Dear Santa Claus,
I was writing you a letter asking you as my Christmas Gift to become the partner and President of a succesfull shipyard, building high quality vessels, with the best and most motivated team worldwide, with amazingly passionate and knowledgeable clients. I was also asking you to make that shipyard in only five years the absolute leader in its segment, representing at least 60% of the relevant market worldwide, and which could have full sheds with a minimum of two years backlog...
But I realized I already have all of that...
For this reason, I have deleted all the aforesaid requests and I left only the first line of my letter, the most important one, actually: the line where I was asking you to bring Peace and Serenity all around the world. That’s all we need, actually.
Let’s make it clear do not want to fall in the typical Christmas Interview, Vasco. Therefore we don’t want to ask
you a balance of the events happened at CdM in the last 12 months etc etc.
But we absolutely want to know what happened after the Cannes Boat Show which basically opens the so called Nautical Year!
I am happy to know that this is not going to be a conventional Christmas Interview so I don’t have to talk about the three amazing deliveries of this year, the incredible backlog we have built-up during the last 12 months, the awards we have won and the success which has brought us also on the Financial Times pages. I will focus therefore only on the last 3 months, starting from Cannes Boat Show.
For sake of good order let’s start from there, then: how was the Cannes Boat Show for CdM?
The best we have ever experienced in our careers. Very simply. Our three Yachts have been constantly full of visitors and the level of interest has been the highest ever. I can say that presenting our Darwin 107 has really been a hit, shocking those coming onboard with its volumes, quality, design and – once again – for one of the (if not THE) most amazing engine room at the Show.
We always hear about successful Boat Shows from every shipyard. It is a little bit like Political Parties after elections...
they all win, also the losers. As far as CdM is concerned, how do you measure the success of a Boat Show, beside the number of visits?
For us, a Boat Show is an investement. Therefore we measure the success of it calculating the ROI. Since our first Cannes Boat Show, we have always sold at least one Yacht after it, which can be considered a good ROI, indeed. This year, after the Show, we have sold 4! You don’t need specific consultants to understand that the ROI on this investment is good enough...
Can you let us know which boats you have sold?
Two Darwin 102, one Nauta 90, one Nauta 111 on a 7.80 beam platform. It is more than 1000 GRT! In only 3 months we have sold he equivalent of a 60 mt Megayacht.
Talking about bigger Yachts: we can see that your clientele is moving up in size and 90% of the orders of the last 24 months are over 100’.
Seen also that you start having repeat clients going bigger in size, are we going to see you soon competing against the 45mt+ shipyards.
No, thank you. As we have already said many times: we want to become better and better, not bigger and bigger.
Now, let’s get a little conventional here... What are you doing for your Christmas Holidays?
Seen that in the last 24 months and 5 Yachts sold there, I have been at least 12 times in Mexico visiting only Mexico City... I will take my first real holiday with my family in five years, and we will travel through the country from Mexico City to the Pacific Coast, spending the last ten days in a very nice and easygoing village north of Punta Mita. It is going to be real quality time with my family, which means that we will also meet some of our great mexican yacht owners: they are definitely part of the family, too!!!!
"An Explorer by definition is an Adventurer. In seeking to encompass an environment for a true comfortable high-end modern adventurer, the conceptual idea for Acala was to take a contemporary approach and mix it with a palette of natural materials throughout the boat, such as raw brass, natural textured oil floors, a bare, warm and tropical exotic look of Liquidambar wood, leather finishes on case goods and trims, and finer details such as the door knob hardware in leather and brass toggle switches for lighting. These materials were then taken to construct a straight forward voyager/traveler old fashioned trunk-type furniture cabinets for the cabins, as if they were resembling the adventurers traveling luggage, and for the public areas, the same palette of materials were employed in a bold, minimal, geometric and contemporary style, within a very open loft-like layout, to convey a comfortable, leisure, easy, and uncluttered look.
I was personally very pleased with the result at CdM on carrying through the whole idea to a reality. I believe the end result speaks for itself, and does transmit in many ways a very different and unique boat. In every case, the most important aspect in conveying and executing any design, ultimately lies in the approval and even surpassing the expectations of the client. From the very positive feedback from the clients, this was certainly achieved, making every aspect of this voyage of design and construction a solid success."
Can you tell us something about your yachting career, and your relationship with the owners of Acala?
I was fortunate enough to start my yachting career at a young age of 21. I have been working with the family for over 6 years; started off as a Deckhand on a previous boat of theirs and have worked my way up to their now running their new Explorer Vessel. I have been very lucky and traveled to many remote locations throughout the Pacific and Asia with the Family, searching for the most incredible dive sites that the world has to offer. It is such a pleasure working with the Family on these incredible journeys we have done together and I am privileged to have been part of them. I have many memories that will last forever and have to thank them for these.
You have spent 9 months in Ancona following the build and taking care of every single detail of it: can you please explain to future owners of a
custom yacht how important is to have an owner representative onsite? Is it 9 month the minimum time needed, or it could be less?
Personally, I think 9 months is the perfect amount of time to be on site in Ancona. Having someone on site over looking the build means you will end up with a boat more tailored to how you will use it, and it is very important for both the shipyard and the owner to have someone in between that can make all the small daily decisions that need to be done straight away. I would highly recommend having a Captain at the yard full-time for at least 7 months.
You have been involved since the beginning of the build, looking at plans and specifications and working with the yard on almost a daily
basis. What was your impression in the beginning and how this has changed (if it has) during the build?
The thing that really impressed me with the yard is the management side of it. I really believe that the yard is being run by very great people who are so passionate and believe in what they are building, so much that there is no limit of what they will do to make sure you are happy with the boat you are building.
We heard that you cruised for 14 hours in a very big storm with winds up to 50 knots and 4 to 4.5 metres waves
immediately after the delivery of the vessel. This sounds incredible in an industry where you normally hear: ‘it will take
one full season before I can really go for bluewater cruising...’. Can you tell us something about it?
Yes, that is correct. We definitely tested the boat to its limits, that’s for sure. I can happily say that CDM have exceeded my expectations on the seaworthiness of the boat and really believe we have a real Explorer Vessel.
Immediately after the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show you left for the first cruise with the owners onboard.
Where did you go and what’s your first impression of Acala in full operational mode?
We did a one-week trip in the Bahamas. There was not much moving around due to very bad weather but everything went smoothly.
We know you love your beautiful Darwin Class 102, but would you tell us which are the three things of her you like more?
First, I think the custom lazarette area that we have turned into a complete dive store is the key on this boat because the owners are very passionate about diving. Second, the spacious engine room; everything is spaced out to allow the maximum room for servicing. Third, is the wheelhouse; it works very well with all the controls in one confined space and lots of room on either side for charts. Having the captain’s cabin behind the wheelhouse is a huge advantage as well.
And now, a Christmas note: If you could ask Santa Claus a gift related to Acala, what you would ask?
The only thing I could ask for now, is that, the owners use her as much as they can so they can get the most fun out of this incredible big little boat and take away memories with them that last a life time.