In this series of articles, we feature some of the industry’s most well-known names to learn more about each of their daily tasks and what the future holds in store for them and the companies they represent. In this episode, we catch up with Rose Damen, Commercial Director of Yachting for Dutch yacht building shipyards, Amels and Damen.
Have you seen a change in the demographics of AMELS clients over the years?
Our clients are often very family-oriented, but we see a change in both more younger families acquiring Amels yachts, as well as clients wanting larger yachts with room for more grandchildren. We also see more women owning Amels yachts. It is no secret that we have a very strong presence in Eastern European countries including Russia and Ukraine. We are a market leader in that part of the world and there is, of course, a lot of business over there. In the past, almost 75% of our clients came from that region. In more recent times, we have diversified our client base as we prefer not to rely heavily on a single market, however, this market remains very close to our hearts. We have a lot of repeat clients from the region who have become very close to the Amels family, so maintaining a strong name in that region will remain an important focus for us.
Elsewhere in the world, we have seen a growing interest and a generally strong market in the US and from the west coast in particular. Latin America and Asia (China) are also two vibrant markets for us with several clients from both these regions.
With the SeaXplorer concept as a brand, will such a product be able to be completed at a Damen facility outside of Holland like we are seeing with certain YSV projects? Or are these considered Dutch-only projects?
Damen’s SeaXplorer team is fully based in the Netherlands and takes care of all the design, engineering and project management, but Damen has also developed very capable facilities around the world. If we take the two projects, the 65 and the 75-metre SeaXplorer projects that are currently under construction as an example – these are having their hulls built at the Damen Galati shipyard in Romania, where we also built the hull of the 83-metre Amels yacht Here Comes the Sun. But the finishing of these two vessels, including the luxury interior outfitting, will take place at the Damen facility in Vlissingen. Are we able to do this elsewhere, as you mentioned? Yes, we are. Another option would be the Damen facility in Antalya, Turkey which is led by a very capable team. It’s a matter of brand prestige, and having the vessel completed in the Netherlands does add a certain value to the product for some clients.
We see the Limited Editions range as our bread and butter; a range of versatile superyachts that have been expertly engineered and comes customised according to each of our clients’ tastes. The Amels shipyard operations are very well set up for dealing with the construction of this successful range along with any custom projects, whatever the size may be. Here Comes the Sun, for example, does fall under the Amels Limited Editions range of vessels, but being the first of her kind and such a large yacht at that, she comes very close to being a custom vessel. During her construction process, the yard proved more than capable of working on a project of that size and detail, while continuing all other build aspects of the LE range without a problem.
From the very beginning, we have been working very successfully with Tim Heywood as the designer of the Limited Editions range. The idea with this was to retain a familiar Amels exterior style throughout the range that has been drawn by the hands of one of our industry’s icons while offering clients complete freedom in their choice of interior designer. Tim’s designs have a proven pedigree and longevity that is very difficult to achieve, and that adds a lot of value for our clients. Of course we always listen to the vision of each owner for their yacht’s exterior styling options, however, the range will never consist out of too many different sizes and designs as we want to focus our research and engineering resources on continuously improving each technical platform in the range.
How has your role within the Damen Group changed since you joined the company?
I worked for eight years in London in finance and decided to switch industries to shipbuilding after completing my MBA. Initially, I started out in Damen’s naval division, which was an interesting experience where I was dealing with governments during these projects. I then later moved to the superyacht side of the business. Yacht building makes up around 15% of the Group’s business and initially, I was more focused on the sales side. Today my portfolio has diversified a lot and I am now also involved in marketing as well as management where we set out a strategy for the next five to 10 years. Within the Damen family, I am certainly the one who has really focused on the yachting side of the business and so far it has proved to be a very enjoyable challenge.