A US debut from this Taiwanese builder, the E56 is an attractive and compact yacht that boasts great use of interior space. The generous aft deck leads into a salon, dining area and open galley. A large windshield and side windows allow lots of natural light to pour inside and keep the boat open to the sea.
The Portuguese called it Formosa, or beautiful. Taiwan, with its miles of coastline and offshore islands born of ancient volcanic activity, may sound like an ideal place to keep and operate boats, but despite its enviable geography and long tradition of boatbuilding, Taiwan has yet to develop local yachting.
It is hard to believe when watching the energetic and trim CEO of Horizon emceeing on stage that the company he founded is 25 years old this year. John Lu, a naval architect who steered his company through a successful course of continued expansion and diversification, marked this milestone with a lively party showcasing the yard’s varied production at its Premier shipyard.
Kha Shing was founded in 1977 and remains a family-owned shipyard. Since inception, the builder has delivered more than 1,000 yachts. Its current order book lists 18 yachts, including nine vessels being built for Fort Lauderdale-based Hargrave Custom Yachts. Since 1985, Kha Shing has built its own yachts under the Monte Fino label.
It can be overlooked as merely utilitarian, but Aritex takes pride in all the stainless-steel hardware it has built for many of the world’s outstanding yachts since the business started in 1983 in a small rented space. Today the company has three locations and employs 300 people in tasks from design and engineering to steel polishing.
We took a side trip to visit President Yachts, which is located on Jiangjun Boat Harbor in Southern Taiwan. Founder Eddie Yeh, who was a pioneer in the Taiwanese boatbuilding industry when he opened his doors more than 40 years ago, built this facility seven years ago on a deep harbor.
Johnny Chueh, who has headed the Ocean Alexander group since 1999, is a creative thinker and a man with a head for numbers. He is building a multifaceted company in which yacht manufacturing represents only about a third of the group’s revenues. These days, Ocean Alexander has its own dealerships in its main export markets and owns waterfront real estate in key areas.