The superyacht industry comprises a variety of companies that collaborate to deliver the most exclusive and luxurious yachts across the globe. Among them, yacht builders play a significant role in realizing clients’ dreams. At present, there are 165 builders in 28 countries with at least one yacht over 24m under construction. Annually, around 400 yachts over 24m are delivered to their owners, built by shipyards that specialize in yacht categories or product segments that set them apart from other commercial shipyards.
The two main types of yachts are motor yachts and sailing yachts, each varying in style, size, hull shape and material. Superyacht builders provide a certain level of customization, which range between custom and semi-custom to production series.
Yacht building is a global industry. Some countries and regions specialize in a certain style of yacht of finish, which is often defined by their naval history or maritime traditions. Other shipyards position themselves in niche product categories where there is growth or high demand.
The Northern European countries are especially known for building fully custom and semi-custom motor and sailing yachts. The Netherlands and Germany top the yachting industry for delivering yachts over 50m with large volume and a high value. German builders Lürssen, Abeking & Rasmussen and Nobiskrug deliver full-custom yacht projects, while Dutch builders like Amels/Damen Yachting, Heesen and Moonen build high-end semi-custom yachts based on model platforms. In the full custom category, Feadship, Oceanco and Royal Hakvoort specialize in the construction of full-custom motor yachts, while Royal Huisman delivers made-to-measure sailing yachts. Both custom and semi-custom yachts built in Northern Europe tend to keep a far higher resale value on the brokerage market. Thanks to their high-quality finish and extreme levels of customization, it’s fair to say that these yachts are akin to floating works of art.
Among Northern Europe’s production series yards, Sunseeker, Princess Yachts and Pearl Yachts offer motor yachts between 17m and 40m. These directly compete with Southern European yacht builders. Among the Mediterranean countries, Italy and Turkey are the two main producers for semi-custom and production series yachts up to 50m. Most Italian-built yachts are made from GRP and often form part of a branded series for yards, examples of which are Sanlorenzo, Custom Line, Ferretti, Benetti, Arcadia Yacht, Maiora, Falcon Yachts and Amer Yachts.
When it comes to speed, Italian builders, such as AB Yachts, Tecnomar, Azimut, Mangusta, Leopard Yachts, Riva and Pershing, excel in planing and open vessels. But over the past decade, a flurry of new yacht builders has entered the market delivering lager yachts and more customizable options that rival heritage builders like Baglietto, Codecasa and ISA Yachts. Perini Navi remains one of the most exclusive sailing yacht builders offering performance and style, but when it comes to innovative design solutions, Columbus Yachts, Tankoa, Cantiere delle Marche and the revival of Admiral brought have risen through the pack.
Turkey has a long-standing maritime heritage, historically recognized for the construction of wooden gulets. But Turkish shipyards are now turning their attention towards building motor and sailing yachts out of GRP and steel. At present, the best-known yacht builders in Turkey are Turquoise Yachts, Bilgin Yachts, Alia Yachts, Mengi Yay, Numarine, AvA Yachts and Bering Yachts. Further East, the Emirati shipyard Gulf Craft, has grown in reputation and success thanks to its wide range of semi-custom and production series yachts.
Asia is a hub for production series motor yachts made from GRP with most facilities, including for popular brands like Horizon Yachts, Ocean Alexander, Cheoy Lee, Heysea, Johnson Yachts and Nordhavn, located in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The remaining few yacht builders are in Oceania, South Africa and Brazil. SilverYachts and Echo Yachts are in Australia, matched by McMullen & Wing and Yachting Developments in New Zealand. Brazilians shipyards INACE and MCP bring up the rear for South America.