Under new management, Moonen eyes new market

DEN BOSCH – Moonen Yachts has turned its back on recent financial woes. Its new CEO,  ex-marketing man Johan Dubbelman, is determined to grow the yard’s portfolio that spans more than 70 luxury yachts by pursuing a new strategy.

Moonen is going after a younger market with more edgy, more vibrant designs. It is not alone. The dominant theme in the Dutch superyacht sector today is how to appeal to a new, young generation of superyacht owners not content to lie idle for weeks in the Med or Caribbean.

The consensus in the industry is that young millionaires want to do stuff: visit polar regions, go diving or fishing off Indian Ocean islands or take a sub down to a reef or shipwreck.

In something of a spirit-lifting event in early June, Moonen launched the 36m Brigadoon (photo), part of the yard’s Caribbean series. The yacht will be shown at the 2018 Cannes and Monaco boat shows. Good occasions to query Dubbelman about his plans for Moonen Yachts!

He is talking to “premier designers” about a handful of new yachts that will appeal to younger, more adventurous owners. He recently told a gaggle of yachting media types from around the world, including this newsletter, that market research had led to a sobering conclusion: Moonen yachts are broadly seen as “high-quality yachts, but classical and boring, frankly.”

To fix that, high on Dubbelman’s agenda are shorter delivery times and crafting less conservative, more edgy yachts. “In the 30m to 50m range we see young clients in their 30s who want comfort, but who use a boat more for day outings,” says Dubbelman. “We are talking to prospects who are looking for a day boat.”

Moonen will remain loyal to building yachts of 30 to 50m. Dubbleman views the under-30m category as a death trap that claimed 2 Dutch yards in the past year: Storm Yachts and Jetten Yachting.

A few years ago, the launch of Moonen’s Caribbean series of high tensile steel yachts was  overshadowed by financial woes for Mexican steel giant AHMSA. Its CEO _ and Moonen owner _ cut funding for the yard. Last fall, the money tap was turned on again and Dubbelman replaced Emiel Bilterijst as CEO.