News from the builders

Who's Who - Jay Nolan: “I really grew up in the sailing world”

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Multihulls World
– Can you tell us about your background in the sailing industry?
Jay Nolan
– It’s probably easiest to say that I’m sort of a child of the marine industry. My father was the general manager of a winch company in the 1970s, called Barlow winches. I really grew up sailing and was quite familiar with the boating industry in general from a young age. He became the president of a company that owned Lewmar, Navtech, Kenyon stoves and others like B&G electronics at the time, and that got us moving around the world, though we spent quite a lot of time in France. This unique context resulted in a real passion for the industry and allowed me to build a strong professional network - incredibly helpful when setting up your own brand. In my opinion, success comes from that passion for boats but also a true appreciation for the people that you’re working with. Suppliers in our industry are so important. There can be 10, 12, 15,000 parts on a boat and all these parts come from somebody you know, or should know…
As soon as I graduated, I couldn’t wait to start working for a boating business and I got a job with the NMMA in America (National Marine Manufacturers Association), in partnership with SAIL America. I worked on promoting the Miami and Chicago boat shows for five years, which gave me a deep insight into more of the boat builders world. I remember when the first Outremer came over for the Miami Boat Show and Sunreef making their debut in the USA with their 64’.
I then worked with brands like Chris-Craft and Monterey, which, at the time, were very much mass-produced products. But it gave me a fascinating insight into what builders can do right or wrong and how the market perceives them. I also worked for Elan, promoting powerboats, which was a great introduction to the powerboat market. Actually, my very first job was selling powerboats during my summer breaks and free time while in university. So, my career has featured various steppingstones along the way, like working for Seawind and Corsair - it was a great education.

– Then along came Makai Yachts, right?
– Yes, it all led up to Makai yachts. Starting in 2019, that’s when we launched this project, with different designs from R&D. In the end, we decided to start with the 37 because it’s in a real sweet spot for size (length, but also beam and air draft). It’s also small enough to be maneuverable and versatile, especially for a family that might not be on a $3M budget. I sincerely think that, when people come to see our new powercat at a boat show, they will feel and share our love for the industry and the sport. This should help them take the leap and make them appreciate our commitment, rather than just numbers on a random quote.
As far as Makai Yachts is concerned, we’re focused on the two biggest markets which are Europe and the USA – they have basically more than 90% of the world’s market powerboats. We do have plans to expand to Australia and New Zealand. But for the ...

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