“Without young design agencies like Fortabat Yacht Design (FYD) there would be no big superyacht brands,” Alex Fortabat tells Superyachts.com. The young naval designer worked on the exploration yacht Enigma XK (ex Norna), which won the ‘Conversion of the Year’ prize at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards.
“The superyacht industry’s niche players are experienced, autonomous and easy to find,” continues Fortabat. “Independent designers, interiors experts and even stabiliser specialists fit into almost every new build plan.”
For the dozens of boutique agencies attending next week’s Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), their value has never been higher. “The key Monaco players know I can be in Monaco or Antibes in 30 minutes, or on a plane within an hour.” Those in a similar position to Fortabat will be familiar with such a schedule. Commissions during 2014 have taken him to Qatar, Germany, New Orleans and the Seychelles.
So what ideas are agencies like FYD hoping to discuss at the MYS? “The big design topics this year are autonomy and ease of conversion.” According to the FYD chief, high net worth individuals purchasing new yachts now request 8,000km of freedom. “But there’s also a lot of well-built yachts, naval vessels and even ice-breakers already at sea,” says Fortabat. “Restructuring those has kept me in business for a decade.”
Fortabat’s final quest at the MYS is to find a yard for a potentially lucrative new project of his. “I’m working on the rebirth of the famous American brand Turbocraft. In the 1960s, these jetboats rivalled Riva in terms of cool.” Now that’s a tender that could literally fly.