory threshold. “We still see the 50m, sub-500gt as a very important product and market for us, but we have build sheds and docks where we can operate between 50m and 60m [and] where we can optimise the length and volume of boats [that] we build, to create the maximum capacity of opportunities for ourselves.”
In the latter part of 2018, Heesen announced that it would be building its first explorer vessel, something that Mark Cavendish, Heesen’s director of sales and marketing, sees as a way to engage with the next generation of yacht owners. “I understand that the children of today’s UHNWIs are quite interested in the concept of going off on longer voyages; carrying a large number of toys with them so they can go exploring, or perhaps, for example, heli-skiing in the Arctic or Antarctic – all those kinds of projects that the average yacht isn’t really set up for. I think the explorer concept is great for the future.”
According to research by The Superyacht Intelligence Agency, Heesen currently holds the second largest order book in the Netherlands, behind Feadship, which amounts to more than 20 per cent of the total Dutch order book.
The current health of the new build market will be explored in detail in The Superyacht Report: New Build, published next month.
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