According to an analysis of the industry, several yacht-making firms are transitioning to aluminium as the material of choice in the over-30-meter (98.4’) segment of the market.
Two-hundred forty-five motor yachts in the over-30m segment have been brought to market with aluminium hulls. Heesen Yachts is at the front of the pack with 34 delivered yachts totaling 1,484 meters. Next is Trinity Yachts with 31 units. Palmer Johnson comes in third with 23 yachts. Baglietto is fourth with 20 yachts. Finally, Mondomarine and Admiral have each built 13 yachts in total. The six shipyards together have constructed and delivered almost 55% of all aluminium motor yachts over 30m in the past decade.
“From our side we have signed a total of 16 contracts for fast aluminium yachts out of a total of 29 contracts signed since 2008,” explains Mark Cavendish, Director of Sales & Marketing of Heesen Yachts. “So is the fast aluminium market growing? I would say yes, there are definite signs of more interest in the sector. Consider that at Heesen we are building one of the largest high-speed aluminium yachts, the 70 metre Kometa with a top speed of 30 knots.”
Cavendish says that aluminium is preferred over fiberglass-reinforced plastic (GRP) for larger vessels. “It is unusual to have large, high speed GRP yachts much over 40 or 50 metres, so aluminium is popular in this range,” he says.
Aluminium is more versatile, according to Mondomarine/Cantieri di Pisa’s CEO Roberto Zambrini, hence its attractiveness in the yachtbuilding industry. “Steel and aluminium grant infinite customization opportunities, that’s the key of our success today,” Zambrini indicates. “Another aspect nobody is paying attention to today is the disposal of the yachts once their lives are over. Aluminium and steel can easily be recycled, what will happen with GRP?”
Francesco Frediani, Commercial Director of Overmarine, also emphasizes versatility in choosing aluminium. “The use of aluminium is simply due to production reasons and investment,” says Frediani. “The lengths of hulls measuring over 40 meters and the expected number of units being built (just a very few, and non-standardized production) combined with the high level of customization required make aluminium the most suitable material, both economically and for the time to market as it requires no models/mock-up or moulds. Aluminium matches more the requirement of the market today and that is why we also selected aluminium for some of our new models.”