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Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Championing the Gulf: Mohammed Alshaali

Championing the Gulf: Mohammed Alshaali

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Mohammed Alshaali reflects on Gulf Craft’s four decades, growing from an isolated fishing boat start-up to a high-tech, fully integrated operation building yachts from 34-175ft across four brands, with two upcoming Majesty superyachts set to kickstart the company’s fifth decade. Interview: John Higginson.

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Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Alshaali was named Middle East Entrepreneur 2022 at the NORNS Awards for his contribution to the Middle East’s leisure maritime industry

 

Congratulations on 40 years since you co-founded Gulf Craft in 1982. What were the key moves that helped Gulf Craft grow to become the Middle East’s leading yacht and superyacht builder?
The first big jump was in 1991, when we moved from building boats to building the first yacht, a 53 flybridge. The second jump in the history of the company was in 2001 when we began building superyachts, starting with the Millennium 118 for John Staluppi in Florida and the Majesty Yachts brand.

Since then, we’ve tried to balance between building boats, small cruisers, yachts and superyachts. Of course, the superyachts grew bigger over time, but we’re still building fishing boats and cruisers, as well as water taxis in our factories in the Maldives. Our aim is to be among the world’s top five superyacht builders in terms of styling, quality, engineering and interiors.

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Gulf Craft was founded in 1982

 

Are you happy with where Majesty Yachts is today?
I’m very happy because we perfected the interior and exterior styling some time ago. For the last two years, we’ve been focusing more on engineering, on how to make the boat even more comfortable and reliable. We use the latest technology and are always trying to improve.

Now we have, for example, boats using solar panels, battery power, and so on. On our new Nomad 70 SUV, all the hotel loads can be run from the batteries, and you only need the engines for propulsion.

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Gulf Craft’s Umm Al Quwain shipyard

 

We’re trying to introduce new technologies and keep up with the new tech, such as navigation equipment, entertainment systems and everything else on the boat. We’re also trying to use nature-friendly materials on our boats and yachts. This is all part of the work of our R&D department, which includes 50 engineers.

That’s why I say we want to be top five. It doesn’t mean we will be there tomorrow or next year, but this is our target.

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Mohammed Alshaali with YACHT STYLE CEO Gael Burlot

 

In Europe, many leading yacht builders are competing with and learning from neighbouring or nearby yards, but Gulf Craft is all alone in the UAE. How can you keep up?
We have consultants from Europe and are in constant communication with high-tech developers. We invest money in this. We’re physically a little far from the centre of the yachting industry, but we started far away 40 years ago, and we weren’t scared to compete.

However, if you talked to me over 20 years ago and said we’d be regular exhibitors at the Monaco Yacht Show, I wouldn’t have believed you. But things are changing. Yes, Europe used to feel further away, but we’re living in a global economy. We’re inter-dependent.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Alshaali jokes with Cristiano Gatto on the Majesty 120

 

Gulf Craft is making a concerted effort to open new markets, such as making your US show debut at Fort Lauderdale in late 2019 with the Majesty 140 and Majesty 100. Where do you see your biggest growth regions in the coming years?
Growing around the world has always been a priority and I think we’ve succeeded. If you can compete in Europe, you can compete anywhere, because even in the US, we’re competing with European brands. In Asia, Australia, we’re competing with European brands. We’re selling well in Europe, so if we’re selling there, we can sell anywhere else.

 

Abeer Alshaali is Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft

 

Your daughter Abeer is Deputy Managing Director, overseeing the company’s global expansion. How closely do you work with her?
We work together as we’re both part of the Management Board. It’s not me or her making the decisions but the whole board. The financial department, engineering department, all the different departments are represented on the board. My daughter and my three sons – two also work for the company – all grew up as Gulf Craft was growing, so boating is in their blood.

