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Italian Shipyard quality...?

Discussion in 'Popular Yacht Topics' started by mwagner1, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    I'm painfully aware of the market situation for those lovely, gas guzzling, fast cruisers. The pain coming from not being a buyer for now; I'll watch the opportunities unfold and go by, and I'll be in when it's all over :(
    (I'm hoping for k1w1 or somebody here to provide some relief by saying how terrible and low quality they are. :) )
    There are three hundred Mangustas on the market and many Leopards and ABs. Firouzeh BTW comes with ISA's guarantee.

    Speaking of warranties, Tecnomar (or Admiral Tecnomar) advertizes a three year warranty on their new builds and just introduced two new lines of displacements from 45 to 75 meters, besides the "Impero" line recently launched. The yard has been very dynamic in recent years, moving beyond their planing types. I hope for them that they can handle it...

    Anybody knows anything about their recent boats? (IIRC they changed ownership a few years ago)
  2. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I am not going to say anything about the quality of them as I do not have any experience of those particular boats nor do I know anyone that has.

    I have once looked at 2 Mangustas for a client who was looking for a speedboat and couldn't recommend either owing mostly to what I saw as poor workmanship and secondly the brokers who were obviously about as straight as the sea in a Force 10 gale.

    By typing the above I fully expect to get a broadside from our Italian Member but that's life. I am employed by clients to give an honest opinion and I do not see the need to change that for fear of offending someone blinded by their own nationalistic fervour.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    This is an international forum. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone entitled to national pride. If someone states something blatantly wrong, then they are held accountable by those of us who know differently. Short of that, let's keep threads on topic and keep our thick skins on.
  4. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    Mangustas probably are a step below ISA, AB, Leopard.
    I really don't think I have a particular nationalistic fervor; I don't care about any yard Italian or otherwise. I just don't get it how they could all be as low quality as you find them and yet sell so many, based on looks or marketing as has been suggested. There clearly must be qualities with at least many of them.

    And I really have no difficulty accepting that they are not all perfect. I'm sure there are dozens of "horror stories" about flawed, defective boats and poor designs. Just as there are hundreds without flaws or any particular problem that don't rise to the attention.

    The numbers wouldn't hold for long if the picture were as generally negative as you make it out to be.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    They're sexy and that's why it sells. Why do Ferrari's sell when they need major maintanence done like every 5,000 miles. Nobody would use those as a daily driver. Also the Italian boats usually ride pretty good.

    However, the owners of these Italian boats such as the expresses mentioned or Azimuts, Feretti's etc etc, NEVER repair anything on them themselves and just pay the bills. So to them, they wouldn't know the difference. There are a lot of owners I work for, that never and I mean never have ever truely walked into their own engine room.
  6. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Does not any yacht owner above more or less 50 feet pay for repairing.

    Mangusta's are good quality to what they offer. I mean you cannot compare it to a Sunseeker, Princess, and the like. So much better! This also reflected in the price.
    IMO Mangusta and Leopards, and AB are pretty similar in quality.
    Then if you want to compare a Mangusta to a displacement yacht and a fully custom project you can do that.
    In that category I saw stuff build better to a Mangusta, but it was a fully custom alloy built Baglietto or an Admiral.
    Even when other down under builders, US or Northern EU builders I think they rarely manage to achieve what some Viareggio builders manage in terms of quality, custom s/cust approach, and appearance. Appearance yes because when you sit on board these yachts especially Mangusta followed by a Leopard express, manages that surrounding quality to a client which few if any other builders manage.
    Yes they manage better but only when going fully custom and building of alloy, but that IMO is like comparing oranges to apples.
    This above comment is also said by many surveyors who I had the luck to know in the past and present. Some of them with 40 years plus experience in these kinds of boats.
    DO Mangusta have there downfalls surely like any yacht, but the comments here just want to put them in the lower category versus other builders which is not the truth.
    In its segment of fast fiberglass custom, s/custom sport yachts Mangusta is among the best. PERIOD.

