Boat Lagoon Yachting leading the way in Southeast Asia
Boat Lagoon Yachting has established Princess as a leading brand in Southeast Asia for 28 years, while its representation of Jeanneau, Sacs and Burgess along with its brokerage, charter and service divisions round out one of the region’s most complete dealerships.
Vrit Yongsakul (second left) with colleagues on a Princess Y78 in Pattaya
Vrit Yongsakul and his Boat Lagoon Yachting team looked delighted to be working at a boat show again as Thailand’s biggest dealer displayed Princess and Jeanneau models at TYS Pattaya, 2½ years since the country’s previous outdoor boat show in January 2020.
Despite the fact the event was held in the Gulf of Thailand, a long way by water from Boat Lagoon Yachting’s home in Phuket, the company was able to stage the country debut of the Princess Y78 – the biggest yacht on show at Ocean Marina Yacht Club – plus an NC 33 and Cap Camarat 9.0 WA from Jeanneau.
“The Princess Y78 premiere was keenly anticipated, so many appointments were made well ahead of the show. In fact, we’ve been seeing significant interest in the Gulf of Siam from existing and new customers interested in purchase and charter,” says Vrit, Group Managing Director of Boat Lagoon Yachting, who believes yachting interest on Thailand’s east coast has surged during the pandemic.
BLY exhibited a Jeanneau NC 33, Jeanneau Cap Camarat 9.0 WA and Princess Y78
“As the biggest and most luxurious yacht on display, visitors were impressed. Owners can enjoy the Y78 as a spacious, versatile day boat, great for the Gulf of Thailand, or as a luxurious, comfortable mini-superyacht with the range to explore the coastline and places like Koh Chang and Koh Samet, or Koh Samui for longer cruises and even across to the Andaman Sea side of Thailand with ease.”
The Y78 in Pattaya is the second unit Boat Lagoon Yachting has sold in Thailand, following an earlier Y78 in Phuket. They’re among the most recent of an enormous list, with Vrit stating the company has secured about 350 sales of new and used Princess yachts in 28 years.
PLYMOUTH MEETS PHUKET
Emerging from the family-owned Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket, Boat Lagoon Yachting was founded in 1994 when it secured representation of the British shipyard as Princess Yachts South East Asia. Vrit, who has been with the company from the start, said business started slowly as the yachting market wasn’t as developed as in the likes of Hong Kong.
Vrit has worked for Boat Lagoon Yachting since it was founded in 1994
“The Princess family has been an important part of our lives for 28 years, but the Southeast Asia market was relatively challenging and slow in the initial days as far as luxury yachting was concerned,” Vrit says.
“There has never been shortage of wealth, but many have also not been exposed to the lifestyle and benefits that yachting can bring, or how it may enhance their quality of living to the next level. That’s why we’re particularly proud to see the continued growth and success over the years.”
Asia’s longest-serving Princess distributor, Boat Lagoon Yachting gradually expanded and now has offices in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Maldives. It also benefits from its own comprehensive service facilities and teams at the Boat Lagoon marinas in Phuket and now Krabi.
The Princess Y78 in Pattaya is the model’s second unit in Thailand
The company’s leading markets are Thailand and Singapore, where Country Head Alister Brunskill manages its office in ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove. In the last decade alone, the company has sold more than 100 new boats within the 55ft-100ft range, reflecting the confidence clients have in both Princess and Boat Lagoon Yachting.
“Clients here are particularly focused on aftersales service and trust in the brand and their representatives in the region. In Thailand, the company has its own marinas and service centres that are at the disposal of our clients,” Brunskill says.
“Southeast Asia is a market where I believe clients feel reassured buying from a long-standing distributor and one with commitments to both the products and aftersales service. Singapore and Thailand have been markets where word of mouth and referrals have been important for us.”
Southeast Asia’s first Princess X95 arrived this year and two more will follow
The dealer’s dedication to its clients is also reflected in its huge commitment to securing stock models early and bringing new models out to Asia for regional, continental and sometimes even global premieres. Its Asia firsts included the Princess 60 and led to a world-record 14 sales of the model, while others included the S60 sportbridge.
