UAE’s Gulf Craft sails into exclusive global megayacht club

In the rarified world of the ultra-rich, you can never have too much of a good thing.

So for those who regard a 47 metre long luxury yacht as too undersized to be taken seriously, the UAE boat builder Gulf Craft has the answer. The company has just announced plans to enter the exclusive club of megayachts manufacturers – those that build boats of more than 50 metres in length.

The announcement was made at the Monaco Yacht Show, where Ajman-based Gulf Craft revealed the new concept designs for its 61m Majesty 200 and the 53m Majesty 175, both to be bult to order and to the owner’s specific customisations. Both ships top the firm’s current largest, the 47m Majesty 155, which you could walk away with for a baseline price of US$25 million at last year’ prices.

The company will join the likes of the Dutch firm Feadship, which builds megayachts of up to 100m long, and Lürssen, a German family firm that makes luxury craft up to 150m in length.

Gulf Craft, which was founded in 1982, says the Majesty 200 is its most ambitious move into the world of megayachts, and will be built using the latest engineering technology. Meanwhile, the Majesty 175 will be built using advanced composites, expanding the possibilities of using such material for the production of megayachts.

The designs of both the Majesty 200 and Majesty 175 include an abundant list of eye-popping features, including retractable helipads, opulent interiors, beach clubs and extensive lounge and entertainment areas.

“Gulf Craft has grown and evolved with its customers – we identified the milestones that lie ahead and set out to realise them. Yet we did this while simultaneously listening to our clients, learning from them along the way, and using these insights as the source of inspiration behind each one of our creations,” said Mohammed Hussein Al Shaali, the chairman of Gulf Craft.

“Our aim is to continue redefining superyacht production using advanced composites to a size once thought impossible, all the while creating bespoke cruising experiences for our customers. Our ceaseless determination has led to this very moment, one where research and development meets megayacht design.”

Erwin Bamps, Gulf Craft’s chief executive, said the decision to venture into the world of megayachts is a natural progression for the company, which for more than three decades has been helping seafarers with deep pockets the chance to explore the world’s waters with its expanding portfolio of oceangoing yachts.

“Gulf Craft’s spirit has always been one of great ambition,” said Mr Bamps. “There were challenges to the size of yachts we can build, but we strived to overcome these limitations – in the last three years alone we successfully launched the Majesty 155, the Majesty 135, and the Majesty 122, and we have received multiple successive orders for each.”

The increse in personal fortunes also spurs the boat builder to offer bigger craft. Global private financial wealth rose to US$168 trillion in 2015, although the growth rate hit a “speed bump” in 2015, slowing to 5.2 per cent from 7.5 per cent in 2014 as weaker financial markets and stalling growth weighed on most regions, according to the BCG annual wealth report 2016. However, global financial wealth is expected to continue to rise over the next few years, it adds, hitting $224tn in 2020.

“Today, rising private wealth combined with growing worldwide interest in the yachting lifestyle, and a strong desire to spend more time on water, is creating an emerging demand for products that can deliver the ultimate luxury cruising experiences in both engineering and design,” said Mr Bamps. “And now, with the introduction of the Majesty 200 and the Majesty 175, we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, redefining the possibilities of yachting, and transforming our customers’ most lavish seafaring aspirations into reality.”

The stuff of mere mortals’ dreams, the firm’s new luxury giants of the sea will only really be on the radar of billionaires and royalty. Infact, with its foray into multimillion-dollar megayachts, one can imagine Gulf Craft soon uttering the refrain: “Here is your Majesty 200, your Majesty …”

chnelson@thenational.ae

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Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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