NAUTIKA

PEARLSEA YACHTS

Pearlsea Shipyard is a leading Croatian yacht builder, and they also successfully sell and charter luxury boats. For years, modern design, know-how and passion for ship building have been creating an enviable level of comfort of their vessels, to the great satisfaction of their customers. Mr. Stipe Nevistić, Founder and CEO of Pearlsea Yacht, comments on the challenges that shipbuilding in Croatia is going through and what it feels like to be side by side with the world’s major brands


NP: The Pearlsea Yachts brand can boast of a whole decade of successful business, both on the Croatian and international nautical scene. When you look back on the past years, what are you especially proud of and would you change anything?

If we look at the situation in the nautical sector over the last ten years, especially in the building of new vessels, we can see an improvement in the overall situation after the 2009 crisis. In that period, in which no new ships were built and sold, we managed to build our charter fleet with a base on the Makarska Riviera in a significant number, so we financed some new projects through charter revenues. Thus in 2014 we released the first unit of the 31 HT model and then upgraded that model with the Coupe version in 2015. Namely, we had a buyer from Switzerland who wanted the 31 HT model, which in the standard version has a tarpaulin top above the cockpit, which is great for hard top versions in the Mediterranean climate.
However, as the weather on the Lake Zurich is different and it can change from rain and wind to sun and clear skies in a single day, the buyer wanted a hardtop, so that everything could be closed and the interior could be, if necessary, heated or cooled. One of the options was to make a sliding door, which is the usual solution on such vessels, however, the buyer wanted to have the entire cockpit completely open or fully closed, if the weather conditions were bad. As 50% of the space is always closed with sliding doors, the idea of a sliding doors was abandoned. After thinking how to solve this issue, we came up with the idea to completely lift the door under the hard top (something similar to an old garage door).
The buyer liked the idea very much, so we put it into practice. The first such door was for manual opening and closing, but on the subsequent units the system evolved into electric with remote control, so we are currently the only manufacturer of such a cockpit door system. After the successful presentation of the model 31, in 2019 we developed a new model of hard / coupe top version of the boat of 40 feet, which also proved successful, featuring a spacious interior in a version with two or three cabins, as well as a spacious cockpit for a whole day on board.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: We are witnessing development of small shipbuilding as one of the few industries that offer genuine Croatian products to the domestic and foreign markets. How difficult was it to go beyond the borders of Croatia?

Our vision and decision to work on vessel production in a way that we do not go in large series, but to dedicate ourselves to quality with a competitive price, has led to us being recognized as a shipyard that offers a personalized approach when ordering vessels, where the customer participates in the choice of materials, but also in everything that is technically possible to perform in order to get a boat that the future user will enjoy. Our customers are mostly from Europe and many of them gravitate towards the Adriatic, where we provide them with excellent after sales service, and that is also one of the reasons why they choose our boats, regardless of the strong European and global competition. Our charter base also helps us a lot, inviting potential buyers to come and test the boat for one or more days, to make sure of its performance or to see if they want to change something when they decide to purchase one.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: You are recognised by extremely high quality boats and innovation. What are the features and benefits that make the Pearlsea Yachts brand stand out?

As i mentioned earlier, our goal is customer satisfaction, so in achieving this goal we adapt to their requirements as much as possible. It is not possible to change a lot with the so-called “big” builders, because their way of production does not allow the level of flexibility we have, building smaller series of higher quality. In the building process itself, we use the latest vacuum infusion system with epoxy and vinyl ester resins, in order to obtain a lighter and stronger construction, and we buy equipment by the world’s most famous manufacturers of nautical equipment. As for the engine, we work with reputable manufacturers such as Volvo Penta, Yanmar, Mercruiser and others. We were one of the first to implement Volvo’s IPS drive with joysticks in the production of 56-foot models. Today, joystick is almost a standard for our customers, where the technology helps them to maneuver easily in marinas, without much stress. We know that sailing into and out of a marina is the most critical moment when sailing, and that is when the importance joystick comes to full light and maneuvering the engines is done exactly as it moves.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: It is well known that you make small and personalized series of boats, which indicates a desire for quality. How long does it take to build a boat, in today’s specific conditions – from the draft to the finished product?