    And BTW I go in boat shows and inspect nearly all engine rooms of boats because I usually like more the technical side of the story, and to say the truth Mangustas engine room are among the most roomy, and easier to inspect, along with very easy engine removal with some of there models. Even some custom builds have to be dismantled for that.

    BTW I keep hearing a lot about wiring here, and funny enough the two brand new boats which took fire in the last year or so I know of where both US; a new Marquis 64 in the US and a Meridian in the UK. But somehow it escaped the radar here.
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    That might well have something to do with the thread Title. Italian Shipyard Quality.....2012?

    BTW: The client I was looking at a Mangusta for was given a Sunseeker so the search was curtailed.
  8. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    I think here the term "quality" is being used in too a broad sense.
    To me it refers to things not performing as intended. Anything misaligned or that breaks or produce undue noise or vibrations or comes loose when it shouldn't, or things that wear out prematurely. It encompasses reliability and more.

    Cramped engine rooms aren't a quality issue. They are designed that way with full understanding of the implications in order to maximize space for the owner and guests. It makes perfect sense because in the reference markets the owner doesn't maintain his boat. Is there more space in the engine room of a trawler? Yes. Is it a quality issue? Certainly not. Is it a design flaw? Not to the owner.

    High sloped windscreens and reduced visibility from the helm are design features that again are implemented in full awareness. Is the visibility better from a trawler? Of course it is. But try to put trawler type helm station on a Pershing and they wouldn't sell one. Is it a quality issue? No. Is it a dangerous feature? Maybe. Is it undesirable and unnecessary? Yes according to some but the owners like it.

    More in general, do you like better the way some systems are in a dutch trawler? And if so, is that a quality issue or a design choice consequent of different function, markets or operative conditions?

    In a stricter sense of the word and removed unrelated design choices, on balance yachts manufacturers in Italy, must be making reliable and quality products where things work as they should without undue failure rates. If they didn't they would go out of business. Their commercial success is the result of a balance of price, quality, reliability, design...

    The superiority of the higher end German and Dutch builds that is acknowledged (and envied) in Italy regards things such as consistent, better precision, closer tolerances, or more rational technical design or in some cases superior ruggdness. This leading to higher still reliability, better durability and easier maintenance.
  9. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Interesting comments ttkrule but somehow I disagree with some of your statements.

    A planning motor boat, more so a faster one which drives at about 30 knots + will have even in flat water the same stress if not more to its structure and its system a trawler will have in Force 6 Beaufort and upwards. So while rugedness can be associated for a trawler construction and systems will always be much prone to failure in a faster boat whatever they do. ON a fast boat a mistake gives the bill very fast, even if sometimes it is just a sea with 4 feet waves.
    Now how many Dutch and German builders deliver a semi production fast boat as the Italians. Little to nothing.
    Most companies in this segment are Italian, US, and some other EU countries like UK, Spain, and French. To my knowledge fast boats mostly come from Italy as express or flybridge types, and from the US as Sportfish style.
    Even when building a sail boat, a fast model which could be a semi racer has much a more delicate environment to its consturction most notably because it needs a weight limit to be light, but also strenght.

    So is this aura of better Dutch and German yachts more because they play it safe, building only custom products to order and with Class. Now that would be a billion seas question if replied.
    The Germans have some big production brand in Bavaria and that is not much of an inspiration.
    The Dutch especially in the last 5 - 10 years are offering some interesting semi custom steel yachts in the lower sizes which shows there long standing expertise with this material. The only reason while the comparison does not work well if we compare to a Mangusta or similar is that most of the productions coming are displacements or semi displacement.
    The Italians on the other hand are only entering recently in the displacement market so it will be interesting the feedback of these yachts in the smaller sizes 80 - 120 feet sizes as the new Cantiere dell Marche, Gamma Yachts, and some fully custom project as the much well talked about fully custom Mondo 50 meter Tribu.

    But just to be clear, things will always break more in a fast boat, especially the way some captains, or some owners want there captains to drive the boat in rough seas.
  10. mwagner1

    mwagner1 Senior Member

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    WOW...

    This is what I was told by my VERY knowledgeable friends...they never said in any way shape or fashion that Italian built yachts were poor, garbage or trash....what they said is exactly what you posted in your last paragraph...I would like nothing more to hear about the larger Italian builds being masterpieces of engineering and reliability....I would love to see Fincantieri's (and others) name be uttered with the same reverence that people use when talking bout Lurssen, Feadship, Oceanco, etc....let's face it, M/Y Serene is pure sex and has joined my list of favorite boats along side Pelorus, Lady Lola, Princess Mariana.....it could be at least a year before I get to build my bad lady and if by then the word on the docks is that M/Y Serene has held up and not been back to the yard for numerous warranty issues (like some yachts did a few years ago) and I had the deep scratch, I would joyfully include Fincantieri in a build/bid package in a heartbeat...

    Let's face it, Lurssen, Oceanco and Blohm & Voss have amply demonstrated that they can build the big boys and have them hold up...here's to hoping that the Italian yards do the same, because I sure love visiting Italy for the food, wine, history, people, art...would it not be molto bella to do all of that when one comes to visit the yard to see one's baby being built??? :D

    Cheers,
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The issues I am speaking of specificially are poor electrical design and materials resulting in various electrical failures, poor engineering in various aspects, and improper access to repair items that only have a several year life. I have never once spoken about form over function, which there is a lot of as well such as a 58' Motoryacht that has 2-10" burners and a microwave, yet is designed to sleep 6.
  12. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    I never said anything different. The aviation analogy was saying the same thing.

    My involvement here is in opposition to the view being put forward of Italian yachts as low quality, selling because "they are cheap", based on design and marketing by slick brokers, the yards about to go broke... That assessment is borne out of the exalting of limited examples, generalizations based on the low end, improper comparison yardsticks, terminological confusion and anti-Italian bias (the counter accusation being my supposed "nationalistic fervor")

    IMO the quality superiority of some northern european yards needs to be further qualified as follows. For all practical intents and purposes the actual advantages are limited and of a marginal relevance. By example, if you have a yacht that lasts 25 years the marginal advantages of having it last 35 are low; most will have changed it much before that. If the sound level is 35db the significance of a 34db level is of no practical consequence. The actual competitive advantage lies not in what is being accomplished over the competition, but in being "the best". The advantage is the consequent aura of superiority more than the product qualities themselves. The actual difference never gets discussed; first is first and second is second. The additional cost of the marginal advantages is also never discussed, and so the German production attracts the extremely wealthy and the "undiscerning new money".


    The entire Italian yacht industry is moving up in boat size, from planing to displacements and, I believe, going for more consistent quality.
    The northern european yards are (or will be) playing two cards: move into smaller, semi custom series leveraging the "absolute quality" image, and push the technological superiority they can express thanks chiefly to their larger company size.
  13. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    I have been asking myself for a few years how much better quality a yacht can be to cost twice as much... (Yes, twice, or almost...) And i'm comparing something like a Feadship semi-custom to an ISA custom or Codecasa custom...

    I understand that feadships are amongst the highest regarded, but there is only so much that you can over-work and over engineer in a yacht... as an owner, i'm skeptical sometimes... (Forget design becaue when you get to abt 50m your designer will be the designer, and in many cases you will bring your design to the yard of choice)...

    but seriously, check around for used prices, and if you have access new prices... Some pricing is out of this world, and i'd really like to understand it one day..... There may well be "better yards" and "less good" ones, but we arent comparing third-rate yards to top rate yards, there really shoudlnt be that much disparity imo...

    About the "big boys" one can argue that so far the large northern eu yards have more experience, so not to say italians arent capable, just not as proven yet...although more and more things coming...
  14. Telemachus

    Telemachus Senior Member

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    That's a silly reply, given the fact that Lurssen, Bennetti and Blohm & Voss were all founded in the same decade of the 1870s; if the Italians haven't gotten it together by now, when will they? How can you chalk up the "Northern EU yards" (I'll go ahead an correct your use of proper nouns, OK?) having more experience when they've all been in business the same amount of time?

    It must be something else, right?
  15. German Yachting

    German Yachting Senior Member

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    Benetti doesn't have any military experience like Lurssen and Blohm & Voss?
  16. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    None AFAIK
    Military experienced are: Baglietto, Italcraft (fast patrols) and Intermarine (minehunters). The major military vessels are all built by Fincantieri.
  17. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    The point that hopefully is getting through is that Italian yacht production is more heterogeneous than that of other countries in size, types and quality.

    No doubt some production boats are genuinely flawed or poorly thought out. Others may be designed for a different utilization or with different priorities in mind than what may seem to you.

    Some features don't look so out of place if the boat is going to be used for
    "marina posing" or as a status symbol. Some people put a higher importance on aesthetics. Many use their boats only a week a year or for a few week ends. For some it's only for partying. They will never be too far off the coast. The owner never does maintenance.

    If we factor in their use many of their features no longer seem serious flaws; they can be viewed as an even more complete triumph of functional design; the very specific function that type of yacht serves in reality.

    At the highest end Italian yachts can express a level that for all practical intents and purposes is comparable to the best northern european yards.

    New yards making smaller displacement types are:
    Cantiere delle Marche, C Boat (they made fishing / commercial ships), Gamma Yachts (new, Vripack designed and engineered)
    These types are closer to what the Dutch typically build and are supposed to be used the same way. Here you should expect the engineering, systems and capabilities of the Dutch boats.
  18. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    What is different dutch vs italian yards

    My experience with italian and dutch yards allows me to say that the main reasons for difference in quality are higher engineering and much higher design efforts and costs related to this in dutch yards. Systems are so much better built that after many years of use they still work efficiently. Most of the time material choice is also higher. As an example, İ have used italian made cranes and they all rust much faster and have frequent brake downs; but the dutch made ones seems to last much longer in better condition. This is more or less valid for most material.

    Another reason is that there is a very solid cluster of suppliers and subcontractors for systems. For example, only a couple of companies build the electric systems for most of the supryacht builders; thus the quality level, as well as product development drips down the system. This goes for building hulls, electronics, entertainment, etc..

    The last point; having spent a lot of time in italy n netherlands is very much a biased and contrivertial observation, but dutch seem to take what they do more seriously, whereas in italy saving the day is a part of the general culture.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The other issue and main issue in Italy is the tax cost of having fulltime employees. I know that Azimut and Feretti both build the boats and then sub-contract ALL of the electrical and interior. The subcontractors NEVER follow the wiring diagrahms from the electrical engineer the builder has had draw up, and the interiors are always done a little differently. Each boat gets a different sub-contractor even in the same line, and everything electrically is run differently and in a different place and of various degrees of quality if you can even call it quality, and even different parts such as outdoor light fixtures. I'm talking 100'<. I was talking with the Opecmare service center the other day, and they said on the same exact model, on one boat they'll have no issues with the paserelle, and the next boat they'll have constant ongoing issues with the install. The first Azimut they imported to the US had the batteries underneath the master bed, the problem was the woodworking subcontractor built the king size bed with drawers over them without any access at all. They had to completely dismantle the owners stateroom bed/woodwork and redo it all when the batteries went bad.....

    Parts are another issue, none of the Italian manufacturers stock anything in Italy, and their perspective dealers in the US don't stock hardly anything either. Azimut North America's warehouse looks like a propellor shop, they have tons of propellors and shafts, but very little of anything else. None of your wear parts, very little in latches and stuff that commonly breaks or light fixtures etc. I've had to wait 6 weeks for outdoor light assemblies and plastic exterior cabinet latches (that they're using on everything in their line) that are $60 or $20 each. What put Princess on the map, was Viking. Viking stocked EVERYTHING for the Viking SC's, and the dealers were good as well, and they really took care of the customer, and had a good customer service network.

    I once had the President of Azimut of North America tell me that the gelcoat underneath all of the cushions on the flybridge was bubbling because I didn't take the cushions down after every use (even though it had a 3 sided enclosure), and they didn't want to re-gelcoat the area's. This was on a less than 2 year old boat and their were a TON of cushions up there, and it took two people to get them down. I then asked him where I should put the cushions since they wouldn't fit inside the boat, and he honestly told me I should get a warehouse to put them in!!!!!!!!!! I asked him if the owner should buy a pickup truck also just to drive the cushions to the warehouse also. I proceeded to tell him that I could take him to every other yacht I manage, even a Searay and he could lift up every single exterior cushion and not find gelcoat bubbles and it was their ****** gelcoat. They finally paid to have them re-gelcoated, along with the other engineering stuff they were fixing under warranty.....These are reasons Italian boats get the bad publicity that they've earned.
  20. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    The "manufacture" of superyachts, wherever they are "constructed" increasingly resmbles that of manufacturers of "white goods" including the washing-machine you might have in your own kitchen today.

    The few differences between all these so-called "custom-built" superyachts is in how they are 'marketed', wherever they're eventually built "or assembled", the term I prefer, and how the builders manage to keep the interior / exterior designers "in-line" according to their own business philosophies...

    1) It's quite common for Dutch-shipyards to have their steel-hulls and aluminium superstructures constructed in other "lower-cost" countries including Poland. Once delivered to Holland, the shipyard/s assemble the yacht, installing the engines, ancillaries and interior. The manufacture and installation of basically all basic components is from the supplier infrastructure surrounding the builders (and the advantage to European-based superyacht builders). Feadship never produced the stabiliser system, main propulsion shafts, bridge electronics, laundry, galley, the motors, generators, beds, sofas or other furniture...in common with 99% of most "custom-build" yacht builders.?! In fact, they're just more efficient (debatable) "integrators"...?!

    2) Correct me if I'm wrong, but no Dutch-shipyard ever launched a superyacht longer than 85m to date? The German shipyards are those who've most profited from the now at least decade-long megayacht construction boom. They've managed to "down-size" in the sense of adapting their production capacity of mostly much larger commercial vessels into delivery capacity of megayachts. And very well-done too mostly.

    3) I have great respect for all the original "superyacht" builders. The Italian shipyards and CRN in particular. The Dutch yards and Feadship in particular. Both have been "players" for so long, they're like "Hoover" and vacuum-cleaners, "when it comes to luxury yachts". It's quite true that on the older CRNs, you might have had to demolish literally 1/2 the bathroom in order to change a simple shower-mixer valve, or replace the severly-blocked vacuum toilet piping running underneath the marble flooring in the master cabin bathroom. What makes Feadship a bit more special and (debatedly) reinforces and justifies their pricing, is that they will usually not budge on the space required for the engine room and technical spaces, design of which was standardised many decades ago, and why an engineer on one Feadship will always comfortably and rapidly "find his way" on another Feadship.

    4) What is not good news, are that Feadship and some of the German shipyards have introduced "customised IT systems" aboard for planned maintenance and spare-parts ordering. So far as Feadship's system is concerned, the original manufaturer or suppliers' part numbers are not available, replaced instead with Feadship's own "in-house" part number system, so that any engineer on a recently-launched Feadship has the choice of ordering the spare part through Feadship's own spare parts services, or else requires the C/E to leave his air-conditionned control room etc. to "get dirty" and consult the manufacturer's plate and forward these details if wishing to give enough detail so as to allow 3rd party suppliers to quote...?! In 2009, I had the pleasure of supplying a large German-built megayacht which required replacing some valves on the "domestic hot-water supply" aboard? The "shipyard" quoted 6 weeks delay, and the price quoted was 3 times what I eventually supplied these parts for within 7 days...?!

