At Moonen Yachts, we believe excellence is the result of close collaboration and strong relationships with our customers and their trusted advisors, such as their brokers. So, how do yacht brokers think we are doing? Do we live up to our Dutch reputation for being transparent, rigorous and highly organised? Neal Esterly of Fraser Yachts kindly agreed to share his experience of working with Moonen (reading time 10 minutes).
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Neal Esterly. I’ve been a Sales Broker at Fraser Yachts for over 30 years and I’m based in the San Diego office. I have clients who are halfway through the build of a 36.3m Moonen 119 Martinique for delivery in 2024.
How well did you know Moonen Yachts before this build?
This is my first build with Moonen Yachts. Before the sale, I was familiar with Moonen, I’ve been on board many of their yachts over the years. Colleagues at Fraser had built with Moonen in the past, so I knew about the quality of the construction, but I had never been to the yard. I had heard about some of the past issues with the yard’s previous owner, so I had questions about their financial situation which we investigated. We found the current owners very good, very committed with deep financial resources and committed to good customer support, so we felt comfortable with Moonen.
What were your clients looking for in their new build?
My clients had enjoyed smaller boats in San Diego, California, then about three years ago I sold them a new 102ft Italian fibreglass yacht, which was their first large boat. It was designed primarily for fast coastwise cruising.
About 18 months ago we started looking for a more capable yacht so they could do more extensive cruises. The size was important because they wanted to keep the boat at a specific location which had a 119ft limited length. My clients had quite an open mind about the builder as long as the quality and styling was there. I went through all the established builders, looking at my clients’ requirements and boiled it down to two yards for them, of which one was Moonen.
What made your clients decide to build at Moonen Yachts?
The clients desired to build at the very best yard in their size range and type of yacht. We had discussions about European and US yards and quickly narrowed it down to Dutch builders. We went to the Netherlands to visit the yards on the short list. Actually, my clients had not heard of Moonen before, but they quickly recognised that Moonen yachts are obviously very well built, with a corresponding reputation, which was important for us. An added bonus was that Moonen had a build slot available in the size we were looking for.
Our meeting at the yard was organised and went very well. In Palma and then later in New Jersey the clients were able to go on board recently built sisterships, which I think helped them to better visualise how they would enjoy the spaces on board. It took some of the mystery out of building a boat and made them even more excited about moving forward with a Moonen build.
How do you find working with the Moonen team?
We are Americans, so anywhere outside the US there are cultural differences to reckon with. Actually, I find this aspect both enjoyable and at times challenging. For sure it would be the same for a foreigner building in the US! The Dutch certainly have their methodology, which we were cognisant of. During the contract phase, Moonen was thorough with the language and terms used.
The flip side is, once the contract was signed, they immediately began the planning for the project. The team at Moonen have been absolutely fantastic to deal with. Moonen’s approach to the build process is very organised and calm. They show great attention to detail and the communication has gone very smoothly. I feel this has to do with the size of the yard; they efficiently manage their projects and seem to not overcommit their resources. It’s not the chaos you see going on at some big volume yards with high levels of pressure to build a large number of boats.
I’ve been impressed by Moonen’s clear communication with all parties involved of the specific build details, modification requests and progress. Lastly, something which is appreciated by the clients, their captain and technical build representative, is Moonen’s unwavering determination to build the best quality with the best possible engineering. So far, across the board, the entire team at Moonen have been a delight to work with thus making it a very enjoyable and memorable experience.
Are your clients enjoying the design and build process with Moonen and the interior studio?
It has been a real joy for the clients to be involved in creating their interior. Hollander Yacht Design have been both creative in their design and material used, while listening closely to what the clients want to achieve. The clients have been more involved than I anticipated, so obviously they are having a great time with the creative process!
Would you recommend Moonen Yachts as a yard that delivers on its promises?
From my perspective, I can firmly recommend that Moonen be on the short list of anyone considering building a quality yacht in Moonen’s size and price range.
Find out how to contact Neal Esterly on the Fraser Yachts website.
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