Following the 2008 financial crisis, the superyacht industry saw 126 new-build projects over 30 metres sold. For 2019, 177 new-build projects were recorded on SuperYacht Times iQ. Despite the current worldwide pandemic, the concluding figures for new-build sales during 2020 have been forecast to fare better than that of 2008. Particularly as, after having kept in touch with a large cross-section of the industry during this time, SuperYacht Times has found that the majority remain optimistic that business will soon bounce back. With this in mind, SuperYacht Times sat down with Mehmet Karabeyoğlu, Founder of Turquoise Yachts to talk about the yard's sales and activities during the covid-19 crisis.Photo: Francisco Martinez / Turquoise YachtsWhat is happening in Turkey and at Turquoise Yachts at the moment?
Even with very few covid-19 casualties, Turkey has still suffered like everybody else. Thankfully we were able to continue working with restrictions but did not shut down. We successfully launched a 56-metre explorer yacht recently, which will be delivered in a month or so. Of course, we have had problems with suppliers and international commissioning teams not being able to come to the yard and so, we learned how to commission online and worked with local dealers or our own technicians. We were doing this with cameras, phones and computers so that was a little bit difficult but I think it worked!Photo: Turquoise YachtsThat is a good example of how the current situation has made room for new technologies and new ways of working. However, have the yard's sales activities been affected? Were you still able to talk to prospective clients?
I don't think it was affected at all. Actually, our activities in the last three months were better than usual - especially with our larger yacht platforms in the 70-metre range. Some of the clients we are talking to right now were existing clients, so had already been to the yard and are now just concentrating on completing the sale. With one client we were granted permission for the owner’s team to fly in on a private jet to continue talks - so we have been able to find ways to continue business.Photo: Turquoise YachtsGiven the circumstances, do you think building on speculation is the best model right now? Will you continue to invest in spec projects?
It always helps to have a speculation project on the go to offer shorter delivery time. I always find that having at least one hull and superstructure finished is a good way to increase sales possibility. The costings will be also more secure because you can be more sure about what they will be and you can price accordingly. Our principle is whenever we sell a boat, we start another one - and we've felt the benefits of working this way.Photo: Merijn de Waard / SuperYacht TimesWith the uncertainties surrounding the upcoming yacht shows, will the lack of events affect your sales?
We normally only visit one or two shows, as I personally believe that it is only worthwhile if you have a boat in the show. We want to be at shows to be part of the industry and show support. Hopefully through more conversations with SYBAss, for example, we can limit the increased prices that happen during these events. We don't get any benefit out of paying high prices for accommodation to do business.
This interview was part of the 14th SuperYacht Times Webinar. If you missed out, catch up via the video found below. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found here.