SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS Interview: Hugo Van Schaik, Northrop & Johnson
We meet with Hugo Van Schaik, Executive Director of Northop & Johnson Asia to find out about the Zeelander Z44 in town for the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.
Making its Asia premiere at the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS is the Zeelander 44. Founded in Holland in 2002, Zeelander is a high-end motor yacht manufacturer pushing the boundaries of form and function. We speak with Hugo Van Schaik, Executive Director of Northrop & Johnson Asia, to get his take on their Dutch partner and their plans for the Zeelander brand in Asia.
Tell us a bit about the Zeelander shipyard and how their relationship with Northrop and Johnson came to be.
We have known Zeelander Yachts and its owner for several years. The owner, who traveled around the globe with his own yacht for several years, has been boating since birth. He aspired to create the “pocket super yacht”, in terms of comfort, sound levels, ride and behavior at sea, build quality, as well as a luxury perspective. The Zeelander Z44 is the first in this range, followed by the Z55. They also developed a 164 luxury explorer.
When you see a Zeelander on the water you recognize it instantly; a Z44 cannot be confused with any other boat. The round curves of the hull, the double curved windows, and the finish of the different materials – the wood, the leather, the stainless details – is exquisite. The Zeelander range of yachts is the very definition of good taste and traditional craftsmanship, combined with all the technical features that the modern world can offer.
The Zeelander 44 is instantly recognizable due to her curvy lines. Besides making it look sexy in appearance, how important is the boat’s shape to its performance?
The Z44 offers unparalleled ease of operation and functionality. Beautifully proportioned, her high bow provides protection against waves in high sea states, while double chines deflect waves and add to the dryness of the decks. The performance on open seas is significant, and the smart design prevents slamming into waves. This smooth ride means that everyone on a Z44 can truly enjoy the pleasures of the onboard experience.
Are there any special features on the boat that might intrigue potential buyers in the region?
It is not specifically the features that make this yacht so special but the way the yacht and its equipment is designed and constructed. Every little detail has its purpose and works together as one perfect machine. Designed and built with all the possible features of a superyacht, the Z44 is certainly eye-catching and has no equal in the market. Inside and outside she is air-conditioned and the exterior is maintenance-free (no real teak and varnish, it is faux).
Describe the typical owner of a Zeelander.
Zeelander owners are wealthy, most of the time they are individualists, people who know exactly what they require and how that should be achieved. They are only satisfied with the best standard/quality of life, regardless if it is a house, car, food or yachting.
How different is it breaking into the market in Asia with a new boat, versus say the US or Europe? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced that are unique to the Asian market as compared to the rest?
In the western world, it is easier to promote such brands because people already understand the world of yachting. The market is big and quite settled, with lots of competitors. The Asian market is much smaller and people mainly know about the brands that have been already active for several years. Establishing a niche brand is challenging; however, we at Northrop and Johnson Asia are convinced that when our target group experiences Zeelander, they will understand what they have been missing.
You’ve chosen the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS for the Asian premiere of the Zeelander 44. What about this event makes it the perfect place to make such a launch?
We have discussed the Zeelander 44 market entry already for quite some time. It happened to be the right moment to ship our demo to Singapore. Besides, this event is exactly the type of event we are looking for, as it attracts the right target audience for the introduction of a brand like Zeelander.