Insight: New Horizons at Moonen with Johan Dubbelman

Written by Vivian Hendriksz

Appointed Moonen’s new CEO nearly a year ago, Johan Dubbelman has been busy strengthening the yard’s business strategy, investing in a new sales and marketing team and overseeing the successful delivery of the yard’s latest superyacht, Brigadoon. An exciting time for the Dutch shipyard here we catch up with Dubbelman a year into his new role. Brigadoon in CroatiaYou took over the helm at Moonen as CEO nearly a year ago - tell us about your business strategy for the yard.  

I’ve been part of the Moonen team since I graduated from my studies in naval architecture and mechanical engineering - which was more than 15 years ago now!  I like to say that this is the start of Moonen 2.0 - we are shaping the next generation of the yard. Moonen went through a difficult period in the past, when the shipyard was taken over by its majority shareholder at the time. But we pulled through and when I was asked to take over as CEO, I could not say no. Now we have a new sales and marketing team, which consists of young, fresh and enthusiastic employees and make a good combination with the loyal workers we already have. The new team is focusing on strengthening our customer service, so we can address our clients’ wishes before, during and after the build. Johan Dubbelman - CEO Moonen Photo: Moonen Moonen recently delivered the 36.3m Brigadoon, the first in the Martinique line. Tell us about the inaugural vessel. 

When the current shareholder took over Moonen he wanted to start speculative building in order to reduce delivery times. We were given a brief for a nautical, timeless design, with a shallow draft. As the shareholder also owns a steel company, he wanted us to start using special steels. So Brigadoon’s hull is constructed using high tensile steel, which reduces the weight of the steel construction by 12%. The owner of Brigadoon did not come into the picture until earlier this year when she was almost ready. But he was a very enthusiastic client, who noticed the changes within Moonen and really appreciated our craftsmanship and Dutch quality.  

Following the success of Brigadoon, Moonen is working on her sistership - how closely will they resemble each other?

Brigadoon’s sistership will be ready for delivery in 2020. Following the overwhelming positive replies we received on the interior decoration and styling of Brigadoon, we decided to work with London-based design firm Studio Indigo to create her interior design from scratch.  Brigadoon In MonacoPhoto: Bruno Buisson / SuperYacht TimesLooking to the future, what is your vision for Moonen for the next 3 to 5 years?  

We aim to stay within our market bracket of 30 to 50-metre superyachts. I am confident that we will be back in the top three yards in our size range soon. At a certain point in time, I would like to start building three to four yachts a year again. However, I also want to ensure that Moonen is able to fully service their clients, which is also why I want to extend our services to refit in the future. Our service network does not believe in dealerships and we prefer having the same people servicing the yacht who build it in the first place to guarantee the best quality.  

Mike Fisher - Founder Studio Indigo
A word from the owner of Brigadoon, Mike Fisher, Creative Director of Studio Indigo 
“Working with Moonen on Brigadoon was fantastic! They have a history, they’ve had some hard times, but they are very passionate about what they do. The thing that sealed the deal for me was the feeling of family among Moonen owners. Every time we met another owner it felt like family - you felt like you wanted to go up and introduce yourself. If owners still have that type of connection to the yard, then it really says something about the company and its values.” 

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