 

The Gulf Craft Experience Centre in Dubai’s Port Rashid

 

What has been the response to the Gulf Craft Experience Centre at Port Rashid in Dubai since it opened at the beginning of the year?
It has been well received and worked well for us. It’s close to the centre of Dubai and close to the airport. It also allowed us to separate the sales and marketing department from the factory, so they have their own space and can receive clients and prospects in their own facility. It’s much easier for everyone.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Majesty 120 was at Cannes and Monaco

 

What was the feedback on the Majesty 120 as it made its European debut in September, showing at both the Cannes Yachting Festival and Monaco Yacht Show, along with a Majesty 100?
There was a very good response, and this will show in the order book. This year was the first time the 120 came to Europe but we already have hull five in production. This shows that the 120 already had a good reputation with people that saw her in the past, including at the Dubai International Boat Show earlier in the year. Hull two Rocket One, the 120 shown in Europe, went to America to exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and we have another sale in the US.

The Majesty 100 remains our most popular superyacht. We’ve delivered 12 and have another five or six in production.

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Cristiano Gatto announces the Majesty 160

 

You work regularly with Cristiano Gatto, who designed the exterior and interior of the Majesty 175 and the interior of the Majesty 120, plus he has designed the upcoming Majesty 160. Why does this partnership work for Gulf Craft?
It’s very important when you work with a designer that he understands production. We’re not one-off builders. He doesn’t design one boat for one customer. He designs a series for a yard, so he knows that we’ll be building multiple hulls of each model.

Also, you need to have trust. He trusts what we’ll do, and we trust him. We’ve also developed a friendship since we met. We’re constantly challenging each other on designs, discussing solutions, but he knows he’ll never be undercut or sabotaged because we trust each other.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Majesty 160 will be Gulf Craft’s second-biggest build

 

Cristiano Gatto is one of the best designers in the market for bigger yachts and he has designed so many of them. And the Majesty 175 is unique. She’s the most beautiful yacht and I don’t say that because we built it – we’ve built so many – but this is how I feel every time I go on that yacht. The only down side is that not a lot of people saw the yacht in person because she wasn’t at any boat shows.

We’ve been working with Cristiano again on the new Majesty 160, which also marks our first project with Van Oossanen, on the naval architecture.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Majesty 111 will debut at the 2023 Dubai show

 

What’s the update on the upcoming Majesty 111, which will fit between the 100 and 120 models in the range?
We’re building two hulls simultaneously and the first one will be at the Dubai International Boat Show in March 2023. The Majesty 111 has been designed by Dutch studio Phathom and we’ve sold hull one, with others in negotiation.

 

The Majesty 72 debuted at Abu Dhabi in November

 

How important to the brand are the smaller Majesty models like the 49, 62, 62 M and the new 72? They’re a huge gulf in price from the Superyacht Collection, so who do they appeal to?
I always say we’re a small company. We grew up with our customers. We started in yachts with 50-footers, 60-footers, and the demands from customers kept growing, so we built bigger yachts and superyachts. Yet, we still have new customers coming to us, so we keep the smaller models, which are the bread and butter of the company.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Nomad 70 SUV debuted at this year’s Dubai show

 

What distinguishes the Nomad series, which features 55, 65 and 75 Fly models, and 65, 70, 75 and 95 SUV versions?
Nomad is different. The Nomad is not a smaller Majesty superyacht; it’s a relaxing, slower, oceangoing experience, made for people who don’t worry about reaching somewhere quickly or showing off. They want something to live in as a family and enjoy the sea. Considering we only launched the brand in 2015, they’re selling very well and we’re adding new models every couple of years.

The SUV versions have worked well. We launched the Nomad 70 SUV at this year’s Dubai International Boat Show and already have three or four on order.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Oryx 379 from the brand’s range of sport cruisers

 

Which models represent the future of the Oryx sport cruiser range (36, 379 and 42)?
We already had the 36 and 42, then we changed the style a bit and released the 379 and now we’re building a 47ft and a smaller one. They’ve been selling well and the price in the market for resale is excellent. We have 70 or 80 Oryx boats on the water, mostly in the Middle East, and we’re also selling a few of the 379 in the likes of the Med and Australia.

