Gulf Craft, the region’s biggest boat builder, plans to add two new boatyards in the UAE over the next two years as projects such as Dubai’s vast new canal boosts demand.
That would increase its presence to six yards in the country.
It launched four new yachts including two super yachts at this week’s Dubai International Boat Show.
While many retailers found 2015 a challenging year, hurt by the strong dollar and a falling oil price, Gulf Craft recorded a 5 per cent increase in revenue growth.
“While we didn’t sell as many boats in 2015, we sold bigger boats, so our revenues grew,” said Erwin Bamps, chief executive at Gulf Craft. “We saw a changing economic climate as the mid-range boats showed a fall in sales but the smaller and bigger boats both saw growth. We saw people looking for value for money but the top end is now really pushing our bottom line. With the opening of the Dubai Canal we see growth for boat yards in the country.”
Among the many international boat builders at the show Instinct Marine will launch a 36-foot sport fishing boat, the Instinct 360.
It is the first craft to be designed and launched by Instinct Marine, the brainchild of Essam Al Tamimi – the high profile lawyer and chairman of Al Tamimi Investments (ATI) a Dubai-based holding company with investments in sectors that include healthcare, education and retail.
The initial production facility in Dubai’s Jadaf area will have the capacity to build 10-12 boats a year with a 42-foot boat to be launched next year with the same production capacity.
The Instinct 360 comes with an entry price of Dh580,000.
It is designed for the Gulf waters which, with a shallower depth to most fishing waters, has different wave patterns and offers a more stable experience. The senior designer for Lamborghini was brought in to give the craft a stylish finish. The boat can fit up to four 350 horse power engines and in its first sea test reached 65 miles per hour, a significant milestone slightly below the coast guard’s maximum speed.
“The biggest demand in the region is for sport fishing boats and yachts,” said Christos Karyofyllis, general manager of Instinct Marine. “The biggest market in the Gulf is Kuwait. The size of the market in this region is very hard to quantify, our chairman has a passion for sports fishing which has been the real impetus behind the boat. We have already sold one and it will be on the water by mid April.”
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