British builder Fairline sells Squadron 50 in HK
Simpson Marine confirms the first Fairline Squadron 50 in Hong Kong has quickly been snapped up, showing the demand for the builder’s blend of British craftsmanship and Italian design.
It may have taken a few months longer than planned, but the Fairline Squadron 50 finally made its Hong Kong debut recently and it was worth the wait, with the unit selling within weeks of its arrival. And for Fairline fans, there’s further good news, as dealer Simpson Marine has ordered another Squadron 50 and a Squadron 53, due to arrive in Hong Kong in late January 2021.
Designed by Italian Alberto Mancini, the Squadron 50 is the first model in the British brand’s new 50ft range and was originally premiered at the Southampton International Boat Show in September 2019 before making its Asian debut at the Thailand Yacht Show in January.
Since then, however, efforts to show off the boat around Asia have been hampered by pandemic-related travel restrictions. The timing has been particularly frustrating for Simpson Marine, which has represented Fairline in Hong Kong and the Philippines since 2018, and in Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar since the start of 2020.
David Walder, Fairline Sales Manager at Simpson Marine, said: “Since we’ve taken Fairline on, there have been a lot of challenges and big challenges. This year has been phenomenal [sales-wise], but we’ve struggled with getting product to the marketplace.”
Although lockdowns and restrictions across Southeast Asia have impeded the delivery of the Squadron 50 and other models, demand has been high, especially in Hong Kong, where 50-70ft motorboats have been particularly popular this year due to the necessity of holidaying domestically.
Walder is hopeful that the situation will improve as restrictions ease from country to country but concedes that “it’s a waiting game and we just have to be patient.”
While there’s no substitute for test-driving a boat in person, Fairline is making good use of technology to ensure that clients can do their research ahead of time with resources such as the Fairline Virtual Marina and the online configurator for the F//Line 33, a first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to customise every aspect of their yacht.
“Our role is changing, partly because tools like the virtual marina are getting better and better. In the last 10-12 years, people have been able to do so much more research before they come to brokers, for example by taking virtual tours, so people are coming through the door much better informed,” says Walder.
“I think that kind of tool is getting more and more important because you’ve got to get it right to keep the customers engaged. And it means customers are going to get better service from the dealers, because the dealers need to up their game and be better informed as well.”