PRYDE Yachts may develop new superyacht newbuild yard (8 August 2013)

With the expanding offshore energy industy putting pressure on space at the large Yantai-Raffles shipyard in northern China, the CIMC Raffles Yachts Ltd divison may relocate to a new site close to Yantai. As revealed by IBI yesterday, CIMC Raffles Yachts has been totally rebranded under the PRYDE name. This is just the first stage in what could be a major expansion of superyacht building both at Yantai and in China.

The yard is currently building the 88.8m (291ft), 3,600gt Illusion, the largest yacht, by volume, built in China so far. She is due to be completed early in 2015 and is currently being promoted for sale through the Monaco office of Fraser Yachts. As a hint of what it is to come, PRYDE will exhibit not only a model of Illusion at the Monaco Yacht Show (stand Quai Jarlan QJ14) but also a 115m (378ft) concept which has been designed by Sinot Yacht Design which also created the interior of Illusion.

«We have already looked at a number of possible sites for a new yard,» Itay Simhony, a director of CIMC Raffles told SB. «These have included Shanghai, but the management chose a site close to Yantai. We see our niche as yachts up to 200m (656ft) or more and we have discussed a design for a 200m superyacht concept with Donald Starkey. Some $80m has been invested in the facilities and support for building the Illusion including a 100m (328ft) workshop facility. The financial strength of CIMC (China International Marine Containers (Group) Ltd) means that there is no limitations on providing the infrastructure we need to build large megayachts.»

The Yantai Raffles yard has dry dock facilities for vessels over 300m but this is used by the huge offshore rigs and other structures that the yard builds. Probably the largest yacht-related vessel built at Yantai is Dockwise’s Yacht Express which is 209m (687.5ft). CIMC Raffles took over full control of the Yantai yard in March this year and is now fully committed to being a world-class builder of large superyachts over 80m (262ft). The yacht division works in close co-operation with the main shipyard and for example all the steel work for the Illusion was done by the main yard.

The current workforce of CIMC Raffles is 200 to 250 but Simhony sees this rising to 500 or more depending on orders secured. When Illusion was first announced some years ago the plan was to build two similar 90m(295ft) yacht and this could still be done if owners are found. Two ships sets were acquired for the 90m yachts so a second set is still available.  (, 7 August 2013)

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