Power & Motoryacht: How does your passion both for boating and business feed innovation?
Bentley Collins: I suppose I like what technology does for us in our everyday lives. New smartphones, new tablets, new laptops, Fitbits, you name it. The rate at which technology is advancing and the ways in which it changes the way we live needs to be a focus or the boating industry. Families are different today than they were ten, twenty, and fifty years ago. Not unusual for both parents to work and for families to see each other rarely at the dinner table. Kids’ sporting activities are now a seven-day-a-week thing. So time on board the boat is precious and it has to be meaningful or we will lose participants. We need to sell the family bonding experience and the adventure of boating and technology can be a large part of that.
Power & Motoryacht: What lesson from your past has helped move your business forward?
Bentley Collins: The boating business has certainly had its ups and downs over the last 30 years. My lesson was that companies need to invest during downturns. It’s difficult when sales drop but the only way to change that is to create new and exciting models that customers will want to purchase. Sitting on the sidelines, as many builders did during the most recent downturn, costs market share. We made significant gains during the GED. It was not easy but we did it and we were able to retain our core workforce by doing so. Our sales dip was very short lived by comparison to those on the sidelines.
Power & Motoryacht: How will your products change to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace?
Bentley Collins: Our Sabre range is growing in size from 54 feet at the upper limit to 66 feet with the introduction of the Sabre 66 Dirigo. That giant step takes us to a new place in the market where imported boats from Italy, the UK, and from Asia have dominated in the past. Taking the Sabre range from a 16-foot range to a 28-foot range is very significant. There are many opportunities within that 28-foot range that can be exploited over the years to come. Also, the fly bridge market has taken an upward swing for us and we are now offering bridges on all of our models except the 38.
At Back Cove we continue to focus on the 30- to 41-foot range because that suits our single-engine applications best. There are opportunities within that range that we can look for in the years to come as well. The Back Cove range has a life all of it’s own and we are very pleased with the success of the single-diesel-engine concept.
- Builder: Sabre Yachts
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.