When developing a new model, this process lasts from two to three years, with nothing visible happening at the beginning. First, the idea is analyzed, the designers are consulted and the option that has the most positive reviews is selected. After that, we go into computer 3d modeling, then real 3d modeling with 5-axis cnc machines, making a mold for each individual part of the boat and, finally, making a prototype. All stability and buoyancy characteristics are tested on the prototype to confirm the assumptions and calculations done by the computer. As you can see, the process of making a new model of a vessel is quite long and demanding. After everything has been confirmed on the prototype and all the necessary certificates have been obtained, serial production can begin. In boatbuilding, production time varies depending on the model and the degree of equipment, so we need three months for the 31 HT model, and up to a year for the 56 Coupe model.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: You do everything according to the customer’s wishes, what is the most unusual request you remember?

As the most unusual request, I would mention installing of a Finnish sauna in one boat of the 56 Coupe model. At the place intended for the skipper’s cabin, this Russian client decided on a sauna. After consulting with the sauna manufacturers, we managed to rearrange the desired space according to their suggestions. Although it was necessary to rearrange electricity, water, insulation, ventilation, and so on, in the end we succeeded. After the delivery of that vessel, we received an order for another one with the identical request. This is proof that the effort is worthwhile and that you should always try to satisfy the client’s wishes.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: Pearlsea presented its attractive models Pearlsea 31 Hard Top and Pearlsea 40 Hard Top at the 23rd Biograd Boat Show. The general impression of this nautical event is the record attendance. Our team noticed, during their stay at this event, a great interest in the sea trials of your models. Are you satisfied with this year’s show and business?

At this year’s Biograd show, we presented our latest models 31 HT and 40 HT, knowing that this is the segment and size of the boat that is in demand today. It is also my impression that the event had a record attendance. Our sales team numbered eight people and they had someone to talk to or take for a sea trial all the time. The result was the sale of four units right there at the event. Although it is rare for contracts to be signed at the fair, this year it coincided, so the contracts were signed literally at our stand. Therefore, we can conclude that this year’s Biograd Boat Show was successful and productive for us.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: The pandemic brought great temptations all over the world. In your opinion, has there been a lot of ”redirecting” in the nautical industry, especially when it comes to small shipbuilding?

An interesting question… It would be logical that in a situation where most companies are closed and the circulation of people is reduced, the interest in sailing, and especially in ordering new boats, is reduced. However, what happened was exactly the opposite – the books of orders have never been more filled, so we are already fully booked for production for 2022 and we are currently taking orders for 2023. The probable reason why people decided on a new vessel due to the pandemic is the desire for freedom and escape from the crowds. A family stay on a boat was recognized as the best option, and sailing from bay to bay and visiting islands really does not pose a big risk in these times.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: Pearlsea Yachts is also a charter agent. Currently, due to the specific living conditions, yachts have been ideal places to escape from the crowds this summer. Did you manage to meet all the inquiries and which vessels were especially in demand?

As everyone knows, in the tourism industry the year 2019 was presented as the best so far. However, according to our indicators, 2021 exceeded the results from 2019. This summer, there was always a demand for one more vessel, especially at the peak of the season. We currently have five vessels in the charter and our plan is to keep the fleet new and increase it slowly. As we are also a boat builder, all our charter boats are always for sale. This way it is also acceptable to the buyers because they buy a boat that is, after a year or two of being used for charter, more affordable for them than ordering a new one. This is also acceptable for us because we start building a new vessel immediately, so that the fleet is always new and our production capacity is full.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

NP: In what direction do you wish to develop the Pearlsea brand in the years to come?

You can expect more new models and presentations from us, so in the years to come we will surely meet each other at boat shows and do sea trials and record materials. The short-term plan we are already working on is a 42 or 43 foot flybridge model, but also a 35-foot HT Coupe, which will be realized in the coming period. It is possible that we will try out some new models, completely different from the current ones, but we will present them when the time comes for that.

Stipe Nevistić
Managing Director at Pearlsea Yacht

Contact: Pearlsea Yachts

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