South Korea, the world’s second largest commercial shipbuilding nation, is now turning its attention to superyachts. Two yards are lined up to start building craft of 30m (98ft) or more and negotiations are underway with potential buyers. This new initiative is being led by Overing Yacht Design based at Ocean Springs in Mississippi in association with a number of brokers such as United Yacht Sales in Florida.

The two yards concerned are the Hyundai Yacht Co and JY Shipbuilding Co Ltd. The former is an established builder of smaller yachts such as the Asan 12.8m (42ft) and 13.7m (45ft) motoryachts. JY Shipbuilding, which will be renamed to reflect its yacht activities, is an existing commercial shipbuilder with the capacity to build yachts up to 152m (500ft) or more.

Earlier this year a deal was agreed between Overing Yacht and Hyundai Yacht Co to build two designs in excess of 30m (998ft). The designs are the Mariner Explorer which ranges up to 35m (116ft) and the Allegro 30 design. Hyundai is not a direct subsidiary of the huge commercial shipbuilder of the same name but is owned by an executive associated with the larger group. Hyundai’s facilities need to be expanded to cope with building larger yachts and this is in progress.

As to JY Shipbuilding it has now been decided to build a spec boat hull of around 36m-37m (118ft-120ft) either of the Explorer or Flagship designs. The plan is to build this and have it fitted out with the intention of it appearing at the 2012 Miami boat show.

Trent Palmer of United Yacht told SBN: “The decision on the design at JY will be made shortly and I am talking with three potential clients for this boat. It is their first yacht but they have the facilities and the funding to build it.”

In respect of the Hyundai agreement, he says: “The deal is done and we are talking with a couple of possible clients. One of these is interested in an Overing Mariner design and currently we are considering a 107ft craft. To be the first to build a superyacht in Korea takes some discussion but I have no fears over quality. There is also the price difference, which is about 25-30 per cent per cent. Hyundai is interested in building up to about 150ft.”