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The new build report
Industry

The new build report

Fabio Ermetto
30th October 2019

The data available to Fabio Ermetto’s new builds division grants him access to almost any yacht under construction, from Holland to Hong Kong. His success synchronises with his education as a naval architect. Camper & Nicholsons Chief Commercial Officer points out innovative designs that are bringing more yachts to market than ever before.

Although many yacht companies claim to have a new build division, very few have a team with proper experience and skills in this field. At Camper & Nicholsons I lead a dedicated team with intimate links to the world’s leading shipyards. My career offers a case in point. I started building yachts at Dutch manufacturer Heesen the moment I graduated as a naval designer. Then I spent 18 years working at some of the major shipyards across the world. Yet my own experience is dwarfed by that of my colleagues. This multilingual team boasts 20, 25 or 30 years of project managing bespoke luxury boats.

That’s important because the new build market is uniquely international. Take the forthcoming 44m Kingship for example. Launching next year, she has a beam so wide it’s like a St Tropez beach club just anchored offshore. At this stage a buyer could even insert an elevator, an extended swim platform or an outdoor teppanyaki kitchen. Moreover, the yacht is being constructed in China with European materials by an Argentine naval designer. We live in global times.

Two decades ago the buyer of this yacht would likely be British or American. Today that purchaser might be Chinese, Brazilian, Mexican or Russian. Thankfully our staff speak a combined total of 21 languages, from Turkish to Thai. As one of our 12 worldwide bureaux is always open for business, the sun never sets on Camper & Nicholsons.

However, the overwhelming market leader for new builds is my native Italy, Holland and Germany. That’s because some of the main manufacturers in these countries have so much confidence in market conditions that they build yachts on speculation, frequently even in a relatively large size segment. That works well for both parties, as in 25 years I have never met a client who wishes to wait any longer than necessary for their new boat. There are currently about 90 yachts under construction on speculation sized 30m above. At Camper & Nicholsons we know all of them, from stage of construction to the finest details. We often visit their shipyards to be prepared when our clients need our advice, including timing, which is always a critical factor when reaching a good deal for all concerned.

In Italy design is raised to levels where even a coffee cup is critiqued for its panache and practicality.

In my opinion there’s a second reason why Italy is the new build industry leader in terms of volumes. It’s the same reason why you may have owned an Olivetti typewriter, Alessi lemon squeezer or Bialetti espresso machine. Or a Boffi kitchen, Cassina chair or Fendi bag. In Italy design is raised to levels where even a coffee cup is critiqued for its panache and practicality. Take the SanLorenzo SL102 Asymmetric as an example. She pushes the rules of yacht architecture by rethinking interior layouts to add an extra 10m2 of space, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that invite the ocean in. All within a 32m-long structure that hosts 10 guests in five sumptuous staterooms. And in Italy we take care to style all sizes correctly, from the Fiat 500 to the Ferrari Dino.

Design and tech are best paired on the Baglietto that we’ll deliver next year. Groundbreaking engineering allows her to combine a 10m wide beam with a 4,500 nautical range - within a 54m tri-deck layout. That means vast interior spaces with panoramic windows, plus enough power to glide from Barcelona to the Bahamas without pausing for gas. It’s also a package impossible to comprehend when I started my career. Camper & Nicholsons represented the Baglietto’s purchaser from the outset and has provided monthly progress reports throughout. But every client is different. Some want to visit their ‘baby’ in the yard, then buy the shipworkers an Aperol Spritz. (They’ll smile even though they’d prefer a Peroni.) Other buyers want us to brief them face-to-face in New York, Doha or Kiev.

The most important factor in a new build purchase is to plan correctly. We don’t push buyers towards ever larger boats; we want to craft the perfect solution for a lifelong dream. Camper & Nicholsons has been delivering yachts since 1782, so we have a reputation to uphold. It’s now possible to fit sailing dinghies, glass fronted pools and exterior bars into a 40m-60m build. Plus a diving school, cinema projectors and underwater observation lounge. Such a vessel can be delivered within 24 months, then moored anywhere in the Mediterranean. The largest yachts naturally take longer, but don’t even require a mooring. They are veritable cities with desalination facilities and solar generators, that could circumnavigate the world indefinitely. As a naval designer, that concept is thrilling.

A final trend is for explorer yachts. These are vessels that thrive in seldom sailed destinations from Palau’s rainforest atolls to Alaska's volcanic shores. Each one requires a tough hull, a vast library and an owner with a passion to explore. The yacht I would recommend in this category is the forthcoming 129’ custom yacht from Cantiere delle Marche. She combines timeless yacht design with explorer characteristics and capability. Her steel hull is far thicker than industry requirements, while discreet stabilisers allow her to sail through the Tasman Sea without spilling the prosecco. A 5,500 mile nautical range can leap the entire Pacific. Alas she’ll have to be patient a little longer, as I’m visiting her in Ancona next week.

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