In 1982, an ambitious businessman in his early 20s set up a boatbuilding shop in Ajman, the smallest of the United Arab Emirates. Mohammed Al Shaali, a captain’s son, had a lifelong love of the water and fishing. The first boats from his shop, located north of Dubai, were 14-foot-long runabouts for the local market. Soon, there were cruisers and fishing boats in the 20- to 30-foot range. The Middle East remained a lucrative market for the company, called Gulf Craft, for many years.
More facilities opened to handle new models, with nearly all disciplines in-house, but it wasn’t enough. Al Shaali knew that true growth meant tapping into new markets. By establishing relationships with dealers in other countries, Gulf Craft began building an international client base—except for the biggest boating market in the world, the United States.
That strategy has now changed. Nearly 40 years after its founding, Gulf Craft has a presence on American shores through its superyacht brand, Majesty Yachts, and models detailed specifically for the US market, including the Majesty 140. The sales pitch is for customization, shortened delivery schedules and a lower price point than other large-yacht builders. Al Shaali says Majesty Yachts offers “savings of as much as 20 percent compared to currently available competitive yacht offerings.”
The Majesty 140 evolved from a sistership, the Gulf Craft 135. That series saw a half-dozen or so deliveries before being retired, and the Majesty 140 adds amenities. There’s larger glass along the three decks for wider views, and there’s raked glass fronting the wheelhouse for a more purposeful profile. And, at 398 gross tons, “it’s the biggest in its class,” says Greg Terraglio, managing partner of Majesty Yachts USA.
Terraglio believes the clinchers for American customers, though, are “immediate delivery” and getting a yacht designed the way they want. He’s already sold one spec-built 140 and expects to close a contract on the 140 that debuted at this past fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. (He also sold a spec Majesty 100 that arrived stateside in time for the show.) “There’s nothing we won’t do,” Terraglio says of customizations, adding that the yard will make unorthodox changes such as putting the master suite where the sky lounge usually is. The Italian studio Cristiano Gatto Design, responsible for the Majesty 140’s interior, will also work with owners on custom ideas such as backlit stone in the master bath’s free-standing tub.
Though, it’s hard to imagine wanting to move the master from its main-deck location. A hydraulically driven balcony is off the port side, with automatically deploying handrails, giving owners an idyllic spot to enjoy morning coffee or to take in the scenery at anchor. (There can be plenty of anchorages to enjoy too, given the 140’s reported 4,750-nautical-mile range at 10 knots.)
Family and friends, of course, also get plenty of places to enjoy a respite from the workaday world. One of the nicest surprises aboard the Majesty 140 is actually two things: two fold-down balconies off the main deck aft. On most mega-yachts in this size range, guest balconies are off the salon or formal dining area, turning indoor spaces into indoor-outdoor spaces. Because most owners and guests spend their time outside anyway, Majesty Yachts chose to augment the 140’s alfresco entertaining area instead.
The builder is paying attention to what buyers want in other ways too. For example, as guests walk through the 140, motion sensors trigger lights automatically whenever someone enters a room. And in an eco-friendly move, Majesty uses half a tree for the salon and dining-area soles, as opposed to using panels from five trees the way some other builders do. Crew-only passages are hidden, including a door off the foyer leading to the master stateroom and access to the crew stairs, cabins and galley. Terraglio says that customers are “wowed when they walk on board.”
This builder has come a long way since those early days in Ajman in 1982.
Take the next step: majestyyachtsusa.com