TBY talks to two industry executives on the genesis of the luxury yacht industry in Turkey and the future on both the building and brokerage sides.
What was the idea behind getting into the ship-building industry?
ÖMER MALAZ I have always been surrounded by boats—my family always had boats and I have bought a few myself. After I left university, I worked for our family business. Years after we sold two of the businesses I was directing, I began looking for a new investment. At the time, there was a good example of boat building—Proteksan Turquoise Yachts—that was already building fantastic products in Turkey. I wanted to produce at the same level of quality, but in different sizes. Proteksan Turquoise makes 40-meter plus boats, while we currently build between 17 meters and 40 meters. For two years we did a feasibility study on whether it could be done; whether boats could be built and produced competitively. Once I saw that opportunity, I took it and started Numarine from scratch, and now we are located here in Gebze, near Istanbul. We have a 25,000-sqm indoor production space and we are building between 16 and 20 boats per year of various sizes. Our standard sizes are 55, 68, 78, 102, and 130 feet.
SONAY GÜNAY I have been in this business for the last 16 years, and the company was established in 2007. I previously worked for another yacht builder and I discovered at that time that Turkey did not have a brokerage company dealing with yachts over 24 meters, for which different rules and regulations apply. Our aim is to build yachts of over 30 meters for clients from around the world. We evaluate the client’s budget and search global shipyards for the right teams to satisfy the buyer. Once we established ourselves, we realized that there was a need for an independent consultant to work between the client and the shipyard. We are a project management and technical consultancy plus a brokerage and charter firm—the bridge between the client and the shipyard.
What sets you apart in the competitive global yacht market?
ÖM We definitely emphasize our design. We are working with some of the best designers in the world, Tommaso Spadolini, Can Yalman, and Umberto Tagliavini. Together they produce what I think is the best in the market at the moment. As newcomers to the market, we have used new technology, working with resin infusion, which results in lighter, stiffer, stronger boats. At end of the day, these are faster and more fuel-efficient. I always say we are the greener side of a very dirty industry. Our boats are 15% if not 20% more fuel-efficient, and we are about 15% to 20% faster than our competition.
SG Yacht building shipyards and regular shipyards are separate things, but in general they are all called builders. There are around 220 shipyards in Turkey, and around 70 of them build yachts between seven and 90 meters in length. We focus on yachts larger than 24 meters. Turkey is lucky in terms of its coastline, yet it is inexperienced in terms of using this resource. We want to educate the population that owning a yacht is much like owning a car. However, having a yacht built is a huge undertaking if you lack experience. We operate between the client and the shipyard and make the process fun for businessmen who are looking to buy yachts. We make our clients’ dreams come true.
What challenges exist in the luxury yacht sector?
ÖM At the moment, we are building a yacht for a client in Venezuela, one for a client in China, and another one for a client in Brazil, so we are global. The first challenge is the economic condition of the world. The second is the new green movement, which will be very important in the next 15 to 20 years as people become more informed about the environmental impact of boats, yachts, and recycling. All these are going to be major topics in the next 15 years. This isn’t driven by the clients, but by incoming regulations.
SG I hope that one day we will stop talking about sales by country and begin talking about sales by brands. Our friends at Proteksan Turquoise Yacht produce yachts of the same quality as firms in the Netherlands or Germany, but Turkey has less experience in sales. We want more clients to come and order yachts here and be satisfied. Clients need to realize that when they go to a shipyard and are dissatisfied it does not mean that Turkish boats are generally poor in quality. This can happen in the Netherlands also. We need to know how to market our brands.
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