Coronavirus: Dubai-based luxury yacht builder sees rising interest from buyers

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Gulf Craft, the Dubai luxury yacht builder is seeing greater interest from buyers, after falling sales last year on the back of COVID-19, the company’s chairman, Mohamed Hussein al-Shaali, said on Tuesday.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, luxury businesses in general, including yachts, were devastated,” he told Al Arabiya English. “Once the lockdown was imposed, and new safety measures, such as social distancing were implemented, people realized that yachts and yachting could be a safe haven,” he added.

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For potential buyers, the ability to isolate with their families or friends on a yacht and feel much safer was appealing, he explained.

Chairman of Gulf Craft, Mohammed H. al-Shaali (Supplied: Gulf Craft)
Chairman of Gulf Craft, Mohammed H. al-Shaali (Supplied: Gulf Craft)

Gulf Craft expects to see recovery in 2021 and is optimistic for the future. “We see a lot more demand and inquiries for yachts and boats,” he revealed.

The company this month announced that it had completed the maiden voyage of the Majesty 175, a luxury $35 million megayacht.

With growing interest in the market to buy yachts, and different boat types, Gulf Craft is maintaining book orders to local, regional and international clients. Al-Shaali explained that the company is in the fortunate position that it can offer a wide variety of boats to prospective customers. “It depends on the budget of each client.”

“Our order book for smaller boats between 31 foot and 40 foot is full for 2021,” he said. “Our plan for this year’s Dubai International Boat Show, unlike in previous years, is to display a number of small boats,” he said.

Their range of superyachts, above 30 meters are also attracting buyers. “As for our medium size yacht range, we have a slow but steady order book,” he added.

During the downturn in business because of the pandemic, the company took the opportunity to improve and develop new designs in small and large boats, al-Shaali said.

Gulf Craft's Majesty 175 sea trial (Supplied: Gulf Craft)
Gulf Craft's Majesty 175 sea trial (Supplied: Gulf Craft)

Regarding tackling the COVID19 problem facing boat builders, and yachting enthusiasts, al-Shaali said that “Temperature Controlled Air” units are installed allowing repeatedly refreshed air to remain clean.

“We also support the yacht’s crew with setting-up a hygiene management plan, including safety measures against the spread of viruses,” he said.

Buyers can customize their superyachts and megayachts, but within certain limits.

“It all depends at what stage the yacht is in when the client makes the purchase,” he said. “At Gulf Craft, we usually encourage customers not to over customize their yacht so that it maintains its market value.”

Commenting on the old saying that the two best day in a boater’s life is the day he or she buys a boat, and the other is when they sell it, al-Shaali agreed with this, but argued that it’s only because the sailor “is looking to buy a bigger one.”

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