by Jeni Bone
Integrity motor yachts are bucking the trend - selling almost as fast as their owner and designer, Brett Flanigan and national sales manager, Peter Hill can get them here. The formula is one of superlative quality and great value for money which is striking a chord with the discerning Baby Boomer market.
It’s obvious that Brett Flanagan has equal parts salt water and sales in his blood. After 26 years selling second hand boats, he thought he would retire and travel around in his boat. He decided to build his own, brought it back to Australia from China and barely arrived back before it sold.
'Over a career of 26 years, I must have sold 2500 boats, so I’ve picked up a lot of feedback over the years. People told me their boats weren’t quite perfect. Well, I took notes.'
It’s paid off. For the past two years, Brett and his business colleague of 22 years, Peter Hill have been selling Integrity motor yachts from their picture-perfect office at Sanctuary Cove. After just two years, they are already up to hull number 20 in the 350 model.
'Integrity is designed for the Australian taste and conditions,' he explains. 'It’s a displacement style boat so it’s cheaper to run. They are ideal coastal cruisers. We have people going to Tasmania, up and down the coast. At The Whitsundays they are being used as charter vessels, going to Lizard Island and back again. Our clients are raving about their safety and seakeeping ability.'
To date, the Integrity range includes a 320 sedan model ($299,000) and 350 flybridge ($399,000). 'And they all come with bow thrusters, generators, full navigational package, reverse cycle air-conditioning, VHS full safety equipment and half a tank of fuel! You just take your clothes onboard and go. That’s why they sell.'
Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, which by all accounts was pretty slow for most of the larger yacht brands, proved a boon for Integrity.
'We sold four, and I am finalising the last one this Friday! We sold two 320s and two 350s. All the big boys were congratulating us. They said it was pretty tough this year, and we were one of the only people who sold boats.'
The main market is the discerning Baby Boomer segment. 'We have attracted the 50+ group looking for a reliable, spacious boat they can explore Australia on, but we also have guys over 80 who have been around boats all their lives who say ‘I just want one’.'
This seasoned, choosy market is identifying the superb value for money that comes particularly with the 350 – the only displacement cruiser in Australia built to NSCV Survey.
'And we don’t charge to build to standard, something which nobody has been able to achieve,' Brett says with pride, adding that he stands behind every boat sold and will support owners with all of their service support and needs.
The Sanctuary Cove show was such a success, Brett says because he has the formula right for these challenging times. 'Excellent product, value for money.'
The quality is something that is really appealing to Aussie buyers. 'I have Australian surveyors in the factory in China who are building 60ft power catamarans up there. I employ them to oversee production when I am not there.'
Integrity is located in a new government precinct, Zhu Hai, right on the coast near Hong Kong, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sea Ray and Prout. 'It’s extremely high-tech. The government has established Zhu Hai as a state-of-the-art boat building area, where they build anything from trailerable boats right up to ferries.'
Brett gets up there once a month, sea trialling and checking boats.
Brett is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next 350, which is leaving the factory tomorrow and is due at the end of July. 'It may even be pre-sold. I’ll find out this week.'
At the Sydney International Boat Show he will borrow another boat, lent for the event by his most recent client who bought the 350 at Sanctuary Cove and cruised back.
Then, next on the agenda is the arrival of a whole new range, a Euro sedan in 32, 38, 46, 54 and 62 models.
'I have made a few changes from speaking with prospective clients,' says Brett. 'The hull will be the same, just the topsides and interiors changed around to fulfil different needs.'
So is there still a large body of people still wanting to get into boating?
'Oh my word yes. There are plenty of people with money, but they won’t spend it unless they’re absolutely convinced they’ve got value. With Integrity they get value for money and bloody good product.'
More at www.integrityboats.com.au