The Rise of Turkish Build with Su Marine's Timothy Grunberg

By Jenna Mehdi

European superyacht builders have in recent years dominated the field of large luxury yacht build. Increasingly though, the spotlight of the global stage is turning to Turkey, a country whose proliferation of superyacht builders and designers competing in the areas of aesthetic design and performance has propelled it into the forefront of modern yachting. We caught up exclusively with Su Marine’s Timothy Grunberg, to learn more about the yard at the centre of this rise and the secrets of the nation’s rich maritime heritage.

Can you tell us a little about the history and philosophy behind SU Marine? 
Su Marine, formerly known as Kesgin Yatçilik, was founded by Ahmet Kesgin in 1998 at a small workshop in Tuzla, Istanbul.

Ahmet Kesgin has been building boats since his childhood as is the case with many boatbuilders from the Black Sea region of Turkey. He has built Turkey’s first composite boat as well.

Ahmet met Ronald Grünberg through a mutual boat lover friend in the early 2000’s. Ronald decided do commission the build of a classic ketch at Ahmet’s shop. The yacht, named Ilios, was completed and launched in 2004 (pictured above). 

The completion of the yacht laid the foundations of a great partnership between Ahmet and Ronald. The resulting company was named Su Marine, founded in 2007 (Su means water in Turkish) - the current facility was purpose built for yacht building and was completed in early 2008.

What is the yard’s specialism (in terms of length/design/custom or model)? 
Su Marine was conceived with a flexible, fully custom production mindset. Our sheds can accommodate up to 55m in length. We can produce up to 4 large sized yachts in parallel. We do not have a specific product line or styling as we build entirely custom yachts in both steel and wood (cold molded epoxy lamination technique).

We are able to achieve great quality rivaling European yards in both steel and wood at a lesser final cost to the client while taking advantage of Turkey’s very skilled white and blue collar worker base.

What sets a SU Marine yacht apart from the crowd?
Our quality is unparalleled in Turkey and same or better than many European shipyards. We take advantage of the skilled workforce but also have a work discipline and management style that is more occidental than oriental.

Superyachts.com has reported heavily on the rise of Turkish builders on the global stage in recent years. What do you think accounts for this? 
The cost / quality ratio of reputable Turkish shipyards provides a great opportunity for clients. It is commonplace that clients sell their yachts after 10 years of use for the same or more money than they built it for. This is definitely the case for several of the yachts built by Su Marine.

Any exciting projects and plans in the pipeline you can share with us? 
We have four 40-55m projects in the pipeline, however I’m not able to share any details just yet!

Where would you like to see the industry heading in the next 5-10 years?
This past year has been a real challenge for all businesses, including ours. Keeping the workforce safe while trying to keep the business going required a lot of flexibility and novel ideas on everyone’s part. I think yacht clients will slowly start migrating to more fuel efficient designs both in the name of economy and to preserve the environment. This might be the precursor to a slow shift to meaningful hybrid or full electric solutions in the long term.

"Su Marine was conceived with a flexible, fully custom production mindset. "

Timothy Grunberg, Su Marine Yard Manager

"Su Marine was conceived with a flexible, fully custom production mindset. "

Timothy Grunberg, Su Marine Yard Manager
By Jenna Mehdi
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