Update on progress at superyacht builder Jade Yachts
by Ivor Wilkins
Taiwan-based Jade Yachts has secured a buyer for one of two projects that fell victim to the recent insolvency application by the prominent German brokerage company, Drettmann Gmbh, which encountered difficulties in the wake of the global economic downturn.
The deal, put together by Ocean Independence of Switzerland, was signed at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show. The Espinosa-designed Bandido 90, which is still under construction at Jade, will go to a European owner. Delivery will be in the second half of 2011.
Meanwhile, construction is continuing on a 51.8m ice-capable motoryacht due for completion in 2012. This project is also entangled in the Drettmann insolvency, but Memphis Han, Vice President of Jade Yachts is optimistic that an arrangement can be reached to complete the yacht for its original owner.
If not, Han says discussions are in progress with another prospective buyer.
The Monaco sale of the Bandido 90 will be the 10th of that series to go to Europe. In December, number nine in the series was undergoing sea-trials in Taiwan prior to a February shipping date to its European owner. The yard is also marketing a completed 95ft version.
Meanwhile, Jade Yachts is embarked on an extensive research and development programme aimed at improving efficiencies, performance and quality – with particular reference to reducing sound and vibration on board its yachts. “We are constantly seeking to improve the brand across all areas,” says Han.
Han says this process will include refining hull designs for better sea-keeping. The plan is to market a new range of the modern explorer-style tri-deckers under the Jade brand. New 36.5m and 52m versions are also envisaged.
Although the Bandido collaboration with Drettmann was very successful over the past five years, the rebranding will eliminate some market confusion and distinguish Jade Yachts from its local rival, Horizon Yachts, which built smaller versions of the Bandido series in fibre glass. Jade Yachts intends to continue concentrating on producing displacement steel-hulled superyachts with aluminium superstructures.
In addition to its new relationship with Ocean Independence, Jade Yachts will be represented in the US market by Fraser Yachts. Han says the yard is developing new designs and working with new designers. It is also exploring opportunities to enter OEM relationships, manufacturing for existing international brands.