SMM is increasingly becoming a platform for the upmarket segment of super yachts. This area is presented at the SMM at Hamburg Trade Fair by shipyards, and all relevant equipment suppliers exhibit at the leading shipbuilding fair.
For the first time this year there will be a special exhibition focus on super yachts in Hall 8. Over 1,600 companies from 50 countries will present the latest developments in all areas of the maritime sector at 22nd Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology, International Trade Fair Hamburg from September 26th-29th.
Super yachts are generally not included in the tonnage statistics on ship deliveries or newbuilding orders, despite the fact that this segment has become increasingly significant year by year. For example, the construction of luxurious large yachts is an important area with enormous potential in the German shipbuilding industry, which has a top reputation worldwide particularly for yachts from 90m length. As shipyards are extremely careful to keep their super yacht projects out of the public eye, the business volume of this segment can only be estimated. Claus-Ehlert Meyer, manager of the German Yachting Industry Pool (GYIP), puts the sales of the sector for super yacht newbuildings, repairs, spare parts service and insurance in 2005 at about $1.2b in Germany alone. German shipyards currently have super yachts worth approx. $2.8b on their orderbooks.
The super yacht segment has also expanded considerably globally in recent years. The total number of delivered yachts of this scale rose from 137 in 2004 to 158 in 2005. Although the number of orders for motor yachts with a length of 50m and over increased only slightly from 53 to 55 in the same period, this year yards already have on order 71 motor yachts and 12 sailing yachts in this size category. As in previous years, European yards claim about two-thirds of all new orders in 2006 (66.8%, up from 66.4% in 2005). The field is headed by yards in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, with US yards accounting for 19.4% of orders (18.7% in 2005) and the rest of the world 13.8% (14.9% in 2005). Chinese yards are also becoming increasingly active in this special segment.
This development will also be reflected at SMM 2006 with the increased presence of the super yacht segment. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems
(TKMS), for example, will present its entire super yacht field of competence. In addition to its experience producing 70 super yachts delivered to date (the first, the "Hohenzollern", was built in Hamburg back in 1887), TKMS offers a daily 24-hour global service. Eight super yachts are currently at various stages of construction at the TKMS yards Blohm + Voss in Hamburg and Nobiskrug in Rendsburg.
Abeking & Rasmussen will present a model of the "Alithia", the last sailing yacht built by A&R of 40m length, as well as a model of yard no. 6477, a 58m long motor yacht, due to start on her maiden voyage in February 2007. The Dutch Damen Shipyard Group also has a prominent super yacht specialist, the shipbuilder Amels.
Exhibitors in Hall 8 will include SMG Shipyard Rostock (previously Sunseeker) and the working group German Yachting Industry Pool (GYIP) within the German Boat- and Shipbuilding Association (DBSV) with numerous companies from all areas, including yacht design and consultancy services, construction, electrical fittings and electronics, equipment, fittings and service.
All important equipment suppliers for the super yacht segment are represented in the SMM areas propulsion and automation as well as navigation and communications systems. ABB, for instance, reports that in the wake of the "Air" in 2005 another super yacht is now to incorporate Compact Azipods. Blohm + Voss will probably deliver the vessel in 2007. The engine makers MTU and Caterpillar (CAT)
will exhibit plants that are bound to interest owners of super yachts at SMM 2006. The Americans will have a special area devoted to these yachts at their stand, the eye-catcher being a complete super yacht propulsion plant, a 3516 engine with gearbox. The new L3 subsidiary SAM is also well positioned in the super yacht segment with orders for navigation and complete bridge systems.
Every super yacht is a unique beauty, fully meeting the sometimes very unusual requirements of the customers. Yet in tackling new assignments shipyards certainly try to make the most of their experience with previous vessels. Abeking & Rasmussen, for example, resorts to former projects for recurring elements. However, this procedure is used to a very limited extent and only if an owner really insists on delivery as fast as possible, according to a spokesman of Abeking & Rasmussen. Routine modular construction is not possible in this high-price segment. Another supplier has gone a step further. The yacht builder Amels has designed so-called semi-series yachts. Initially a 52m long yacht. And successfully: the first two boats have already been sold for delivery in 2007. The Dutch yacht designers are now working on a series super yacht of 63m length. The reason for the series development is that owners want shorter delivery times, which are achieved by the new concept of semi-series yacht building, according to an Amels spokesman
. It is explained that the process reduces a yacht's design and development time by nearly a year and also enhances quality, although there will, of course, never be series production for large luxury yachts as for containerships. The yachts will certainly not look identical. Trade visitors will be able to see how individuality and series shipbuilding can go together in the super yacht segment at the Damen Shipyards stand at SMM 2006.