Silvercraft is a mix of power catamarans (SilverCat 34 CC/HT/Lux, SilverCat 40 CC/Lux) and monohulls (36 CC/HT, 47). What are the main markets for these models?
Silvercraft is more focused on fishing and utility boats, and this is where Gulf Craft started. We don’t want to lose our heritage, so we still cater to those customers. However, the catamaran models are new to Silvercraft because it’s a popular hull for sport fishing, although these models have more luxury than most fishing boats. They have air-conditioning, a proper saloon, galley, a nice bathroom and so on.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

The Silvercraft 40 Lux continues Gulf Craft’s history of powercats

 

We have a history in catamarans. We built racing powercats in the late 1980s and built our catamaran yachts in the early and mid-1990s, although there wasn’t a big market for it as the materials were expensive.

Now the mentality towards catamarans has changed, and the materials are better, and that’s why you see a lot of people coming back to catamarans because of stability, fuel efficiency and space. We’re not only following the market; we have a background in this. We will have a factory dedicated to catamarans that will open next year.

 

Gulf Craft, Leader, Mohammed Alshaali, Championing the Gulf, Majesty, Nomad, Oryx, Silvercraft, motor yacht, superyachts, Cristiano Gatto, Abeer Alshaali, Phathom

Alshaali plays host on the Majesty 120

 

How do you feel when you look back at 40 years of Gulf Craft, having also had such a successful personal career?
I’m proud of what has been done. It’s not for me or my family; it’s for the team at Gulf Craft and for the country. I think we’ve shown we can create a world-class yacht builder. I think it’s a legacy for the UAE and I think Gulf Craft is part of the UAE story. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything else like Gulf Craft in the whole Middle East, a local company that manufactures a high-standard product exported around the world.
www.gulfcraftinc.com

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Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Sunreef reflects on two decades of super cats

Sunreef reflects on two decades of super cats

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As Sunreef Yachts celebrates its 20th anniversary, founder and President Francis Lapp looks at how the company’s focus on “superyacht DNA” helped it become the world leader in large, luxurious catamarans, a brand of choice for sports stars and a pioneer in green technology.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Already a successful businessman, Francis Lapp founded Sunreef in 2002

 

Sunreef’s decision to stage its 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) during this year’s Monaco Yacht Show seemed fitting. After all, last year, YCM had hosted a signing ceremony between Sunreef’s President Francis Lapp and Fernando Alonso as the latter commissioned a new 60 Sunreef Eco, before Rafa Nadal and Nico Rosberg had a table-tennis showdown for the Sunreef Ambassadors’ Cup at the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show.

 

The Polish builder’s relationships with high-profile owners and ambassadors appears to have evolved quite naturally, although their appointments have been steadily unveiled and highlighted the builder’s rapid expansion and evolution in recent years.

 

Nico Rosberg and Rafa Nadal on the latter’s 80 Sunreef Power

 

Nadal, who won his 22nd Grand Slam at this year’s French Open, had seen the Sunreef 80 sailing catamaran at the 2018 Cannes Yachting Festival, which inspired the tennis superstar to buy an 80 Sunreef Power, a model only unveiled the following year. In the summer of 2019, his order was announced by Sunreef before he joined the yard for a party at the Cannes Yachting Festival and the following summer, he received Great White in his native Mallorca.

 

Rosberg, a sustainability entrepreneur since retiring from F1 after winning the 2016 world title, was announced in 2020 as the ambassador for Sunreef Yachts’ Eco range of solar-power catamarans, with a particular focus on the sailing models, having tested the Sunreef 60’s ‘E’ electric version in Monaco and, more recently, the first Sunreef 80 Eco in Dubai.

 

Francis Lapp with Fernando Alonso after the two-time F1 world champion signed for a Sunreef 60 Eco

 

Alonso – a two-time F1 world champion and currently driving for Alpine – followed in 2021 when he ordered the first 60 Sunreef Power Eco, which will be among the first motor yacht models in the Eco range. And as if the celebrity roll call wasn’t long enough, professional explorer Mike Horn was announced this year as the ambassador of the builder’s new Explorer line of yachts, with designs already revealed for 40M and 50M models.

 

“We like to work closely with our ambassadors. Most of them found their way to Sunreef Yachts by simply looking for a boat that would meet their needs. The synergy we found with Fernando Alonso or Rafael Nadal is something that lets us express our brand spirit – we like competition, we are a dynamic company,” says Lapp, who was born in France and holds two passports, having obtained Polish citizenship in 2014.

