At the end of July, the spa town of Sopot in Poland attracted a lot of attention from yachting press from all over the world: Galeon Shipyard, the leading Polish motor yacht builder, hosted its first ever press tour.
Galeon has a history of 36 years.
The company was founded back in Soviet times by a couple of Kobyko. They opened a small production of small fiberglass outboard boats under the brand name Galia near Gdansk, in Straszyn, and these boats became particularly popular with customers from Germany. Today Galeon builds open, flybridge and sports boats up to 25 meters in size. Three years ago the company entered the American market. In 2017 the number of hulls produced by Galeon was 150.
The shipyard made a quality leap under the guidance of Jacek Kobyko, the son of the brand founders, who attracted star designer Tony Castro to work on the boats.
Castro has introduced many innovative elements that have become the symbols of the brand - folding boards, a fully enclosed hardtop sports bridge, a sofa in the cockpit that rotates 180 degrees. Soon the shipyard became crowded within the historical walls of the factory in Strasina, where there was only a 20-metre long test pool imitating heavy rain, and the shipyard acquired a company on the Vistula with access to the Baltic Sea.
Test drives of the new Galeon models started in a small marina adjoining the largest wooden pier in Europe - Sopockie Molo. With particular interest were waiting for the Galeon 650 Skydeck - the new model, the world premiere of which will be held in September this year in Cannes. Until the last moment it was not known whether the boat would be completed by the deadline - the builders were off schedule for a couple of weeks and worked on it in shifts on 24/7.
While waiting for the 650th to arrive, we spent time with Galeon's production director Grzegorz Tuszynski, discussing unusual customer preferences:
«What is the most unusual order? One day we were asked for a 560 without a motor. A client from China needed a boat to show it to his guests, but he was not going out to sea. A client from Russia once ordered a 550 in a gold hull. Another man asked to make a living room for playing cards instead of a master cabin. He wanted a gentlemanly club on the water».
Galeon boats are assembled by hand at two of the company's factories near Gdansk, so the shipyard offers customers quite a wide range of customization options. The company aims to order as few components as possible from third parties. Almost all parts for boats are made on site, even the plywood for furniture is glued together by themselves.
Galeon's pride is the thickness of the teak used to cover the decks: surprisingly generous to date, 7 mm. This kind of teak can probably withstand even a high-pressure wash.
Our conversation was interrupted by welcoming beeps - 650th entered the harbor. The boat is built on the same hull as the 640 presented at the beginning of the year at Boot Dusseldorf, but instead of the flybridge it has a compact sports bridge, which can be completely closed with a retractable hardtop electrically - as in Convertible cars.
Unlike the 640th, neither a large sunbed nor a bar counter could fit on the skydeck of the 650th. However, the area of the sports bridge was enough to place a large U-shaped sofa around the dining table, a couple of smaller sofas and two extra seats next to the pilot's seat.
The Galeon 650 Skydeck is a real transformer.
It's all on the buttons - at the touch of a button, you can turn an outdoor sport bridge yacht into an enclosed one, arrange a huge party area with two bar counters by folding the folding boards, or arrange an open-air cinema by lowering the glass separating the cockpit from the salon and extending the plasma screen built into the kitchen worktop.
The cabin has a direct access to the nose: the middle section of the windshield goes up and is completely hidden inside the hardtop.
An elegant solution that took Galeon engineers over a year to develop. All superstructure columns under additional load are reinforced with carbon - a stronger, lighter and at the same time more expensive material than Galeon's traditional fiberglass plastic.
The nose seating area is also transformed: two sofas and two tables are transformed into a huge sunbed and back with a light movement of the hand. At the exit to the nose hides a wind-bar with a fridge and an ice maker, so that you do not have to wear cocktails through the entire salon. It seems that the designers have provided all possible options for rest on board.
Another innovation of the 640th and 650th models is the unique layout of the lower deck: three absolutely equivalent full width cabins.
Each cabin is equipped with its own bathroom, and the bow cabin has a separate entrance. There are other possible layouts - a three-stateroom with a supermaster (there are only two of the three full-beam cabins, but the owner's suite is larger), a four-stateroom charter version ... I'm sure that if you want to make a room for karaoke or casino instead of several cabins, Galeon specialists will realize these desires as well.
With 1,000 HP Volvo Penta D13 engines, the Galeon 650 Skydeck accelerates to a maximum of 30 knots in 25 seconds, while 10 knots are used for planing. The first hull is equipped with top-of-the-range MAN 1200 and reaches a maximum speed of 35 knots. The glass glass left on the table in the cabin will not move at maximum speed - the boat is equipped with Seakeeper stabilizers.
The Galeon 650 Skydeck will be available live at the Cannes Boat Show in September. Or right now, in our video review.
In Cannes, the boat is expected to be nominated at World Yachts Trophies for its innovative design. The Galeon management is confident - and not without reason - that the Galeon 650 Skydeck has every chance to win this prestigious award.