Yacht owners turned yacht builders: The story of Alpha Custom Yachts

Written by Kayla Dowling

To paraphrase an age-old proverb: necessity is the mother of innovation. This adage captures, in essence, what motivated brothers Roberto and Jorge Aboumrad to found Alpha Custom Yachts. The Aboumrad brothers, longtime yacht owners and veterans of the industry, desired alternate layouts and a truly user-friendly experience on board, because for them, yachting was about building a connection with friends, family and the sea. The pair were fed up with not being able to produce a yacht to reflect their needs and they decided to take matters into their own hands. SuperYacht Times sat down with Roberto Aboumrad of Alpha Custom Yachts to discuss the origin of the brand, what it’s doing differently, and where it's headed. Roberto and Jorge AboumradThe Aboumrad brothers’ entrepreneurial spirit did not begin with Alpha Custom Yachts. In 1989, when Roberto and Jorge saw how underdeveloped the yachting market was in Mexico, they saw a gap that needed to be filled. They bought a few boats and successfully sold all of them to Mexican clients, realising that there was a market for American and European-built yachts in Mexico. They previously represented Azimut and Benetti and today, boast a strong partnership with Ferretti. Fast-forward to 2017, when the pair embarked on their first custom-build, a 47-metre superyacht, conceived in collaboration with H2 Yacht Design. From here, Alpha Custom Yachts was born.Alpha Spritz 102 yacht cruising Throughout their careers as long time owners of yachts in the 30-metre size range, the two have come to learn that traditional yacht design did not necessarily reflect the ways in which owners actually used their yachts. Roberto commented that this dissonance stems from the ways in which yachts are designed: independently of those who’ve lived on board.Alpha Spritz 102 yacht aft deck Drawing from their own experiences and listening to clients has helped to inform subsequent projects by Alpha Custom Yachts: “Due to my experience in the yachting industry, I knew exactly what I wanted for myself. As I couldn’t get what I desired from standard production shipyards, I decided to build my own.”In addition to his personal experience on board, as a yacht broker he saw the benefit in building relationships with clients to better understand how they used their yachts: “I pay a lot of attention to the way my clients live on board. I understood what they wanted, the areas on board they found most valuable as well as the areas that they barely used. Filling a clear gap in the market based on the unanswered feedback of yacht owners was key to the foundation of Alpha Custom Yachts.”Alfresco 125 yacht deckThe client perspective was not only crucial to the establishment of Alpha Custom Yachts’, but is a core aspect to how the brand continues to operate. Clients in fact are, according to Roberto, the builder’s “biggest asset”. Listening to customer demands and prioritising the client perspective is what Roberto claims to be one of the standout aspects of Alpha Custom Yachts: “We listen intently and pay attention to our customers needs, with their satisfaction is our number one priority. The process we follow is personal and built on trust to ensure that we deliver on what we offer.“

Alpha Custom Yachts currently has multiple superyachts in-build, with expected deliveries later this year, including a few units of the 30.78-metre Alpha Spritz 102, a 33-metre Spritz 110, two 38-metre Alpha 125 and an Alpha 145. Within the Alpha fleet, they’ve been able to implement a multitude – of what some would call radical – design elements. Each of the superyachts has been built with comfort front and centre, and has been outfitted with floating walls, floors and ceilings, which have been designed with multiple levels and insulation to reduce noise, vibrations and increase overall comfort on board. The pair has reimagined spaces on board, to reflect clients’ needs: “People with much larger triple-deck yachts rarely use internal dining and saloon. People spend all the time in the sky lounge and flybridge. That’s why we prioritised these spaces in our yachts, such as the 30.78-metre Alpha Spritz 102, which sports a flybridge that you would only find on a yacht 15-metres longer.”Alpha Custom Yachts sponsored contentAlpha Custom Yachts sponsored contentThe exclusion of formal areas has not only opened up space on board for more living spaces, but has also afforded space for the implementation of less-obvious design features such as a extra large ice machine, which produces 90 kilograms of top-quality ice each day, to ensure that the drinks are always properly ice-cold, as well as the inclusion of large refrigerators and freezers that can store enough food for two weeks, to support the yachts’ 2,000 nautical mile range.Alpha Custom Yachts sponsored contentAlpha Custom Yachts sponsored contentThough now Alpha Custom Yachts can harvest the fruits of their success, they were not always regarded seriously by other players in the industry. By challenging the status quo of yacht design, Roberto and Jorge were viewed sceptically, but Roberto expresses that they have since proven themselves. This is due, in part, to Alpha Custom Yachts’ collaboration with renowned-designer Giorgio Cassetta – who also shared his fair share of doubts about the concept before he joined the team for the Alpha 102. The well-cultivated relationship between the designer and the Aboumrad brothers has proven productive. Roberto has described client feedback to their products as “outstanding”, but he acknowledged that despite their obvious successes, Alpha has room to grow: “Whenever I tell Giorgio Cassetta, ‘we should have done this, we should have done that’, he tells me, ‘If you plan to make the perfect boat, you will never make anything, because every boat you build will have improvements to be made and inspire new ideas. That’s why you need a design that can easily evolve”.Alpha Custom Yachts sponsored contentThat’s not to say that Alpha Custom Yachts’ clientele have found their fleet to be imperfect. In fact, the builder, going through a growth spurt, is trying to find a way to accommodate the demand that they are currently experiencing, while continuing to operate as a boutique shipbuilding company. The next delivery slot for an Alpha custom yacht is not until 2023. With a shipyard in Turkey currently under construction and plenty of new ideas in the pipeline, Alpha Custom Yachts is just getting started.

To learn more about Alpha Custom Yachts and their unique approach to yacht building, use the contact information below.

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