MARKNESSE – Chief Operations Officer Sander Mars joined a year ago. “Eight people worked here then. This summer we’ll have 50,” he says. After only 8 years of furious growth, Vanquish Yachts has moved into bigger digs to meet growing demand for its fast motor yachts, notably in the United States.
In 2020, Vanquish founder Tom Steentjes sold 20 boats in the US. “Some people think we’ve taken on too much, but we manage controlled growth.” He is a new kid on the block, oozing bravado. “I can get something off the ground quickly by thinking innovatively and doing things differently,” he tells this newsletter.
TransEquity Network agrees. In 2017, the Dutch private equity firm provided him with capital, marketing and business planning expertise.
Steentjes recently hired a marketing person for Europe so he can focus on the US market. “We deal with Americans who own five homes, a superyacht and a fleet of sports cars. They buy a Vanquish like it’s a new summer hat.”
Already 30 or so ply the waters off Florida and the Hamptons on Long Island. In the US, Steentjes has invested in on-site services in Florida and New York. “We have a spare parts warehouse and a fully equipped workshop,” he says. “Three service vans operate as mobile workshops at marinas. We wash, polish and wax yachts. We refuel them, stock their fridges and handle any damage in-house.”
In 2019, Vanquish was the sole Dutch participant at the COVID-impacted Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. It showed a composite VQ40 and an aluminum VQ58. At and after the FLIBS, Steentjes sold a VQ58, a VQ68, three VQ40s and three VQ45s, each with Volvo Penta IPS 650 propulsion, and a VQ40 with three 450HP outboards.
All Vanquish Yachts are superfast and designed by Guido de Groot. Studio Delta does the naval architecture. At Marknesse site, an hour northeast of Amsterdam, Vanquish boasts 3,145 sq.m (34,853 sq. ft) of space. It can finish eight boats at a time. The company does not build its hulls. One hall is used for outfitting “Vanquish Superyachts,” the VQ80 and VQ115. The latter is a 35m, tri-deck, aluminum yacht, powered by 3 MTU-Rolls-Royce 2600s, good for a 53kn. top speed.
Today, Vanquish markets more than a dozen watercraft, from 11 to over 100ft. “The sizing matches that of garages in different models and comes in the same color and style as the mothership,” says Mars. All have Awlgrip paint systems and Raymarine or Garmin nav gear. Many have Volvo Penta-IPS propulsion, but other brands are available. The US market loves speed which requires massive outboards.
Steentjes: “If you put three 450HP engines behind a 40-footer, it costs about $150,000. The weight of an inboard lowers speed. We’ll soon build a 40ft boat with five outboards.”