 

Mike Horn at the Sunreef facility in Poland

 

“With Nico Rosberg we explore the potential of green technologies and highlight the importance of the electric revolution in yachting. Mike Horn helps us promote the Explorer range and encourages people to discover new destinations, as he’s the best person to voice that kind of message. It’s all about finding the right synergies.”

 

A FRENCHMAN IN GDANSK

Following particularly rapid growth in the past four years, Lapp now oversees a company with 2,000 employees split quite evenly across the company’s original facility in the historic Gdansk Shipyard and its new site further east along the Martwa Wisla river. In addition, Sunreef is currently developing a third site in the United Arab Emirates.

 

An electrical engineer, motorsport fan and keen rally driver, Lapp first visited Poland in 1991 to compete in an off-road championship before moving to Warsaw the following year to further his career.

 

Lapp is both a French and Polish citizen

 

“Post-communist Poland was a country full of great opportunities,” says Lapp, now 64. “When I moved to Warsaw, my friends in France were surprised. They couldn’t understand my decision, but I knew this was my chance to evolve as Poland offered a fresh, dynamic business environment with plenty of room for growth and talented workforce.”

 

Lapp’s company developed electrical equipment for global brands, and later designed and installed electrical, sanitary and air-conditioning systems for large industrial facilities. He also developed an interest in sailing, first with racing catamarans, before developing a side business chartering cruising catamarans in the Indian Ocean.

 

As clients asked for larger, more luxurious catamarans, Lapp couldn’t find what he was looking for, so decided to build his own after recognising a gap in the pleasure boating market.

 

Sunreef’s first shed at the Gdansk Shipyard

 

“Back then, pleasure catamarans were very basic. When I bought my first power catamarans for my charter business, I realised their quality and finish could be improved. I started to ask around and searched for shipyards that could build me a customised multihull, but nobody wanted to do it, so I decided to build on my own,” he says.

 

“The idea from the start was to inject superyacht DNA into twin-hull yachts. I found my own market gap and introduced a new type of boat – a luxury catamaran. We started a trend.”

 

Lapp founded Sunreef in 2002 after finding a suitable production facility at the historic Gdansk Shipyard, where Lech Walesa – also an electrician – famously led a strike then negotiations between workers and the government in 1980, leading to the Solidarity movement and the fall of communism by 1989 before he was elected President the following year. Walesa has been a good supporter of Sunreef, appearing at the brand’s events on multiple occasions.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Sunreef organised the Pomorskie Rendez-Vous near the Gdansk Shipyard

 

“After the political changes in Poland, the Gdansk Shipyard was in a difficult position with many workers being laid off,” Lapp says. “The place needed new energy and I like to think we breathed new life into the docks.”

 

Lapp admits building there is both ‘a privilege and a challenge’, as the pride in constructing yachts in such an historic shipyard is balanced by restrictions on modernising or upgrading the facilities due to the site’s heritage status.

 

“Many buildings are monuments, so we have to adapt to the existing infrastructure,” says Lapp, who decided to expand and build a new shipyard a few years ago after exhausting capacity at the Gdansk Shipyard.

 

FIRST AFTER FIRST

In 2003, Sunreef launched its first yacht, the Sunreef 74 Che, which was the first luxury oceangoing catamaran of that size with a flybridge. Lapp proudly showed the 74-footer at the Monaco Yacht Show, where both catamarans and Polish-built luxury yachts were an unfamiliar sight.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

In 2010, Sunreef launched the 102 Ipharra, the world’s first double-deck sailing cat

 

“Launching the first Sunreef 74 was obviously a big moment,” he says. “At the time, boat building was a kind of hobby for me, but it quickly grew into a business once I realised the potential. The Sunreef 74 was the world’s first luxury sail cat and on top of that, she had a flybridge – an industry-first in the world of multihulls.”

 

More world firsts followed. In 2008, the company launched the 70ft power catamaran Jambo, the world’s first double-deck powercat.

