Remaining under the radar: Arcon Yachts

Written by Gemma Fottles

Regardless of being involved in the sale, construction and management of an abundance of impressive superyachts, including the 50 metre Heesen-built Ann G and the recent signing of the 6th Benetti Vivace 125 as well as a new 32 metre CdM explorer vessel, Arcon Yachts are still decidedly under many people’s radar.

Actively choosing to steer away from heavy marketing campaigns, this, CEO Konstantin Kolpakov, tells us, is entirely intentional, with the big brokerage brand instead choosing to centralise their time, money, and energy on generating business through the development of client relationships. Opening their doors for the first time in the late 90s in Moscow when the Russian yachting industry was still very much in its infancy, this approach has clearly paid off with the awarding of exclusive dealership in Russia for Azimut Benetti, the two companies joining forces once again in 2007 to build Royal Yacht Club in Moscow.

Here, Kolpakov reveals a bit more about the elusive Arcon Yachts as well as his insight into the future of the superyacht brokerage market.

SYT:You are Managing Director, Partner and CEO of Arcon. Tell us about your background and your career at Arcon Yachts.

After graduating from university in economics and management, I went on to manage various businesses in real estate and IT. I knew my business partners at Arcon Yachts long before we started working together. It was only a matter of time for me before I joined the company! The brand needed to be represented in Monaco and as I already resided there it was an easy decision for everyone to have me join the business and head the company's operations in Monaco.

As a founder of Arcon Yachts, Anton Dolotin is still actively involved with the business, however his main role is in the strategic management level. His earlier business activities involved trading with Italy, thus the natural development of the collaboration with Azimut Benetti.

SYT:Can you tell us more about the sale of Ann G?

The owner of Ann G is a good repeat client of Arcon Yachts. Originally we started with a 98’ GRP yacht in 2007, followed by a 116’ vessel and finally, the 50 metre Ann G. Prior to signing that particular contract we went through a long preparation process. We worked extensively with a number of designers and shipyards, and eventually the winners were Heesen Yachts, Clifford Denn for the exterior, and Reymond Langton for the interior design. Both designers are some of the most talented in the industry, and we are very happy with her.

SYT:Was the owner heavily involved throughout her construction?

Yes. This project was a big challenge for everybody involved, and we were extremely lucky to have such a courageous, demanding and experienced owner who wasn’t afraid to try something new. We created, as we call her, ‘The boat of the future’. We had lengthy and detailed discussions with the owner day and night, sometimes multiples times a day. Every single detail of the boat was of vital importance to him.

I believe that the owner of Ann G is the type of yacht owner who moves industry boundaries beyond what is conventional. We are happy to be part of Ann G’s success after five long years of hard work. And the end result? The boat is stunning.

SYT: What has been the most memorable sale of your career?

That’s a tough question - we’ve completed quite a few memorable projects over the years! Without a doubt, Ann G is one of the most interesting project of my career so far, but I’m confident the best is still yet to come.

SYT: You have five offices, three of which are based in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and a large portion of your clients are Russian. How has the Crisis in Russia affected business for Arcon Yachts, if at all?

I prefer to consider crisis periods as a time for new opportunities. In the past 20 years we witnessed currencies fluctuate and economic uncertainties which, no doubt, affect the yachting market. We are quite used to it, however. We use these times effectively by working on the improvement of our services. During the years of active growth this can be an uneasy task due to the lack of time. We deal with all types of services on an everyday basis: sales, charter, new build projects, yachts management… It’s safe to say there is no lack of business for us despite the economic crises.

SYT:In 2012 you opened your office in Monaco, debuting two Palmer Johnson yachts at the Monaco Yacht Show of the same year. How important is a presence in Monaco?

Arcon Yachts were working in the South of France long before we set up our office in Monaco. Since most of our clients come from European countries, having a company in the centre of yachting life, Monaco, is imperative. Since most of our clients are acquiring yachts for use in the Med and Adriatic, it is essential that we are based within easy reach of those clients.

SYT: With a number of smaller brokerage companies cropping up, do you still see a future for large yacht brokerage companies?

In the last 10 to 15 years we saw a rise in competition in the brokerage sector, and big brokerage companies are affected by this trend. At the same time, clients are more experienced and demanding these days. They require a more flexible and professional approach. They work with a number of brokers to determine the best solution for their projects, which we see as a must. However, it might be a challenge for big brokerage companies in the future. Smaller companies can certainly benefit from this fact. No doubt the yachting business will change in the foreseeable future, and I am sure we will be witnessing some interesting developments, new names, and new approaches.

SYT: With the massive rise in social media and an increasing amount of companies like Airbnb and OneFineStay, do you feel that the charter market utilise the power of the internet enough?

It’s an interesting question. Yes, I believe that the internet is being utilised well, though I’m sure it can be utilised further in the future. I assume this will not happen as rapidly as it may do within other industries. Either way, every business is facing this challenge. The winner will be the ones whom are flexible and adaptive to the changes.

This article is featured in the latest edition of the SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now and never miss another issue.

Ann G photography by Jeff Brown

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