Conrad Shipyard's 44.27 m superyacht

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Delivered in 2022, Ace is one of three C144S models
Credit: Conrad Shipyard

Polish shipyard Conrad celebrates two decades of building superyachts

3 July 2023 • Written by Emma Bamford for Conrad Shipyard

With two decades of superyacht building under its belt, Polish yard Conrad Shipyard has certainly earned and proved its reputation for excellence with the personal touch.

Conrad Shipyard was founded in 2003 as a sister company to Marine Projects, which already had 14 years of successful commercial shipbuilding experience under its belt. The Gdansk-based yard had signed its first superyacht client, for the 27-metre Escape S (now DRIVEN) in 2002, and it was felt a company dedicated to this sector of the market was needed. “Collaboration with a private client required a different approach,” says CEO Mikolaj Król, who has been at the helm since 2004. “It was a natural step to open the superyacht division.”

After the delivery of Escape S in 2005, 35-metre Lunar came in 2013, followed by World Superyacht Award-winner 40-metre Viatoris in 2018, and 44-metre Ace in 2022. A monumental milestone for the yard, Ace is the largest superyacht ever to be built in Poland. A testament to Conrad’s craftmanship, the yacht was awarded a judges commendation in the Displacement Motor Yacht 499 GT and below, 40m to 44.99m category at this year's World Superyacht Awards.

Ace is the largest superyacht to have been built in Poland
Credit: Conrad Shipyard

With exteriors penned by Reymond Langton Design and naval architecture by Diana Yacht Design, she is the first in the yard’s C144S semi-custom series, which is already proving popular: the second yacht is in advanced construction, the third unit is contracted, and Conrad Shipyard is openly talking with another customer about the fourth hull, with an aim to produce one per year.

Conrad describes itself as a “boutique shipyard”, with experienced employees on board taking a highly personalised approach to customers. “We are committed to making every customer feel taken care of,” says Król. “At Conrad Shipyard, we are known for our family atmosphere, and I, along with a trusted team, oversee every stage of the boat's construction. It's very important to us that our customers feel at home, so I'm proud to say that I'm in constant contact with most of our yacht owners and they know they can call me if they need anything.”

A second semi-custom C144S is already under construction
Credit: Conrad Shipyard

It is a very loyal team, with three generations working for a company that over two decades has won its stripes and repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to quality. Król singles out project manager Pawel Polak, who has been with the yard since the beginning, similarly second project manager Marcin Czerniawski, head of production Janusz Kostro and Sebastian Ziomkowski for particular mention. “Janusz’s motto is ‘At Conrad we do impossible on a daily basis, for miracles we need one day in advance’,” his boss says. “He can deliver the most incredible things always on time. Our people are our greatest asset.”

Being a boutique yard, Conrad does everything itself, from steel and aluminium to woodwork and furniture, finding tailor-made solutions unique to each client’s wish list. “We are not a place that simply picks up pieces and assembles them; we create, design and build,” says Król. “We involve our customers or their representatives in the processes, which is unique. When a customer visits us, they can see all the pieces in production.”

With over 20 years' experience, Conrad Shipyard is a leader in the superyacht building sector
Credit: Conrad Shipyard

With the typical owner profile having changed over the past 20 years, particularly towards younger clients, this individualised approach is increasingly important. “Where once a naval architect was, in many matters, the oracle of what could and couldn’t be done, now that limit is being moved,” says Król. “Design dominates functionality. The customer’s requirements are a priority, and we have to find a way to meet them, sometimes making structural changes.” 

Although the yard does not shy away from saying no when it means no. “We are frank and modest people, and clients can feel it,” says Król. “We can build a business only on honesty and openness. Good always comes back to us. There are clients to whom we honestly told that something could not be done. They went to other shipyards where they were lied to that something could be done and as a result, they came back to us. We pride ourselves on offering this level of personalised service and commitment to quality. We believe that our boutique approach is what sets us apart and will continue to be a key part of our business strategy and growth plans.”

Conrad Shipyard CEO and Chairman Mikołaj Krol
Credit: Conrad Shipyard

When it comes to growth plans, as Conrad Shipyard moves into its next decade the success of its delivered superyachts and increased demand for more and larger yachts means the planned expansion of both production facilities and yacht LOA, at first up to 70 metres and then as big as 100, and here Marine Projects’ heritage will come to the fore. “I am more than proud to say that we are going to expand our production facilities and workshops to produce faster and even more yachts,” says Król. “We have already started building bigger boats for returning customers. We are proud of our roots in building commercial vessels and we plan to leverage this expertise in our future projects.”

He and his team are rightly pleased with what they have achieved with the C144S, which cements the yard’s reputation as a builder of the highest quality and points the way to the next 20 years, and even beyond. “We believe it is a sign of an even greater future ahead for the Conrad Shipyard,” Król adds.

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