What would it take to encourage the average person to learn to sail? Free sailing lessons might do it for some. Spending a day on the water with an experienced sailor might be the ticket for others. But what about the opportunity to own a fully customized yacht with all your favorite bells and whistles? Apparently, that’s what renowned shipbuilder Royal Huisman is banking on.
The Dutch company recently announced a partnership with architect Mani Frers to produce a 130-foot super yacht that can be fully customized in most non-engineering areas. The company hopes that the boat, known as the Pura, will be attractive enough to upper-class income earners to encourage them to learn to sail. Simply put, Royal Huisman wants to get more people on the water in the Pura.
It should be noted that a few introductory sailing courses would not be enough to prepare a new sailor to operate one of Royal Huisman’s super yachts. It would likely take a few years of studying and practicing with an internationally known company like NauticEd before a yacht owner could skipper his/her own vessel safely. But if you can afford a fully customized Pura super yacht, you can probably afford a few years of sailing lessons too.
An October 7 (2018) article from Robb Report explains that Pura buyers will start with a vessel for which 85% of its engineering design is already complete. In other words, things like propulsion and sail handling will be standard across every Pura produced under the new program. So what will owners get to customize?
For starters, they will be able to customize their boat’s superstructure. They will also get to decide on a hull and deck that suits their preferences. And of course, interior design is wide open as well. Buyers will work with architects and designers to produce drawings that Royal Huisman will use to create the finished product.
The Robb Report says the new Royal Huisman Pura super yacht can accommodate six crew members and up to eight guests. The boat will feature customized cabins for crew members and guests alike, along with numerous options for the deck space above. The yachts also come with a fixed maintenance plan and service support.
Have Yacht, Will Sail
From the sound of it, Royal Huisman’s new Pura yacht is pretty impressive. We’re guessing it carries a pretty high price tag as well. That leads us back to the original question of whether you would learn to sail if it meant an opportunity to buy one of the vessels. Would you learn to sail so that you could purchase a Pura in good conscience? Would you buy the yacht first and then learn to sail?
Creating a new luxury yacht in hopes of encouraging more people to learn to sail is a risky strategy. But there is precedent for it. Several decades ago, motorhome designers took a substantial risk by developing some of the biggest and best luxury units on the road. The audience for such units was limited at the time. However, the mere act of producing and marketing them stirred new interest in the RV lifestyle. Strong sales followed.
Royal Huisman is hoping to do something similar with the Pura. If they succeed, we could see a whole new generation of sailors getting out onto the water for the first time. There is nothing wrong with that. Sailing is not as popular as it once was, and anything that gets more people into the sport is ultimately a good thing.