 

Having developed 25m-plus carbon masts, Sunreef unveiled two huge models in 2010: the Sunreef 102 Ipharra, the world’s first double-deck sailing cat, and the Sunreef 114 Che, the world’s biggest sloop-rigged catamaran and what Lapp calls the company’s entry into the ‘monohull-dominated world of superyachts’.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

The Sunreef 114 Che was the world’s biggest sloop-rigged catamaran

 

“Sunreef’s key has always been the innovative mindset. We started out by basically inventing a new type of yacht and kept innovating all the way. We were the first to come up with double-deck cats, aft garages, folding masts and so many other solutions. I think this is what distinguishes us the most.”

 

For about a decade from 2008-2017, Sunreef’s most popular sailing and powercat models were in the 58-74ft range, with sales to Asia including the Sunreef 70 Feng to China in 2013 and the Supreme 68 Eagle Wings and Sunreef 62 Annette delivered to Singapore in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The builder’s launches in 2017 also included the one-off Sunreef 88 Double Deck.

 

NEW BEGINNINGS

Launched under the ‘New Beginnings’ banner, the company’s current range of sailing models was first seen in 2018 with the Sunreef 60 and Sunreef 80, before the first units of the 50 and 70 followed in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

 

The popular Sunreef 80

 

Remarkably, the Sunreef 80 has proved the most popular of the four models, underlining Lapp’s focus on large catamarans. Likewise, the 80 Sunreef Power – which premiered at Cannes in 2019 – is the most popular of the current range of powercats, which also includes 60 and 70 models. A blue-hulled, three-cabin 80 Sunreef Power for a China-based client was launched in 2020.

 

“I felt we needed to reassess our offer and create a whole new range of power and sail yachts, which have proved bestsellers and led to our further growth,” Lapp says. “These models are also the base of our Eco range of electric solar cats, which has been another big step forward for us.”

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Kokomo, an 80 Sunreef Power

 

It’s also worth emphasising that Sunreef’s powercats are built on different hulls to the sailing models, and are notably wider. For example, the 80 Sunreef Power is 23.95m long with a 12m beam, while the Sunreef 80 sailing model is 24.4m long and has a 11.5m beam.

 

ECO FUTURE

At Cannes in 2019, the builder revealed the Sunreef 60 E electric sailing cat, as the fully fledged Eco range was being developed behind the scenes. This groundbreaking series offers a wide range of green technology and materials that can be implemented on the existing ‘New Beginnings’ models.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Marie-Joseph, the first Sunreef 80 Eco

 

The most obvious and arguably most innovative technology is the solar panels, which have been developed in-house, are less than a millimetre thick and can be curved to wrap around parts of the yacht.

 

As well as being used on flat surfaces like a hard top, this ‘solar skin’ can also be integrated into the hull sides, superstructure and even the mast of sailing yachts, as shown on the first Sunreef 80 Eco, Marie-Joseph, that appeared at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival and Monaco Yacht Show. The first Sunreef 60 Eco was also launched earlier this year and began cruising this summer.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

The 80 Sunreef Power Eco

 

Optional power-generating green tech includes hydrogeneration, wind turbines and high-performance kites, while the Eco range’s other highlights include lithium battery packs described by Sunreef as the lightest in the industry, an ultra-economic air-conditioning system and smart energy management. The result is silent, emission-free cruising and reduced running costs and maintenance.

 

The Eco range also offers the option to use sustainable materials not only for the décor and finishing materials but, with the likes of basalt fibre and linen fibre, also in the hulls, superstructures and furniture. Lapp has been overwhelmed by the response to the range.

 

“Most of the enquiries we get today are for Eco yachts. People realise they offer so many advantages. The environmental aspect is obvious, but Eco yachts also represent a new philosophy of enjoying time at sea. Once you try an electric yacht, you probably won’t go back to diesel engines,” he says.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

The 60 Sunreef Power Eco

 

“The silence and the absence of fumes and vibrations take the cruising experience to another level. When you’re in a quiet bay, the last thing you want to hear is your genset running. In the coming years, I expect even more interest. Electric boats will become a new standard.”

 

BIG IS BEAUTIFUL

Sunreef has also been challenging itself with the scale of its boats, launching the first 100 Sunreef Power late last year, with the yacht featuring on the cover of Yacht Style Issue 65, this year’s ‘Multihulls Issue’.

