Delivering yachts from 40 to 77 metres in length to an international roster of clients from the USA, UK, Europe and Russia, Turquoise Yachts has international recognition as an industry heavyweight. But what is the history of the Turkish yard? Here, we take a look at its predecessor and unravel the brilliance of the builder's backstory. Photo: Malcom Wood Yachting ArchiveThe company’s success today has its roots in two companies involved in yacht building: Proteksan Yachts Inc., based in Tuzla, Istanbul and Turquoise Yacht Construction, also based in Istanbul. Proteksan was the shortened version of the company’s full name – Profilo Teknik Sanayi A.S. These two companies joined forces in 1994 to establish Proteksan-Turquoise Yachts and focused on the construction of large motor yachts to a high standard. In 2014, MB Holding, which was founded in 1982 by Omani businessman Mohammed Al Barwani, became the majority shareholder and the company was renamed Turquoise Yachts, with the head office and shipyard based at Pendik, Istanbul.
Turning now to Proteksan Yachts, the company commenced building large (for the time) motor yachts in the mid-1970s. In those days, most Turkish-built yachts were wooden gulets built for the charter market in Turkey and Greece.Photo: Ralph Dazert / SuperYacht TimesProteksan was the first Turkish yard to build in steel, with its first yacht delivered in 1977 following fitting out by Picchiotti at Viareggio. This yacht, the 32-metre Motivator, was sold to a Middle Eastern owner and renamed Dina A. In 1987, the yacht was sold to a costume jewellery manufacturer and was based in Bangkok until 1992. The yacht, now named Nomad, has been home-ported in Tunisia in recent years after her sale by auction in 1998.
The next yacht completed by Proteksan in 1977 was the 24-metre Kerim which was designed by Paolo Caliari and would later become Boggy C and be painted in battleship grey. The later history of this vessel is unknown at present. Also completed in the same year was the 28.5-metre Milasan, designed by Paolo Caliari and also fitted out in Italy. The yacht was sold to a Middle Eastern buyer following its completion.
1983 saw the completion of the 24.4-metre Alize followed a year later by the 41-metre Texas, the largest yacht built so far by the shipyard. This yacht would later be extended to 44.6 metres by Sensation Yachts in Auckland, New Zealand.Designed by Ugo Costaguta and Alberto Mercati with an interior by Arthur M. Barbieto, Texas spent a few years under the ownership of the Sultan of Selangor, Malaysia as Permaisuri before being acquired by an Australian owner and reverting to her original name.Photo: Tracy EvansAt around the same time, Proteksan completed the 43.6-metre Galaxy Star for Rene Herzog, the Swiss entrepreneur whose Zurich-based company, Alucraft, had been instrumental in the promotion and building of both this yacht and the aforementioned Texas. Galaxy Star was equipped with a stern garage that would initially house a Rolls-Royce when in Europe and a Chrysler when stateside.
Another, slightly smaller yacht which was completed in 1986 to a similar design (but without the stern garage) was the 38.1-metre Big Change. The last one completed by Proteksan in the 1980s was the first Vals, a 23.8-metre motoryacht designed by Necdet Saldur.Photo: Malcom Wood Yachting ArchiveIn the 1990s, Proteksan launched the 33.0-metre Tarabia in 1991 followed by a small series known as the Proteksan 88 model. This sleek design was penned by Vincenzo Ruggiero with interiors by Jean-Guy Verges.
Three vessels were completed in 1993 and 1994, namely Saga, Vals II and Dervis III which would be the last yachts to be built under the Proteksan brand name prior to the tie-up with Turquoise in 1997. Photo: Turquoise YachtsThis article was first featured in The SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue.