Numarine, the European builder of high-performance motor yachts based in Istanbul, was founded by Omer Malaz. This young, dynamic group has amazed the world with its innovative design, coupled with state-of-the-art technology and quality production.
What was your pathway to the boating industry?
Prior to boat building, there really have been two sides to me: one is as a boating enthusiast, and the other is as an industrialist working in production. Thanks to Numarine, I am able to combine the two.
What is your first memory of boating?
I either remember it, or I recall it from watching old films, but I remember being on my family’s first boat build in Bodrum – a 14-metre gulet (traditional Turkish wooden sailing yacht). I believe it was when I was five years old, so 45 years ago. The boat was on a sledge going into the sea for the first time. Honestly, I would not let my children do such a thing now.
What inspires you about the yachting industry?
The sea. I love the tranquillity of it and sometimes the force of it. I try to escape to my boat as often as I possibly can.
Also, through Numarine, I can make a difference to the way yachts are built and used. We were one of the first shipyards to bring infusion to mainstream production. This resulted in lighter, stronger, more fuel-efficient (yet also eco-friendly) systems to build glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) boats. Now we are moving toward the explorer style of boat where a lot of volume and comfort is offered. This is combined with increased displacement speed and fuel efficiency as well as modern looks inside and out.
What boat do you own and where does it take you?
I have just taken delivery of a brand new 26XP. This series has two different hull and engine combinations. I chose the displacement version with a maximum speed of 13 knots, but it has exceptional range and efficiency (around 3,500 nautical miles).
In June we are doing the Turkish coast. July will be the Greek islands, August we will pass through the Corinth Channel and head to the Croatian coast then on to Sicily, Sardinia and Corfu in time for the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
In October we will cross the Atlantic to attend the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. I am planning on spending Christmas in the Caribbean and Bahamas, then attending the Miami Boat Show before returning home for the season in April. So, a very busy schedule.
Share with us your family’s attitude to boats and the business?
It is second nature to both my daughters to be on a boat and swimming. I am also very fortunate that my wife’s father was a devoted sailor, so she is also very much at home on the boat. In fact, the family is on board more than I am.
And their attitude toward the business? They love the fact that I am doing what I love most and doing so well. They are proud to be a part of Numarine, but are not yet involved in its operation.
How is Numarine different from other brands and boats in the market?
My family comes from production and I can call myself an industrialist, so from day one my aim was to build a brand that produces high industry quality and is different from the others.
We are using the latest technology and allow our clients to customise their yacht; that is one of our strongest points.
As the company founder, what attributes do you bring to the brand?
Thankfully not many realise it, but the Aegean coast of Turkey is yachting heaven. Together with the Greek islands, it is a fantastic cruising area with a lot of islands, great bays and dry but warm weather.
Having been on a boat in this area since I was young has given me a good understanding of what a boater requires from their yacht. Together with my general production know-how, we have been able to put together a good mid-size production facility and a brand.
What has influenced and informed your design choices?
The Meltemi, which blows all of July and August, is strong. It can create 3- to 4-metre waves on a daily basis so our yachts need to be robust. In addition, when cruising, we may not see a marina for days, sometimes a week. Both these factors influence how we design, produce and deliver our yachts: we need them to be solid and well built, but roomy and comfy. As 80 percent of our yachts are exported, we design specifically for the international market.
For those new to the brand, what is compelling about the Numarine proposition?
We are a performance motor yacht builder. Performance doesn’t necessarily always mean speed, however. Performance can also be measured in comfort, economy or aesthetics. We are working with the best in the industry: Umberto Tagliavini (naval architecture), Gurit (structural engineering), Can Yalman (design), Esra Kazmirci Interiors and Silent Line (noise and vibration engineering).
In addition, we offer a complete package at a lower price than our European counterparts; the customer receives great value for money.
What are the global issues that impact Numarine?
Our number-one challenge is that Turkey is not recognised as a quality yacht-building country. Contrary to popular belief, boats were built in Anatolia (now Turkey) even before the Turks, during the Greek times. We have our own style of sailing yachts called gulets that are built in their hundreds every year.
In fact, if you look into superyacht rankings, you will see that Turkey reaches either third or fourth place year after year. Built 10 years ago, the Maltese Falcon was the largest sailing yacht built by Perini Navi to date and is a very good example of what Turkey can produce. (Perini Navi has a metalworking facility in Istanbul.)
So we have a proud history, but we have to change potential buyers’ perceptions. Our products are offering a better price/quality ratio other than any other European brand. It is our duty to communicate this to the end user and educate them on this point.
How do you counter this bias?
We inform the boat-buying public through boat shows, social media and private events. In our business, nothing can compare to a boating enthusiast stepping on board for the first time, so we organise test cruises and open days. Anyone who is interested in our brand can come and visit our factory, understand our production system, our technology and our vision.
The next model you are launching to the market is the 42XP. What inspired that size and what are its main features?
Two of our existing customers (for whom we are now building a 32XP) had shown great interest in an even larger yacht. We wanted to go larger anyway, so we decided to design it in the hope that they would fall in love with it. It is actually the 45XP now. We have pushed the length of the yacht to stay just shy of the 500GT barrier and she is really gorgeous. The owner cabin on the main deck is full beam with private terrace, pool and even a waterfall; it really is a must see.
What are its intended markets?
Just like the rest of our fleet, our main markets are the US, Europe and Turkey, however I believe the 45 will also attract people from Russia and the Middle East.
What are your ambitions for Numarine in Australia over the next five to 10 years?
Although Australia is not a very big market, it is a very mature and educated one. It also has some of the best boating in the world, so it is a real pleasure for us to be active here.
We have a great partner in Q7 Marine; they are doing a fantastic job at getting our name recognised in Australia. It will take time and more boats; at the moment, we only have two yachts in the Sydney area. Obviously, the more we have, the more Numarine will be recognised.
In general, we experience a very strong loyalty to our brand: we have customers who are buying their fourth – and in one special case their sixth – Numarine. Happy customers do not look elsewhere.
What is next for Numarine in terms of innovation, investment and expansion?
Are you suggesting I reveal all our secrets? I will need to leave some for next time!