 

Earlier this year, the builder announced the sale of a second hull that will also feature twin 1,300hp engines but will be a bespoke version distinguished by a white hull and superstructure that includes an enclosed flybridge. The company wants to go bigger and can, as evidenced by the fact it can fit the hull of the 49M Power at the builder’s new purpose-built facility, which has dedicated halls for superyachts.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

The 100 Sunreef Power was on the cover of Issue 65

 

The company has released designs for the Sunreef 100 sailing model – based on a slightly slimmer hull than the 100 Sunreef Power – and a 150ft Sunreef MM 460 Cat designed with Malcolm McKeon. More recent concepts include the Sunreef 43M as well as an Eco version of the 140ft sailing model, whose appealing features include a 50ft-plus beam and stunning three-sided ‘ocean lounge’ beach club.

 

Always looking ahead, Sunreef has this year revealed its plans to develop an Explorer line, following the release of 40M Explorer and 50M Explorer concepts. Billed as the ‘next generation of expedition superyachts’, Sunreef’s new Explorer series of powercats will feature a shallow draft, enormous storage capacity and vast entertainment areas.

 

“Nowadays, luxury is about finding that quiet spot, somewhere far away from all the crowds. It’s about truly getting to know the place you’re visiting,” Lapp says.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

The 50M Sunreef Explorer

 

“To do this, you need a safe, well-equipped yacht that will never fail, and catamarans seem to be the perfect choice for exploration. They offer inherent stability, great storage capacity and wide aft decks. Furthermore, every system is doubled because of the twin-hull structure. That’s why we came up with an entire series of Explorer yachts.”

 

NEW FACILITIES

Lapp says Sunreef’s in-house control over all aspects of a yacht’s production has enabled the company to quickly build and deliver its new models and subsequent production, which has helped retain clients and attract new customers.

 

“Because we rely on in-house work, we’re fast, so the time to market is fairly short with us,” Lapp says. “We carry out every stage of the process ourselves, so have the means to craft our ideas into reality on time and in sync with customer expectations. This is how we keep pole position.”

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Sunreef’s new facility in Gdansk

 

Sunreef has managed to accommodate its astonishing rising demand because of its new 80,000sqm riverside site that has enabled them to design and develop a purpose-built facility, a world away from the red-brick halls in the Gdansk Shipyard.

 

Design, engineering, production, finishing and carpentry are all handled in the brand-new facility, with the office building and the covered production facilities already covering 15,000sqm.

 

As well as superyacht halls big enough to build models up to 50m, the high-tech production facilities include an impressive carpentry and CNC workshop, plus a vast, brand-new paint shop with advanced technology including light, humidity and temperature control.

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Sunreef has about 2,000 employees

 

Meanwhile, the offices at the entrance to the shipyard neighbour one line of production halls and are a short walk to the other. The three-storey office building has almost a Google office vibe, with young staff in casual clothing working and conversing in an open-plan design, with big windows, sleep pods and even free fruit.

 

“The new facility is simply a different world. We still rely on inhouse production, but now we’ve taken it to another level with new machinery, manufacturing halls and bridge cranes. In addition, our offices and manufacturing site are interconnected, which means our engineers and designers have easy access to the production,” Lapp says.

 

“For the offices, we wanted to create open spaces where people can feel at ease. At the same time, there are many spots in the office where people can focus on tasks requiring silence and concentration. I believe we created a good environment where all the departments can communicate and interact easily.”

 

Sunreef, Yachts, 20th, anniversary, founded, 2002, Poland, Gdansk, Francis Lapp, Gdansk Shipyard, Lech Walesa, catamarans, sailing, power, Eco, Explorer, Rafa Nadal, Nico Rosberg, Mike Horn, Fernando Alonso, Monaco Yacht Show, Cannes Yachting Festival

Lapp at the new facility

 

Sunreef does have the ongoing challenge of sourcing workers and has had to recruit from neighbouring countries for several years. Lapp says the two shipyards are on a constant search for more staff, while there are plans to acquire more land to supplement the new Gdansk site and provide more production halls and a warehouse.

 

Meanwhile, Sunreef recently added Singapore-based Hong Seh Marine to its dealer network and is investing over US$27 million in its Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) site in northern UAE, its first overseas production facility and one with good access to the Gulf and Asia-Pacific countries.

