Speaking to BOAT Business at the Genoa Boat Show, Next Yacht Group CEO Gennaro Candida De Matteo explains why AB Yachts is the Group’s strongest asset and shares why he thinks speed is one of the most important purchasing factors for certain clients.
Viareggio-based Next Yacht Group was formed in 2021 and has three brands under its umbrella: Maiora, AB Yachts, and CBI Navi. Currently, AB Yachts, which builds 40-knot plus yachts in the 24 to 44 metre segment, is outperforming the other two brands.
“The high-performance product is collecting the highest attention from the market,” Candida explained. “Currently 70 per cent of [order book] volumes are AB Yachts.”
The “original identity” of the brand is key to its success, he added. It was established in 1994 and has kept its focus firmly on fast yachts with a shallow draft. It doesn’t build beyond 44.5 metres and puts performance front and centre – with models like the AB 100 reaching top speeds of 59 knots. This year, the yard has introduced a new model to the line with the AB 120 Beach.
While maintaining its traditions, AB Yachts is still looking to change and adapt to create more efficient designs. With a low displacement in mind, Candida said they are “fighting to reduce the weight of everything on board”. Already, vessels in the AB Yachts fleet have a more “stable” fuel consumption which is impacted by time as opposed to speed. “[Speed] is not affected,” Candida said. “It’s just how much time you want to spend to go from A to B.”
Maiora Yachts accounts for the remaining 30 per cent of the Group’s current order book. Maiora traditionally builds spacious and liveable models, and it brought its unique Walkaround design to the market earlier this year. However, it is finding more success in its performance segment, with the majority of Maiora orders made up of Exuma models, which feature waterjet propulsion to provide speeds of around 35 knots or more - a feature that is unique for a 300GT vessel.
The trend for fast yachts can be seen across the industry and Candida points to both new and existing players presenting high-performance yachts to the market. For some yacht buyers, speed remains among the most “impressive” qualities and there will invariably be a segment of clients who want to buy the sportiest boat on the water. The other driving factor is the emotion and adrenaline associated with reaching achieving this kind of speed. For many boaters, it is what makes them feel "reborn" – a feeling that has been exacerbated in the wake of the pandemic.
As a newly-formed group, Candida says that in the last year the company “had to ramp up”. In the past, the Group had “progressively suffered” as a result of the economic climate. The current Russian sanctions are having an impact on the company, too. But, Candida said that the benefit of being a small yard means that Next Yacht Group doesn’t feel the same pains as its competitors because it is not as heavily driven by “volumes, numbers and stock exchange obligations”. Instead, the focus lies in “fulfilling the customer expectations”.Read More/How Italian shipyards plan to build on the superyacht boom