Gulf In Class
Yacht Style|Issue 59
As Chairman of Gulf Craft, which he co-founded in 1982, Mohammed Alshaali has steadily developed the UAE shipyard into one of the world’s leading superyacht builders, now producing a huge range of boats from 31ft up to the new flagship Majesty 175.
Nick Hung

MOHAMMED ALSHAALI

Alshaali is Chairman of Gulf Craft, which he co-founded in 1982 and developed into the Middle East’s most prolific superyacht builder. He has held many international roles including UAE’s ambassador to the USA, ambassador to the Security Council, representative at the UN European Office in Geneva, and finally Minister of State for Foreign Affairs before retiring in 2008 and dedicating himself to Gulf Craft. Its dealers in Asia include Farfalla Marine (Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), B Yachts (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) and Go Boating Thailand (for Silvercraft and Utility Series).

With Gulf Craft turning 40 in 2022, how do you feel the company is positioned today?

In the past 40 years, we have carried the UAE flag all over the world, proudly displaying and selling our vessels as ‘Made in the UAE’. We have reached a stage where we see every marina in the world displaying a Gulf Craft boat.

We have started planning our 40th-anniversary celebrations and are looking forward to an exciting year. Our sights are set on further expansion of our product range and international presence, with an aim to be one of the top five superyacht builders by 2025.

How has the company evolved from humble beginnings to appearing regularly in the top 10 and top 20 of the Global Order Book for superyachts in recent years?

When we launched Gulf Craft in 1982, there was no marine infrastructure or skilled labour force available in the UAE. We were not able to turn to local suppliers for support.

Our shipyard is vertically integrated, which means that we manufacture almost all components of our products in-house, except for major machinery. This was borne out of necessity but became one of our greatest assets as it has allowed us to control each level of our manufacturing process and assure an optimum level of quality.

How has Covid-19 affected your business and operations?

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented many challenges as well as opportunities for us. At one point, the global supply chain had ceased completely, making it very difficult to receive materials from overseas.

Reduced manpower due to social distancing continues to be a challenge, but our operations team worked tirelessly to keep the shipyard up and running throughout the year and successfully delivered two superyachts at the height of the pandemic.

Towards the end of 2020, we started to see demand pick up for boats and yachts of all sizes, with many people choosing boating as an ideal way to escape the confines of a lockdown. What better way to socially distance safely with your family than out on the water!

And despite the challenges of the pandemic, in late 2020 Gulf Craft proudly launched and sea-trialled our flagship Majesty 175, the world’s largest composite yacht in production today.

Which are Gulf Craft’s major regional markets?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM YACHT STYLEView All

Wong Tet Choong - Singapore's Most Famous Sailor

TC Wong made global headlines last year when the rapid spread of Covid left him stranded at sea in his Leopard 50 for months until he was eventually allowed into Fiji, where he has remained since. Now, the adventurous 60-year-old is waiting for borders to open so he can continue his journey around the South Pacific on his beloved Ximula III.

9 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Burgess Marks New Milestone In Asia With 20th Superyacht Transaction

Confirming its position as the regional leader in selling large yachts, Burgess’ recent sale of the 52m Amels Lind marked the 20th transaction by the brokerage house’s Asia team since it was formed in 2015.

3 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Premieres & Newcomers

Yacht Style provides an overview of this year’s exciting new models, with most on display at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival and/or Monaco Yacht Show, some having shown earlier in the year and a couple making their debuts in other autumn shows around Europe.

10+ mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Déjà Vu In Denmark

Halfway into SailGP’s second season, a familiar pattern begins to emerge. Australia, runaway winners of the first series, again top the table, despite having to sit out one of the four events held so far with gear failure.

4 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Galeon Spreads Its Wings

With Hong Kong welcoming its first Galeon 640 Fly and 325 GTO this year and Asia’s latest 500 Fly arriving in Singapore, Yacht Style looks at the builder’s 20-year relationship with Tony Castro that has resulted in some of the world’s most innovative production motor yachts.

7 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

How To Build A ‘Scent Wardrobe'!

Johanna Monange founded Maison 21G in Singapore to offer customised scents for all clients and all occasions. The personal approach is proving popular, with growing understanding of how to build a ‘scent wardrobe’ and more boutiques opening around the city.

6 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Rolex Fastnet's “Coup De Cherbourg”

Fierce sou’west winds gusting 30 knots greeted 337 yachts starting the Rolex Fastnet Race, as the 49th edition of this famous offshore classic set off not for Plymouth as usual, but for Cherbourg in France, via Ireland’s Fastnet Rock.

7 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

Stepping Out Of The Shadows

As founder and Director of VP Yachts, Vivian Chan is quickly making a name for herself as the Hong Kong dealer for Italian builder Sessa, even if it appears a world away from her other role as General Manager of her family’s Sun Hing Shipyard.

7 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

From Pollution To Purpose

Former Singapore Idol finalist and TV producer Mathilda D’silva explains how the Ocean Purpose Project evolved from what she saw on and around her hometown beach in Pasir Ris.

4 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61

TECH GIANT

Camper & Nicholsons’ recent achievements include selling the 105m Lady Moura and adding the 126m Octopus to its charter and management fleets, but CEO Paolo Casani is most excited about the company’s focus on proprietary technology to engage clients in the new era.

10 mins read
Yacht Style
Issue 61