Bader Alyahya Yachts, founded in 2013 by oil engineer Bader F. Alyahya, has an unusual story. Born of a simple love of the sea and a passion for yachting, what was Mr. Alyahya’s hobby, is now a booming business. It all started by chance when, on a trip to France, a European yacht dealer suggested to his Kuwaiti client that he might like to try his hand at representing luxury yacht brands in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti engineer took up the offer and Bader Alyahya Yachts was established, writes Carla Sommers.
This year the company will be attending Kuwait Yacht Show with an even more expanded portfolio. All the brands have been chosen personally by Mr. Alyahya, many of which are picked specifically for Kuwait’s growing mid-range (30- 50 foot) market and the waters of the Arabian Gulf where, as he astutely observes, “the waves never get too high”. This means the more stable–and more expensive–big boats are not really needed. Smaller vessels he points out, also offer more privacy, you do not need to set sail with a huge staff and maintenance costs are inevitable, much lower. Careful selection of his brands is imperative he insists. “First, I have to trust and like it, then I have to check the quality and assets its advantages over others. Also, I don’t want a brand that overlaps with the others I represent like Jeanneau, Prestige, Fjord and Sealine, and the new, modern Italian brand, De Antonio. This is, after all, my hobby, not my primary business, so I want everyone to be happy”.
At the 2017 Kuwait Yacht Show Bader Alyahya Yachts will, therefore, showcase a smorgasbord of designs from across Europe including the Polish brand Galeon. Established in 1982, Galeon is known globally for specializing in the construction of luxury yachts and motorboats. The company now employs over 800 people working on an 18,000m² workshop. The company was thrilled that Mr. Alyahya agreed to represent them in Kuwait. “In fact, there is already a Lebanese dealership in the GCC, but last year they invited me to be their dealer, I was very happy. I chose to work alongside the Lebanese agents. My first order was for three Galeon models so the Polish company was ecstatic. Apart from Galeon, I am also bringing to the show a number of other brands including a Prestige yacht” he confides. Bader Alyahya Yachts is the first company to own the GCC dealership for the multi award-winning, French yacht brand Prestige. Known for their slick interiors and highly perfected hulls by designer Jernej Jakopin, Prestige has won major prizes at all the major boat shows in Cannes, Dusseldorf, Milan, and in Hainan, in South China.
A further two models will be exhibited from another favourite brand, Jeanneau. Part of Prestige, Jeanneau famously combines luxury and efficiency with top-end names in yacht design such as Camillo and Vittorio Garroni and Premorel Concept. The models at the yacht show have been chosen for their suitability for Kuwait, both size-wise and budget-wise. There will also be two boats on display from Suprema, says Alyahya. Suprema are yachts unlike any other in the same price range, because they have super yachts standards, and are built by superyacht builders. The lines of the Suprema range are unequivocally Italian; the interiors are hand-crafted by some of the finest yacht-builders in the industry. The build quality of Suprema yachts is also superlative, with the Vinylester resin used throughout, resulting in a stronger, more flexible hull, guaranteed to last longer. Carbon fiber—famous in Formula 1 for having a superior strength-to-weight ratio—is used in the longitudinal and lateral stringers, ensuring a stiffer hull.
Bader Alyahya Yachts will be showcasing the unmistakable Sealine brand at KYS. This brand is known for its luminous interiors, flexibility and style. Some of the Sealine products are the work of renowned master yacht designer, Bill Dixon, based out of Southampton in the UK, who has worked on all sizes of the boat from 120-foot custom sailing yachts to 50-foot production motor yachts.
A newcomer to Kuwait, De Antonio is an innovative Italian brand that has Mr Bader Alyahya’s eyes sparkling. With the ink on the dealership agreement still fresh, Alyahya explains how this new concept of the motor boat will perfectly suit Kuwait’s new generation seeking style and performance. “De Antonio is like the fine chocolate that goes with coffee” laughs Bader Alyahya. “It is for somebody who wants to be unique; someone looking to be different from the others”. De Antonio is also one of the companies at the forefront of today’s changing trends in yacht building. “There are huge changes in yachts, in terms, of design and function as the next generation look for new styles” projects Alyahya.“In the last decades we have been moving away from those ‘classic’ hand-made yachts with their expensive wood, glass and brass fittings, and we have embraced a style that we can say is ‘modern’. However ‘modern’ is now evolving towards yacht designs, that make use of new high-tech’ materials. We see the less bespoke craftsmanship and detailing more matte finishes; it’s a style we can call ‘super-modern’. It’s not that ‘classic’ yachts are no longer available, they are, but the trend is definitely moving towards this new direction”. And he adds, as less expensive materials are being used and production shifts to regions with cheaper labour costs, it means the prices are being kept down.
Another trend Bader Alyahya is keen to underline is the need for a more ‘Green’ mindset. He points out how solar power and renewable energy, including rechargeable batteries, must be the way forward for the sake of our planet and our children. A brand new concept that Bader Alyahya Yachts will be introducing to Kuwait soon is the brand Overblow from Italy. It transforms a yacht into a luxurious live-aboard. Overblow’s 58-foot model benefits from high ceilings, no less than five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and a dining room, all 100% Italian design. Alyahya says excitedly “I plan a very special event to launch this product. Believe me, people, will love it! Imagine if you don’t have a beach house or chalet, instead, you have a luxurious floating home, with bedrooms that are 10m². It’s an amazing concept. Plus, we made a great deal, so the price is very flexible so everyone can own this class of yacht. We all know yachts depreciate in value but if you think that the enjoyment of the entire family increases, therefore we could say there is an appreciation in lifestyle”. It is a lifestyle that Bader Alyahya clearly loves, one that he clearly enjoys so much that in just a few years, that hobby has now become an extraordinary business success.