The company even held the world premiere of the Princess 75MY in Singapore, which along with its sistership series, led to more than 50 transactions of new and pre-owned units across all markets within Southeast Asia.
PREMIERES & ORDERS
Boat Lagoon Yachting staged the Asia premiere of the Y85 in 2019 and has now sold six units of the 26m Y Class model, as well as five units of the 78 series.
Boat Lagoon Yachting is awaiting Southeast Asia’s first Princess Y72
The first Y72 in Southeast Asia is expected later this year and follows the model’s world premiere at Cannes last September. To complete the Y Class range in the region, the first, ‘world premiere’ unit of the flagship Y95 is also expected by the end of this year.
Furthermore, the first Princess X95 in Southeast Asia arrived in Phuket earlier this year and two more units are expected to arrive in 2023, one in Singapore and one in Thailand, while the region’s first X80 is expected early next year.
That would ensure Southeast Asia is home to the full collection of the modern Y Class range of larger flybridge motor yachts as well as the high-volume, super-flybridge X Class models, both complementing all models from the former M Class superyacht range.
The ‘world premiere’ version of the upcoming Y95 will head to Southeast Asia
“We now have the entire range of Princess flybridge models and M Class superyacht range in Southeast Asia,” Vrit says. “Over the last two years, sales of new and pre-owned Princess models have accelerated, with owners upgrading and new customers wishing to join the expanding family in the region. We’re proud to maintain our number one position in this segment.”
Yet Boat Lagoon Yachting is much more than Princess Yachts South East Asia. It is also a dealer for French builder Jeanneau and Italian Rib manufacturer Sacs, represents superyacht brokerage house Burgess in Thailand, and has strong brokerage, charter, after-sales, service and yacht-management divisions.
The company has been a distributor for Jeanneau – part of the giant Groupe Beneteau stable – for the past decade. The French yard is one of the world leaders in sailing yachts and will debut its flagship Jeanneau Yachts 65 at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival from September 6-11.
Popular Jeanneau motorboats in S.E.A. include the Merry Fisher 1095 Fly
Meanwhile, its range of powerboats range in length from about 18ft-43ft, so complement Princess’s larger models within the Boat Lagoon Yachting portfolio. Jeanneau’s powerboat ranges comprise Cap Camarat, Merry Fisher, Merry Fisher Sport, NC, Leader and now DB, a new series kickstarted by the brand-new DB/43 that will also premiere in Cannes this year.
Boat Lagoon Yachting has already secured a unit of the DB/43, which will be the first in Asia when it arrives. However, the most popular ranges among clients are the world-famous Merry Fisher series and the Cap Camarat range, now celebrating its 40th anniversary.
“In recent years, as people have grown to appreciate mobility and the convenience of boating especially in new locations away from crowds, the Cap Camarat and Merry Fisher ranges have definitely proved the most popular here in Southeast Asia,” Vrit says.
Boat Lagoon Yachting has ordered Asia’s first Jeanneau DB/43
“Jeanneau builds good-quality, affordable boats and offers day cruising, fishing abilities and fun for the family and friends, which is what many of our clients are after. The Merry Fisher 1095 Fly, with its unique flybridge and outboard motors, is an example of a popular choice for a larger family or owners who like to entertain.”
RIBS TO SUPERYACHTS
In early 2019, Boat Lagoon Yachting announced its representation of Sacs across Asia and Burgess in Thailand, as it widened its offerings for its clients. The company’s sales of Sacs Ribs include the-then flagship Rebel 47 and multiple Strider performance models including the 900, 11, 13 and the world-premiere edition of the Strider 15.
Some of these have included the custom ‘limousine’ version, which can accommodate up to 18 people at speeds of over 45 knots, while others such as the Rebel 47 can carry a range of water toys such as Seabobs, diving equipment and even a jet-ski. Sacs has since launched a new flagship, the Rebel 55, while the company has merged with TecnoRib, licensee of the Pirelli brand of RIBs.
