Derani Yachts operated as a one-stop shop since 2004, with owner and manager Hakan Lange at the helm. Here he paints the picture of the boating scene.
Thailand decided to eliminate boat taxation which made it interesting for a number of companies to start importing boats for a reasonable price and when boats no longer had to leave Thailand every 12 months for another country.
There has also been a connection to the residential villa development on the island of Phuket. There is a new category of people having arrived, investing on the island. And thus they want to have their toys – boats and cars – same as in their other places. And that has boosted the demand for larger boats on a larger level than anyone could have anticipated.
So the development has skyrocketed, also after the financial crisis erupted in 2008, which did not really affect us here.
Those we are selling boats to have already earned their money –they can afford fulfilling this dream of buying a boat in addition to the villa and spend more time on Phuket. One can say that among the category of buyers we have seen here on the boat show during the past two years the demand for small boats is close to nothing.
We start with 45-50 foot boat sizes and up.
In addition to that you have new markets coming in from the emerging economies. There are probably more from different Russian states than anyone could have anticipated. They have tried boating for many years in the Mediterranean, getting accustomed to a certain lifestyle, which includes that. On the other hand Phuket is getting more from eastern Russia – the Vladivostok area – investing in villas here, all of them tending to buy within the same area. Then if one buys a boat the other one must also have one. The trend goes in that direction.
There are also those foreigners opting for a boat to live on and consequently avoiding any trouble with having control over ownership of the land in Thailand.
Boat-loving Scandinavians coming over here to Asia [Hakan himself being Swedish-born ], they have a lot of boating experience; in Scandinavia especially sailors more than motor yachts. In general I have the impression that either they want to go fishing and wanting a certain kind of boat or they want to go sailing. We have boats covering those categories pretty well.
Sailing is probably not so exciting here: you either have a lot of wind or too little and often the tide wave current of a couple of knots in the wrong direction most of the time. Then sailing goes at snail’s pace, and on top of that the heat…
So it’s quite usual to see people arriving here with lots of sailing experience but after chartering a boat a few times, they come to realise the advantages of motor yachts: you just go on board and you have air conditioning and a fairly comfortable time on board.
Phuket is often a day-tour destination; people being out at sea one or two nights.
Many people have the idea of applying their complete boating experience over here with a new boat but come to realise very quickly that things are quite different – but in a quite positive way. And there we are on site with many years of experience, ensuring that things become as good as they possibly can.
And among Thais you have a new generation in leading public listed companies, where family members are now the driving force and usually with an education from England, the U.S or Australia, having the opportunities and the means to invest in a boat, but being a bit careful and starting with something smaller. They are probably not passionate about maintenance but they have cars and the other luxury items and are curious on boats, which they often also got in touch with it when they studied abroad. We have had such clients for some years and they’ve been very helpful in putting us in contact with other clients that we would otherwise never have found.
Customers’ knowledge varies – anything from A to Z. Scandinavian customers, especially, are very knowledgeable and to a large extent the most savvy. Often they just want to ensure that we are a company of the right calibre to give them service etc. The connection to Scandinavia and the tendency we have there to trust each other also helps in many ways. And sometimes there are language barriers where they feel more comfortable speaking in their native Scandinavian language.
It’s anything from savvy customers knowing the price of the boat, depending how it is equipped, and wanting more information about the marina, how to get a berth, if we can handle maintenance, supply crew etc., to people saying: ’This is the amount I have, how much boat can I get for it?’ Then one must start from the other side, asking what they have in mind to use the boat for, what period, if they have financing now or need to sell something etc. in order to get an as good picture as possible of the opportunity to sell them something, their genuine interest etc.
Continue to part II: Derani Yachts on the Thailand Boating Scene