Gulf Craft, the UAE-based builder of mega and superyachts, sold five vessels for a total of Dh85 million at the Dubai International Boat Show that ended March 3, and says sales will probably pick up over coming months.
"Despite the challenges brought upon by new regulations and taxes that were implemented on the manufacturing industry, Gulf Craft has managed to create its own space to grow by delivering unprecedented quality," says Notis Menelaou, vice president of sales at Gulf Craft. "We not only continue to invest greatly in research and development, but also gain a lot from our thirty-six years of experience. Every time we move in a new direction, we keep our customer's requirements at the forefront. This ... helps us to develop premium crafts that are trend-setting."
The privately owned company is headquartered in Ajman with four boatyards spread across the UAE. The company is celebrating its 36th year with plans to build a 175ft mega-yacht soon and a 200ft vessel in about three years.
"Building yachts in excess of 200ft is a totally different manufacturing process," said chief executive Erwin Bamps told The National at last year's boat show.
He said such yachts were made from steel and aluminium, not glass fibre, which requires a new skill and a new team.
“It is not just the new materials and the new skill set, it is the infrastructure of the company that will change. We will need dry docks built and sheds big enough to hold and build the structures."
Bolstering its presence as the largest exhibitor at this year's edition of the 26-year-old show, Gulf Craft revealed three global premieres to the market, the tri-deck Majesty 140 superyacht, the "owner-manageable" Majesty 62 family yacht and the limousine Touring 48 vessel.
While the Majesty 140 generated a lot of buzz at the show with its eye-catching revolutionary design and exterior lines as well as opulent interior, the elegantly styled Majesty 62 also attracted the attention of yachting enthusiasts "who enjoy cruising with friends and family, as the new high-tech yet user-friendly yacht can be handled by its owner without the need for extra crew", the company says.
Gulf Craft's yachts and boats drew the interest of customers from the Arabian Gulf region, Europe, Russia, Australia to South East Asia and it received many sales leads for the yachts on display, especially the award-winning Majesty 100, the firm adds.
With a range stretching from the Oryx 27 sport cruiser to the Majesty 175 megayacht, Gulf Craft has what it claims is the widest product range under one roof. Another key factor that sets it apart from other manufacturers, it says, is the way it adheres to the changing strict regulations globally, "which many major shipyards cannot match, thereby gaining the competitive edge".
For the first time in its history, the Dubai International Boat Show was set against the spectacular backdrop of the newest leisure marine destination in the UAE, the Dubai Canal. The event attracted over 26,000 visitors from 151 nationalities, highlighting its standing among the world's top marine events.