Rayglass Boats’ Protector range of large RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) is opening new multi-million dollar markets for the Mt Wellington, Auckland-based company.
Spearheading the company’s latest export drive is their new Protector 38. A $500,00 - $1m, 11.6 metre (38 foot) RIB, the new Protector 38 is proving popular as an upmarket but highly practical tender for superyachts (luxurious private vessels over 33 metres or 100ft in length).
Released in 2008, the Protector 38 made an immediate impression in the highly critical and very competitive Unites States market. Within just months of its release, five American superyacht owners had selected the Protector 38 to be their new upscale tender and demand continues to be strong.
According to Rayglass founder and CEO, Tony Hembrow, inquiries are at "unprecedented” levels:
"We have enjoyed a lot of success in offshore markets over the past decade but the popularity of the Protector 38 has really taken us by surprise,” he says.
"We have been the RIB of choice at the last three America’s Cup regattas and over 100 Protectors were on the water in Valencia last year.
"We also regularly export Protectors to countries right throughout Europe, to Russia, Asia, the Caribbean and, of course, Australia and the Islands.
"However, with the success of the Protector 38s, we are seeing is a whole new market opening up.”
This is because, until now, the Protectors’ success has been mainly as a patrol or "official” boat, or as a stand-alone, private pleasure craft.
"What is so exciting is that the Protector is now fast becoming a ‘must have’ accessory for these large superyachts „o and the superyacht market is by far the fastest growing section of the marine business worldwide.”
There are now more metres of superyachts under construction that at any time in history and all of the leading superyachts yards have long waiting lists.
Based on this growth and the new popularity of the Protector as a superyacht tender, Hembrow believes annual sales of the Protector brand RIBs could easily top $15m over the next few years.