    5) Let's face it, given the justifiable differences in costs-bases between say, a Dutch / German shipyard and their Italian or Turkish competitors (leaving aside all the capable Chinese shipyards for the moment), it's no surprise that European shipyards are introducing the same tactics of their own componest suppliers. This usually involves reducing the sale price of the principal product (in this case a megayacht), but usually a simple vacuum toilet etc., and hoping to "make-up" for the lack of original sale profit margin by counting on the supply of "hugely-exagerrated" spare-parts pricing...

    6) "So far as German shipyards and quality are concerned", I was fortunate enough to have witnessed the arrival of their latest 147m in the port of Nice most recently. By the time this megayacht was tied-up to the quay, it took a further 90-100 minutes for the crew (and attendant shipyard's personnel accompanying her on the maiden voyage) to deploy any gangway onto the quay. In this case they concentrated on the quite beautifully-engineered gangway mounted inside the "service alcove", usually reserved for crew and provisions in the PS hull...?! I've seen many gangways in my time. But this was literally a work of art (and engineering). Unfortunetly, whatever remote-control device supplied was not opearating, so the ETO was operating the crane directly from the electrical panel and the contactors directly. This was a superyacht but registered as a passenger vessel (not even just a 36 passenger limited vessel) so I fully inderstood the actions of the Chief Officer aboard, loudly insisting on fixing the "passenger net" underneath where the gangway would eventually be deployed (whilst completely irresponsably allowing 20-30 supernumeries - you or I would call them day-workers") to board the vessel, stepping onto the port's huge rubber-fenders across the small divide separating the quay from the huge aft-swim deck...

    7) So there I was in the port of Nice for over 2 hours, almost 10AM. The gangway finally begins to move...?! I would fall asleep long before your good selves in even attempting to describe all the wonderful possibilities of this appliance. Do you remember how in paragraph 6 above, I mentionned that the Chief Officer had insisted on deploying the passenger safety net...?! Well, the German builders had installed "fold-up / down" cleats for this very purpose. As a more or less simple witness to the event, I saw the ETO (?) commence deploying the gangway (please move the refuelling tankers, otherwise we do not have sufficient space to unfold the gangway (at this time there are perhaps 5 or 6 road tankers each containing 15-20,000 litres waiting to discharge in-line)...?! By this time, airship was getting a little agitated, not merely because it was almost 10am, and he'd promised to be there by 8am but only arrived about 08.30am...?! :eek: The ETO resumes launching the gangway until airship (who has been completely ignored by the crew so far) shouts out at the top of his voice "STOP!" several times, before being considered more than a piece of trash on the quayside...?! Obviously, the German shipyard had never tested this gangway adequately and under all circumstances. Why did airship shout (why does he ever shout anyway or anywhere?)...?! Simply because when the ETO was attempting to put the gangway "base' into the full horizontal position before any futher "unfolding and extension etc.", one of the "fold-up" cleats and currently used to secure 1 side of the "passenger net, was in the process of being flattened by the hydraulic rams from the gangway - 2 options, either the hydraulics continued and did their good (or bad) work, or the metal cleat would disintegrate, perhaps like a greande sending its' shrapnel everywhere...

    Go ahead, Messieurs, please divulge to any ignorant wannabee yacht-owners[/I in case they're reading these forums, just why their future toy will cost them x (or x-30%) or whatever. So far as "engineering quality control" is concerned, I hope to have been of some use. I congratulate Feadship for insisting more or less on complete standardisation and design of the engineering systems on their yachts and maintaining high prices overall. Perhaps, (and to their great cost) the Itaians appear to be more flexible to individual owners' wishes in more areas. I'm pretty sure that most managers / brokers handling a new-build account would prefer a Feadship or German shipyard to deal with, compared to having to supervise construction on behalf of their clients in southern Europe, Turkey or even China.

    "In the beginning" (Ie. the Genesis) of the superyacht industry 20-30 years ago, were mostly Italian designers / builders and their flair. Together with the Dutch builders Feadship. There wouldn't be an industry as important as it is today without them. Everyone else, be they Apple or Samsung equivalents, are mere copycats...:D

    For over 21 years now, I've been at