RAAMSDONKVEER _ Marcel Pols has been making luxury trawlers, yachts, canal cruisers and ‘coast hoppers’ from the day he launched his company, Altena Yachting, in 1969. Making robust, go-anywhere craft of up to 25m. _ rated for inland, offshore and ocean waters _ “was actually my father’s philosophy. We continue to build on that today,” says Pols.
He operates in a very competitive market and knows his strengths and weaknesses. “I only build boats,” says Pols. “That is what I do best. I’m not a salesman. I leave selling to others.”
That approach works well. Altena Yachting builds 2 luxury yachts a year _ 1 from its range of Altena yachts, the other for other yards. It recently rebuilt, for a Swiss client, a 1960s trawler, turning it into a state-of-the-art, arctic expeditions yacht. And he delivered to Vryburgh Yachting of the Netherlands a 19m seaworthy Vryburg PB 63 (left). Next Spring, Pols will send to a German client, a 15m aluminum Altena-50 semi-displacement yacht.
His portfolio spans 4 dozen luxury yachts, including the Lynx Yachts’ innovative (right) YXT series _ support yachts that can carry tenders, toys, sail boats, waver runners and accommodate 4 guests.
Pols sees yacht builders in the Netherlands and elsewhere working with tight margins. It makes him wary. “Customers have grown demanding. A 12m yacht must have 2 toilets,” he says. “Just like a 15m one. That makes the 12m yacht more expensive to build.” He caters to other yards that “come knocking on our door. They have good ideas, but lack the right facilities. Still, we cannot afford to wait for clients to walk in through the front door. So, we have arranged for other stuff to do.”
Althena Yachting also runs a marine wholesale business, runs a maintenance and refit hall and, soon, a used boat brokerage. In September, his yard will get 50 new berths for the yacht business.