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Graduates propel Tasmania onto the luxury yacht scene

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Andrew Fearman and Matthew Craze

Two Australian Maritime College graduates have sold their first luxury yacht after spotting a gap in the market for tailor-made vessels.

Matthew Craze and Andrew Fearman set up Van Diemen Luxury Craft in Launceston, Tasmania, where they met as undergraduates almost two decades ago.

Matthew explains that the pair were working overseas as superyacht engineers when inspiration for the business struck.

“We noticed that most superyacht tenders didn’t meet all of the client’s requirements, particularly for specifics like transporting guests or food stores, as well as other pursuits such as water sports.  

“Andrew and I share a passion for boats as well as problem solving, and we thought we could fill this gap – and so Van Diemen Luxury Craft was born.”

Luxury yacht

The pair patented a lifting roof and sliding glass window system that transforms the vessel at the press of a button into one of three configurations: sports, limousine or stowed.

Their unique offering was recognised when their first vessel – an 11 metre Sports Limousine – was ordered in late 2015 and delivered to a client in Sydney a year later.

While its signature feature is the convertible roof, the vessel also has a lounge facility for 13 passengers, auto-pilot, a wine fridge, bar, whisky nook and a bathroom. Twin-Yamaha diesel V8 engines, delivering 740 horsepower, provide the power.  

“We love working with the customer to design a concept that totally suits their requirements. Making it a reality for our clients is what drives us,” Matthew said.

Matthew and Andrew both studied Marine Engineering at the Australian Maritime College. Matthew explains that their studies introduced them to the maritime field – and set them up to make their mark in industry.

“In addition to introducing us to the breadth of opportunities available to marine engineers, the Australian Maritime College helped us to gain a network of like-minded people who share similar interests, which has helped us a lot in gaining contacts and leads.”

The Australian Maritime College helped us to gain a network of like-minded people who share similar interests.

Matthew says that despite its geographical challenges, Tasmania is well-placed to be a key player in the luxury yacht market.

“We made the decision to build our yachts in Tasmania because of its long and proud boat-building history. Tasmania is also an established exporter of premium and luxury products and Van Diemen Luxury Craft fits this niche.

“Our goal is to expand the business to complete multiple vessels a year, adding another string to Tasmania’s bow by building world class luxury vessels and exporting them worldwide.”

Want to design luxury yachts? Find out more about our Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture degrees.

Published on: 12 May 2017