 

“We have a growing number of enquiries coming from the Middle East, Asia and Australia,” Lapp says. “Expanding to RAK will help us build a stronger bond with those markets. In a longer perspective, we plan to build every model of the Sunreef range there, including the Eco series.”

www.sunreef-yachts.com

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Water Revolution Foundation, Superyachts, Sustainability,

Water Revolution Foundation: Driving Superyacht Sustainability

Water Revolution Foundation: Driving Superyacht Sustainability

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Robert Van Tol, Executive Director of Water Revolution Foundation, speaks to Yacht Style about the organisation’s efforts to neutralise the superyacht industry’s ecological footprint.

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Water Revolution Foundation, Superyachts, Sustainability,

Louis van Beurden (Treasurer), Dr Vienna Eleuteri (Vice Chair), Robert Van Tol (Executive Director), Henk De Vries (Chair), Martin Redmayne (Board Member) and Philippe Briand (Board Member)

 

What led to the creation of the Water Revolution Foundation?

The founders wanted to get like-minded yachting companies together to work on tackling the industry’s environmental impact and reducing the use of valuable natural resources. With its affluent clientele, yachting is in a very strategic position to drive change and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

 

Being innovative, often even custom building, and with a strong passion for the water and exploring the beauty of nature, yachting has all ingredients to become a force for positive change and a steward of our beloved oceans. The realisation and utilisation of this position was missing, so Water Revolution Foundation was founded to provide a collaborative platform to drive sustainability.

 

How does the organisation collaborate with other yachting bodies also working towards setting standards on environmental and operational issues?

We naturally seek collaboration where it fits. We work closely with SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association), which has permanent consultancy status to represent the interest of the superyacht industry at IMO (International Maritime Organization).

 

We are in contact with ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations), PYA (Professional Yachting Association), LYBRA (Leading Yacht Brokers Association), Yacht Club de Monaco and other organisations. Wherever we see fit, we look for and welcome collaboration.

 

How is the Foundation appealing to superyacht builders and owners?

Yachting is a specific niche within the maritime sector. Where commercial shipping mostly looks at the economic ROI, yachting has different drivers for its clients to purchase a yacht and how to approach the reduction of environmental impact. We believe rewarding those who invest in more environmentally friendly technology is more effective and a positive approach that we need as an emotionally driven, niche sector.

 

It all starts with measuring, which is why we launched our Yacht Assessment Tool, a software tool customised for large yachts that’s able to assess the entire environmental impact of these complex products. It’s based on life-cycle assessment (LCA), so it not only assesses the impact when it operates but includes the build, maintenance and refit stages a yacht goes through in its life cycle.

 

By comparing and rating yachts on their environmental credentials, we expect the incentives to be worth the investments and that clients will want to go far beyond only fuel savings. It will hopefully lead to a new summum of luxury, sustainable luxury.

 

Water Revolution Foundation, Superyachts, Sustainability,

Damen Yachting (SeaXplorer 77 La Datcha pictured) is an Anchor Partner

 

We’re working on expanding the list of benefits for yachts with a better rating. However, we also take care of the existing fleet by providing the tools to scientifically assess and improve the yachts, to be upgraded on the rating index.

 

With our newly launched Database of Sustainable Solutions, we also aim to collect, verify and promote existing sustainable solutions that everyone should be aware of and should implement, and where new R&D budgets can further build upon. These solutions are expected to provide concrete ways to upgrade the yachts, showing how all our tools are interlinked.

 

What has been the feedback on the Yacht Assessment Tool?

Assessing provides insights to what the impact factually is and where most of this impact comes from. This provides the basic information on how to improve with the quickest and most significant reduction. It also provides for a re-thinking process of choices, such as in build materials, onboard systems, interior materials and energy load.

 

The first success lies in the conversations and reconsiderations that are coming from the assessment and the data collection that’s required, which wasn’t a topic two years ago. This will lead to more conscious and better-informed decisions, both for the industry, such as designers and builders, and for clients and their teams.

 

How was the Foundation’s superyacht designers roundtable earlier this year?