The Thailand premiere of Sacs’ Strider 15 featured the world premiere hull
“Sacs is trusted by many of the world’s top superyachts as their tender and chase boat. The shipyard is considered an international leader in its field and its products are positioned at the highest level in terms of design, size, performance and quality,” Vrit says. “This quality is particularly appreciated by owners of larger yachts, often above 80ft, where it’s appealing to have a high-quality chase boat or even a fun boat for family and children.”
Boat Lagoon Yachting’s partnership with Burgess has also proven a win-win, even if most of this period has coincided with the Covid era. Last year, the dealer – working on behalf of Burgess – represented the seller of the 34m Feadship Moon Sand Too, having previously sold a 42m superyacht for the owner, a long-standing client.
“Through Boat Lagoon Yachting, we then found the buyer and with the professional assistance and experience of the Burgess team and its international network, vital during Covid time, the sale was completed very quicky, within weeks,” Vrit says.
On behalf of Burgess, the company also organised the charter of a 60m superyacht in the Maldives for one of its clients, so hopes are high that the superyacht side of the business will become increasingly active as international travel becomes easier.
Boat Lagoon Yachting helped sell the 34m Feadship Moon Sand Too
“A lot of business at this level is about trust, and long-term relationships, which is why we’re particularly proud to be working with Burgess. The relationships we’ve grown and fostered with many of our clients are valuable for us. With the Burgess team, we can now give professional advice and information that’s relevant to our clients’ needs and with their interest at heart,” Vrit says.
“During Covid, it has been difficult for most people to travel to see many of these superyachts, which are often not based here in Asia, so we expect to see these discussions come to fruition soon.”
COMPLETING THE CYCLE
For the same reason, there are high hopes that the charter business driven by international visitors to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia will increase after a difficult couple of years. Another key market segment is foreigners with residences in Thailand who haven’t visited during the pandemic.
On the flip side, the domestic appetite for charters in Thailand has increased as locals sought to explore their country’s attractions. Furthermore, the general downturn in activity in Thailand’s most popular yachting areas has made the seas cleaner and encouraged the return of a lot of wildlife and marine life in coastal areas.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the return of international visitors,” Vrit says. “We’re also anticipating superyacht charters becoming more active, especially with some of our recent bigger yachts now available for charter, as people begin to appreciate spending time on board with family and friends. And since Covid, the natural environment has become even more beautiful.”
Vrit at Phuket Boat Lagoon marina
Brokerage is one of the core parts of Boat Lagoon Yachting’s business and has remained active throughout the pandemic. The brokerage team spans Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and covers multiple brands and sizes. Although the company has completed transactions for sailing boats, catamarans and even commercial ships, it specialises in the brokerage of luxury motor yachts, generally in the 40-130ft range but with a focus on models between 55-100ft.
Sales have ranged from a 42m American superyacht to various Princess M Class superyachts over 100ft, a 28m Dominator Ilumen and motor yachts from Sunseeker, Fairline, Azimut, Ferretti Yachts and Prestige. However, it’s fair to say Princess yachts play a large part in Boat Lagoon Yachting’s business, due simply to the huge number of new units it sells into the region.
“Boat Lagoon Yachting is at the centre of yacht brokerage for the Asian market and it’s an important part of our business,” Vrit says. “We have unrivalled experience and knowledge of the Princess range, so we’re able to offer truly in-depth advice for any used model in Asia and beyond.”
The brokerage aspect also includes helping owners with ongoing after-sales and support, as well as any modification or retrofitting of yachts, especially on used boats, to suit their preferences.
“We employ many former Princess Yachts staff who work with our experienced local team to offer the added flexibility and assurance that your used-boat purchase can be as enjoyable as possible. We’ve helped almost all our owners of new Princess yachts upgrade once if not twice – and sometimes 15 times!”