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Echo Yachts: An Opportunity Amidst the UncertaintyBy George Bains - Superyachts.com

As the superyacht industry weathers the unforeseen storm of the Covid-19 outbreak, companies are beginning to look forward to a future beyond this crisis, and there are many reasons for optimism. Health and security have been a widespread priority during this challenging period, and rightly so, yet while many doors have been closed, it is worth taking a look at those which have been opened. Echo Yachts is one such, and an opportunity for high-quality custom superyacht projects at a remarkable rate has arisen for shrewd owners and brokerage firms…

Echo Yachts, based on the West Coast of Australia, gained international acclamation in 2019 following the delivery of flagship superyacht White Rabbit, earning the shipyard a place at the table of the most prestigious yacht builders on the planet. The 84m Sam Sorgiovanni-designed superyacht broke the mould of traditional steel monohulls that are so common for a yacht of her category. With an innovative aluminium trimaran hull and engineering platform, the yacht has been blessed not only with a proven 40% increase in efficiency, but also with increased space and onboard comfort for her Owner and guests to indulge in.

Such a ground-breaking design is only made possible by the wealth of yacht-building expertise and infrastructure available in-house at Echo Yachts. Now, astute buyers and brokers have been handed favourable circumstances for investing in bespoke new-build projects, giving them access to world-class superyacht quality at an unrivalled price and availability.

Opportunity on the Horizon

The location of Echo Yachts in Western Australia has fortunately shielded the shipyard from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Early border closures, testing and social distancing have ensured that cases of the virus in the region remain very low, and business operations have continued uninterrupted. For the superyacht industry, this means that Echo continues to be able to embark on all projects including full custom design, newbuild, refit and maintenance services. For potential investors, there is an added financial motive to pursue projects in the Australian capital of shipbuilding.

A weakening of the Australian Dollar against the USD, Euro and GBP has given significant buying power to foreign investors looking at an Australian made superyacht. At the time of writing, one Australian Dollar pays US$0.63 and €0.58. This financial advantage, coupled with the attraction of a stable region that has been less affected by the virus, has presented a unique opportunity.

Travel restrictions are no impediment to progress in even the most complex of design processes. Videoconferencing and online 3D model and drawing reviews are helping projects with international clients stay on track. For those considering hi-quality refits, paint work or maintenance, vessels can still be transported to Echo Yachts as deck cargo while international travel restrictions remain in place.

There is even the opportunity for substantial return on investment when undertaking a superyacht project in Australia, thanks to the recent opening of the country to the charter of internationally flagged vessels. Australia’s mesmerising coastline boasts untouched natural beauty and an all-year-round yachting season, ideal for Owners and charterers who wish to take yachts further than ever before.

Unrivalled Quality

Based in the Australian Marine Complex, the epicentre of Australian shipbuilding trades and expertise, the Echo Marine Group boasts a facility that cannot be matched in the Southern Hemisphere. The infrastructure comprises of an 800-tonne slipway, 8000-tonne sycrolift and 12,000-tonne floating dock that ensure no project is too great or ambitious. Fully enclosed newbuild and refit sheds of 100m and 80m speak for the yard’s repertoire for large-scale projects, however what is most impressive is the level of in-house capabilities in terms of specialised trades.

Every inch of a project can be managed and executed in-house, whether through specialist superyacht painting teams or mechanical engineering, electrical and fitout workshops. This gives Echo Yachts full control over the quality of production, leaving Owners at peace knowing that their yacht will receive the highest standard of service, engineering, workmanship and finish.

Chis Blackwell, Sales & Marketing Manager for Echo Yachts, told Superyachts.com how Australia’s rich history in both shipbuilding and the aluminium trade has benefitted modern superyacht projects. “Australia’s shipbuilding industry pioneered and has remained at the forefront of design and construction of large technically advanced aluminium and multihull vessels including international high-speed ferries, US Navy littoral combat ships and luxury superyachts.

“As a nation, Australia is the go-to place for the special design and construction know-how, can-do attitude and the confidence required to create one-of-a-kind custom aluminium and multihull vessels that perform exactly as intended in terms of superior quality, efficiency, strength and sea-keeping. This results from the culmination of many decades of research, development and constant improvement by numerous internationally renowned Australian companies.”

A Silent Disruptor  

When White Rabbit was launched in 2018, she was widely seen as an unconventional reimagining of a superyacht, breaking away from the norm of steel monohulls. The multihull design, built on an aluminium hull and superstructure, has been a silent disruptor to the industry.

A closer look at the history of Australia shipbuilding, and the design shouldn’t come as such a shock. The well-established ferry and naval industries have provided expert supply teams specialising in the construction of both multihull and aluminium vessels, and Chris Blackwell explains how this benefitted White Rabbit.

The innovation and eco-efficient hull and engineering performance credentials demonstrated with White Rabbit are some 40% ahead of many traditional steel monohulls of equivalent size, range and speed built elsewhere. We achieved this through clever design combining various existing proven technologies rather than following the crowd.”

The combination of a multihull platform with lightweight aluminium builds, devised by Sydney-based firm One2Three Naval Architects, allows an Owner to enjoy the same gross tonnage of a superyacht while greatly reducing fuel and energy consumption. Not only does a multihull form increase efficiency in the water but it provides extra space for the designer to create unique general arrangements, as seen in White Rabbit’s incredible 20-metre beam. The tranquil life onboard is not disrupted by the loud whirring of engines, as White Rabbit deploys a highly efficient power management system which allows the yacht to cruise at 12 knots with only two of her six generators in use.

“Added to this are the benefits of lower purchase prices due to our cost effective business model and in-house efficiencies, plus the large drop in the Australian Dollar over recent months which now provides the perfect opportunity for forward thinking buyers to capitalize on the many great benefits of our Australian Made vessels.”

Echo Yachts prides itself on delivering high quality full custom newbuild superyachts, and continues to work on daring and exciting projects. As Chris Blackwell concludes, “All Echo Yachts trimarans, catamarans and monohulls are custom designed to be of any size, styling, layout and included features to suit the exact requirements of any superyacht buyer. It’s what we do best.”