Yacht designers are major influencers of any new project because they’re involved so early on, when a lot is still possible. Recognising this shared responsibility and especially opportunity strengthens the group to make forward-thinking proposals to their clients. Yet they also recognised what support they need to take on this role. Sharing knowledge and solutions is the way forward, so we’re looking for regular editions of this roundtable, which started spontaneously.

 

Water Revolution Foundation, Superyachts, Sustainability,

Sanlorenzo (62Steel pictured) is another Anchor Partner

 

How is the Yacht Environmental Transparency Index progressing?

We have been working on YETI since March 2019. It was initiated to better showcase effects of new technology proposed for new projects and to reward the choice of these solutions. This index became our first joint industry project, with 11 leading shipyards, four naval architecture companies and three knowledge institutes collaborating to develop a very sophisticated rating system for large yachts.

 

Yachts are very complex and we again need to take the life-cycle assessment approach. We are making good progress and will start testing the beta calculator with a peer-review group. It’s crucial for the sector to make and be able to show significant progress. The yachting sector is under public scrutiny all the time, so any effort in sustainability needs to be real, effective and scientifically sound, as well as supported by the industry. We expect to present YETI 1.0 in November.

 

What else are you working on?

We’re launching our first ocean conservation project. Yachting is intrinsically connected with the oceans and directly depends on their well-being. The oceans should become major stakeholders of the yachting industry and be looked after. It’s the most crucial natural resource, for humanity but also for yachting. The yachting community can take their passion for the seas to a whole new level and become true ocean stewards and an example for sustainable ocean use.

 

Has the Foundation had to ‘change the goalposts’ for any reasons since it was founded?

The support for our mission and work has only grown since our founding, despite the Covid-19 challenges. We have not adjusted our course; we have only reconfirmed our commitment to it. It’s a collective journey and a steep learning curve for all involved. The success lies in the fact we started within the yachting sector, so we have its best interests at heart, while being ambitious and strict on what needs to happen to become much more sustainable and future proof. We were founded to help the industry become more sustainable and that has been appreciated as well as effective.

 

We remain a lean organisation and challenge new partners to formulate a project within their field of expertise and where they see the need for improvement. We can dedicate 100 per cent of their contribution to that project if it meets the criteria and is in line with our mission. In the end, we are a collaborative platform, and initiatives for improvements are most effective when they come bottom up.

 

Does Water Revolution Foundation have any plans to expand its guidance outside the superyacht sector, to builders and owners of smaller yachts?

Plans, yes. Ultimately, we would like to see yachting becoming what Formula One is for the automotive sector – an arena for prototypes, hubs for innovation, pushing for technological solutions and leading the way towards a sustainable maritime sector, in harmony with the oceans it sails on. Size does not define that; ambition and vision does.

http://www.waterrevolutionfoundation.org

 

WATER REVOLUTION FOUNDATION

Water Revolution Foundation, Superyachts, Sustainability,

Robert Van Tol, Executive Director

 

Founded in 2018, Water Revolution Foundation is an independent, international, science-driven, non-profit organisation started from within the superyacht industry that’s taking the lead to neutralise the sector’s ecological footprint and preserve the world’s precious oceans. The Board and the Foundation’s partners see an urgent need to accelerate the implementation of sustainable and innovative technology in the superyacht industry to lower its impact and save the world’s oceans. Water Revolution Foundation’s mission is to drive sustainability in the superyacht industry through collaboration and innovation.

 

Anchor Partners: Abeking & Rasmussen, AkzoNobel, Benetti, La Ciotat Shipyards, Damen Yachting, Feadship, Heesen, De Koninggroep, Lürssen, MB92, Oceanco, Rybovich, Sanlorenzo

Note: The original article appeared in Yacht Style issue 59

YACHT STYLE Issue 59 Out Now

Yacht Style’s annual Multihulls Issue highlights new models from the world’s leading cruising catamaran builders and features reviews of the Aquila 70, Lagoon 55 and Bali 4.8, as well as MCY 76 Skylounge and Ferretti Yachts 500, while Gulf Craft Chairman Mohammed Alshaali, Lee Marine and Water Revolution Foundation are also in the spotlight.

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