Gulf Craft Nov 18, 2015 9:43:12 PM 15 min read

Think High's Exclusive Interview with Erwin Bamps, Gulf Craft CEO

Nov 6, 2015 - Phil Blizzard sat with Erwin Bamps to talk about what’s new in the yacht business, and to know more about Gulf Craft:

What does it mean to you to be appointed CEO of Gulf Craft?

My previous 12 years with Gulf Craft have just been a warm-up period really. We have been investing in product and process, in know-how and systems, and the real potential of the company is only starting to unfold. With Gulf Craft entering into a new growth spurt, it is time to widen the management board and middle-management pool, and firmly structure the entire organization. In that light, I am honored and humbled at the same time, that the Chairman and board of shareholders have confirmed me in a role that will allow me to steer the Gulf Craft ship towards exciting destinations.

 In your new role as CEO what are your key aspirations for the company?

By now the global market has noticed we are a yacht and boat builder with ambition and a mission. Proud to be building luxury products of tremendous technical complexity in the Middle-East and selling these to the world today, we are striving to leave a mark in the industry, not just by building ever bigger and better, but by being different. We continue to invest heavily in design and engineering with the aim of enhancing our trend-setting and market making capabilities.

 We have met on numerous occasion, conducting interviews for TV, and you always look extremely well dressed, very snappy, very professional – so how do you view the importance of a sharp suit and who are your favorite designers?

No favorite designers, I am afraid, rather a favorite style: my daily attire is a fitted long-sleeve shirt with tie or a sharp suit. I try and lead by example, and nothing radiates more confidence than being smartly dressed and wearing a wide smile.


Majesty Yachts shipyard Majesty Yachts shipyard


I want to focus now on luxury and your top brand “Majesty Yachts”. How has the demand for bigger and bigger yachts evolved for your clients, not only here in the Middle East, but around the world?

There is a natural progression in size among yacht and superyacht owners and most of the buyers of larger yachts have upsized from smaller vessels. Most of our superyacht buyers are either returning clients looking to upgrade or established yacht owners looking to buy a new, bigger yacht. Even during the recession when globally the market dropped by almost 70%, we saw the most growth in our large yacht sector.

We have sold more superyachts in the past five years than ever before. Last year we delivered six yachts above 30m, three of which were above 35m. We are currently building our largest-ever yacht – the Majesty 155.

Even globally, the superyacht sector has proved time and again to be the most resilient. According to the 2014 Showboats International Global Order Book, it was reported that 2014 would be the first year since 2009 that there would be an increase in the number of superyachts built. Although it is not a big sector, it is growing one.

What is the reaction when visitors to boat shows, potential customers and those of the yachting fraternity realize that these fabulous yachts are built and crafted in the UAE?

The Middle East has traditionally always been associated with more of a ‘consumer’ role rather than the role of a ‘creator’ when it comes to the luxury sector. However, the global success of “Made-in-the-Middle East” brands such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad in industries such as airlines, Jumeirah in hospitality or Elie Saab in fashion has over the years changed this perception. Earlier we did face a bit of prejudice when buyers at international boat shows realized we were manufacturing our yachts in the UAE but factors such as the incredible success of Dubai’s global promotional efforts have now associated the region with innovation, luxury and high standards of quality, and this has changed perceptions of all luxury brands coming out of the region.

Lets focus on your largest superyacht, and by definition that is any yacht over 24m (79ft) in length (similar to a tennis court), and the Majesty 155 which is a very generous 47m, a long 155 feet. What are the key features of this superyacht?

The Majesty 155 is the first semi-displacement composite superyacht to be built by Gulf Craft and is powered by twin MTU 12V 400M63 2012 hp engines. The superyacht is being built under RINA and Bureau Veritas classification.

The luxurious triple-decked superyacht features 5 staterooms, including one owner’s stateroom, and fully equipped crew quarters. The interior design for the Majesty 155 is based on a “barrier-free living” concept with oversized windows that deliver panoramic views over the water. The aft deck design includes an aft beach club for relaxing after water sports. Other striking features are an elevator, and balconies in the owner’s stateroom and saloon.


Majesty 155 superyacht Majesty 155 superyacht


In terms of the luxurious interiors what can a customer expect with (i) the layout of the various decks and (ii) when it comes to the finest materials used?

Our deck layouts are determined by the owner’s preferences – a defining feature of our Majesty Yachts is their ability to be customized. With regard to the use of materials, we import raw materials from countries such as Italy, France, Hong Kong, Australia and Britain which are designed and assembled in-house at our UAE facility using state-of-the-art machinery and the expertise of our internal team. Some of the unique materials you will find on the Majesty 155 include and exotic Amazakoue veneer, natural Anigre walls, crema marfil as well as cappuccino onyx marble.

Onto the ‘toys for the boys’ what would be the key accessories to keep the boys happy? I am thinking of helicopters, super jet-ski’s for example.

We have noticed an increase in demand for owner’s customizing their tenders. Helicopters, 3-seater jet-skis, beach clubs on the rear of the boats and side-balconies are some of the requests we have recently noted. There has also been an increased demand for bathing platforms operated using the latest technology, such as foldable platforms.

Whilst one expects to ‘pay’ for luxury and these yachts are extremely luxurious, what is the starting price for a Majesty 155 and what generally are the annual running costs for such a yacht? (please indicate crew size)

The Majesty 155 is selling today at USD$25 million, however, the cost of yachts of this size can vary significantly based on the level of customization requested by the owner. It will accommodate up to 10 guests in its 5 spacious staterooms and up to 10 crew in 5 dedicated cabins.

Annual running costs can vary a lot from place of berth, crew size and so on. For example, running costs of a Majesty 155 berthed in Dubai International Marine Club with a crew size of 10 including a captain, co-pilot, engineers, technicians and attendants, could stand in the range of USD $1M.


Majesty 155 upper deck Jacuzzi Majesty 155 upper deck Jacuzzi


Finally, whilst Majesty Yachts is the premier brand from Gulf Craft, give us an overview of your product range produced here in the UAE.

Gulf Craft currently manufactures four internationally-distributed brands of fishing boats and family cruisers, sport cruisers and semi-customized luxury superyachts, namely Silvercraft, Oryx, Majesty Yachts and Nomad Yachts in addition to the Utility Series of transport vessels. The fleet produced range from 27 feet runabouts and sport fishing boats, to 155 feet luxury motor yachts.

Majesty Yachts: Gulf craft launched its range of luxury fly-bridge yachts under the name of Majesty Yachts in 2004. Majesty Yachts offers an extensive range of yachts from 48 feet to 155 feet under one roof.

Oryx Sport Yachts & Cruisers: In 2006, Gulf Craft introduced the Oryx line of sport yachts and cruisers. Starting from the Oryx 27 sport cruiser, the range extends to larger size sport cruisers such as Oryx 36 and Oryx 42 as well as Oryx 40 fly-bridge which features outboard engines.

Silvercraft: The Silvercraft series was officially launched in 2008 to represent the wide and diverse range of smaller fishing boats and family cruisers manufactured by Gulf Craft. Silvercraft offers family of center console finishing boats and multi-functional walkaround cruisers for sport fishing enthusiasts worldwide. Silvercraft cruisers can currently be found in countries as diverse as Australia, South Africa and Norway, in addition to Asia and the Middle East.

Nomad Yachts: The Nomad Yachts is a brand of explorer-type yachts under Gulf Craft that offer long-range, fuel efficiency. The range consists of the Nomad 65, launched at the 2015 Dubai Boat Show, Nomad 75 which was launched in March 2013, and the Nomad 95 which was launched in 2011.

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