Today, I'm taking you on a virtual cycling tour around the bustling Antalya Free Zone. Pedaling past towering yachts in various stages of construction, each one a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of their builders. It's a sight that never fails to inspire awe and wonder.
And if you're someone who dreams of owning an Explorer Yacht, you're in for a treat. Let me introduce you to some of the top shipyards in this maritime hub, each a master in their own right.
In my lunch, I'll cycle around the Antalya Free Zone to see what's happening and absorb the vista of big yachts in construction.
It's an observation that craftsmen are proud of their work, and with what little Turkish I've picked up, I'm often invited to see their latest and greatest as they near completion. For anyone considering that distinct class of slow penury known as an Explorer Yacht, these companies in the Antalya Free Zone are worth a visit or two.
Bering is amongst the most active explorer yacht shipbuilder in the Antalya Free Zone. Alexis, the CEO, is a total character and superb marketer resulting in them owning most of the local high ground for this niche. Bering Yachts hulls are typically steel with an aluminum superstructure. Internals are well-designed and tend to be voluminous. You get some impression when on these vessels, but it comes at the expense of utility. For their smaller hulls, they seem to compete in the same space with companies such as Nordhaven or Numarine.
Naval Yachts built the XPM-78 Mobius and will soon launch her sister, Vanguard. They also have an XPM-85 under construction. Aluminum hulls are their specialty, and for explorer yachts, at least, they specialize in the long thin hulls designed by Artnautica. I think FPB updated to the 2020s. Brutally rugged and with a commercial equipment specification. Circa Marine in NZ and Arksen in the UK would be their nearest competitive designs, plus the occasional FPB For Sale.
These are the game's big boys, and the Damen yard in Antalya is part of a much larger Dutch shipbuilding group with facilities worldwide. They have created the SeaXplorer class of yachts from 60m upwards. Damen developed the SeaXplorer in cooperation with Eyos Expeditions, probably the premier exploration planning and execution service today. (If you want to have dinner on the top of Kilimanjaro, then a week in Antarctica with heliskiing dropped in, this is the company to go to.) These yachts are impressively huge; one is currently docked in Antalya, undergoing sea trials. Quite a mean-looking and superbly equipped vessel for the odd wandering billionaire. Not many competitors for Damen; they are huge and successful in the big boat market.
Sarp sits in a halfway house between the true gin palaces typified by Sunseeker, Benetti, and Ferretti and the more rugged designs typified by Bering. The last one I went on locally, their XSR-85, was also featured recently on Youtube for sale by Northrop and Johnson - good looking with a very innovative interior and engine room. The sea range was less than I'd like at some 1500 miles, so I'd put this one in the class of explorer yacht intended for the Aegean or Amalfi coast with long stops in picturesque sunset settings.
I've thrown this one as an oddity. They make various designs, mostly fiberglass in construction, with a heavy bent toward solar and catamaran hulls. No, you can't use a cat in ice, which rules out high latitudes. However, for cruising the windward islands or an Indian Ocean archipelago, you could make those voyages in silence and serenity if a little slowly.