Alunaut Expands its Product Range, Increasing its Share of Working Boats06.01.2017
Alunaut - an aluminium boat producer situated on the island of Saaremaa - started as a subcontractor of Swedish companies and, over the years, has grown into an independent boatyard. The aluminium boats produced under the brand AC (Alunaut Craft) range from 3.9-metre fishing boats, to working boats of up to 9 metres in beam.
The product range also includes inflatable RIB-boats with aluminium bottoms and, increasingly, the company is taking on special contracts for the police force, rescue services and other public organisations from various countries. According to Mark Muru, Executive Manager of Alunaut, the company aims to produce sturdy and secure high-quality boats. ‘The main requirement of our boats is to be trustworthy, safe, robust vessels for users in all kinds of weather conditions. At the same time, we offer all the basic comforts: speed, enjoyment of the ride and top quality additional equipment. Of course, this increases the cost of the boats, but boats which are meant for active use need to be of high quality,’ he explains.
Alunaut started to develop its own product range in the winter of 2012-2013, having already had several years of experience in boat construction and repairs. The first bigger contracts were aluminium boats made for the Swedish companies Vector ProBoat, Hanterbarabatar I Gräddö AB and Aevotec AB. The company still carries out subcontracting work for Swedish companies, but nowadays the emphasis is put on the special boat models developed for Alunaut.
To date, the biggest and most complex project for the company has been the 60-foot aluminum expedition boat ‘Journeyman 60’, built in 2009-2010. This boat was an ice-safe vessel designed for sailing in polar conditions. The company is currently working on another largescale special project. Mark Muru believes that such contracts help the company to raise its work quality and provide valuable experiences as well. Although in its earlier days, Alunaut worked together primarily with Scandinavian boat architects in developing new boat models, the company has also given birth to a new generation of local boat engineers and designers.
Mark Muru, on the experiences of Alunaut in recent years
‘2016 was the most difficult year for Alunaut since the beginning of the company. Setbacks started at the end of 2015 and continued to the fourth quarter of 2016. However at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2016, there seemed to be an overnight re-opening of our market and, practically in two or three weeks, we made record contract volumes for 2017. Next year we, expect a 70 percent increase in turnover. Such rapid growth necessitates expanding our production capacity, and here the biggest challenge is training new people quickly. We have had great cooperation with educational institutions on Saaremaa and we are likely to approach them again.
Intense marketing work has led to a moderate increase in the sales of consumer boats, and we can also see growth in the production of smaller working boats. After a long time, we also have a new large and expensive special project in our portfolio. One of the more exciting projects in 2016 was our first catamaran, the measurement boat ‘Kaja’, for use in shallow waters, produced for the Estonian Maritime Association and which carries the product code Alunaut U-Cat 700 HSV in our product range.
In 2017, new pleasureboat models AC-18CC and AC-18XC are due to complement our product range. The RIB-boat family will include Alunaut A6 RIB, meant for the consumer market. These new boats will be exhibited at the Düsseldorf, Helsinki and Tallinn maritime trade fairs. We will also deliver a more than 11-metre speedboat to the Swiss Police Force and a RIB A7 to German rescue services. We are expecting another contract from the Finnish Military Police, to whom we have already delivered five patrol boats and who have expressed their interest in additional supplies. As a special order, we will complete a 1600 hp speedboat by the end of the summer, and this boat will be used by a client on the Mediterranean as a recreational boat.
Currently our significant markets are Estonia, Finland, Germany and Switzerland. We are trying to enter or secure our positions in Norway as well and we are also looking into opportunities to enter the Swedish market with our own products. The biggest innovations of 2016/2017 which we will present at the
European maritime trade fairs are C-14L, AC-18 CC and Alunaut A6 RIB.
C-14L (light duty) is a simple aluminium fishing boat meant for navigable inland waters and sailing in coastal waters. This light but robust 4-mm aluminium boat is primarily suitable for hobby fishermen and boating enthusiasts.
AC-18 is a bit larger recreational boat meant for private use, which is also able to be taken on longer sailing trips. The body of the boat, initially meant for police- and military use, has been adapted for family- and hobby purposes.
A6 RIB is built for demanding users who wish to purchase a seaproof, working boat, but not pay as much as for the large Alunaut model A8 RIB. This boat is suitable for demanding private users, but can also cope well as a maritime rescue or -patrol boat. Due to its optimal measurements, the boat can be easily transported on a trailer and set into water rapidly, where necessary.’