- article published on September 2018 in Superyacht Investor -
- article published on September 2018 in Superyacht Investor -
You’re probably thinking about a world-class onboard chef cooking a delicious meal for his VIP guests. A good guess, but no. In fact, these two distinct universes are connected by a single family: the Ducros family. If you grew up in Europe—France in particular—this family name is a well-known brand and an iconic TV character, the product of an excellent marketing strategy that is still in popular reference today. This success can be attributed to one man: Michel Ducros.
Michel Ducros was born in Kehl, southwest Germany, in 1949, and raised in Buis-Les-Baronnies, a village in the Drome region of southeast France. It was here that Michel’s grandfather— Gilbert Ducros—harvested lime-tree leaves and lavender, to be used in herbalism. Ducros was founded by Gilbert in 1963 and quickly became a French success story. Gilbert soon became a leading culinary expert in making food more exciting, with Ducros producing more than 200 varieties of herbs, spices, peppers and seasonings. After graduating from university in Paris, Michel joined the family business in 1971, starting as sales manager and rising to marketing director in 1985. Michel was responsible for creating foreign branches in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Canada. In 1986 he was appointed chairman of the company, a position he held until the sale of Ducros to the Italian group Ferruzzi in 1992. Finally, the group was sold 8 years later to the US world leader Mc Cormick.
Always a passionate sailor, after the sale of Ducros, Michel spent more time onboard his yacht, Grand Banks. During a technical stop in Monaco, Michel was surprised and dissatisfied by the lack of craft and professionalism displayed by the maintenance service he used. Consequently, Michel chose to organise the maintenance himself and, being the entrepreneur he had always been, he disrupted the industry by establishing a new brand for a professional maintenance and refit service. And, with that, Monaco Marine was born.
Since 1995, Monaco marine has become a network of refit and maintenance shipyards for super and megayachts in excess of 180m in length. The expertise, know-how and competence in managing huge refit projects has established Monaco Marine as an industry-leader, offering the very highest standards of craftsmanship. Every year, more than 3,000 yachts undergo refit, repair or wintering at Monaco Marine. The team at Monaco Marine offers a full concierge service and offers a private marina in Monaco for yachts up to 33m—and tenders to drop off and pickup superyacht owners, guests and VIPs—Monaco Marine aims to create the ultimate seamless Monaco yachting experience. Michel’s son, Tanguy Ducros, chose to join Monaco Marine after he graduated with an IBA in Accounting and Finance in Geneva. Starting off as General Manager of their Private Marina in Monaco, Tanguy was appointed as the General Manager of Monaco Marine Saint-Laurent-du- Var (a shipyard dedicated to mega yachts’ tenders) in 2015. And, in 2016, Tanguy was appointed as manager of Monaco Marine Beaulieu-sur-Mer, a shipyard which specialises in refitting 30-40m yachts, and eventually took over leadership of Monaco Marine’s commercial activity earlier this year.
Thanks to its unique mobile shipyard program and its seven yacht facilities in France, Monaco Marine commits its expertise, project management and liability insurance for refit and maintenance projects not only in the Mediterranean but all around the world, from North America to Asia. Monaco Marine’s clients can now alternate technical pit stops and huge refits to keep their yachts state of the art wherever they are in the world. Their promise is to follow you wherever you want to sail, with the same guaranteed results.
“This means that we take our customers’ pleasure seriously. If you’re fortunate enough to visit one of our shipyards, don’t hesitate to ask—whatever your need—we will be genuinely happy to welcome and accommodate you. Our employees care deeply for our company, and our clients. We are proud to work on exclusive and beautiful yachts, and we’re dedicated to our customers.”
This customer-centred business model has enabled Monaco Marine to open a brand new, 40,000m2 shipyard on the French Riviera, with a capacity to maintain and refit 28-55m+ superyachts simultaneously. An area dedicated to tenders and a platform for multihulls are just a couple of the innovations they have included in this new shipyard, ready to be opened in October after two years of construction. To top things off, they have recently won a bid to build a shipyard dedicated to megayachts up to 130m and 6,000 tonnage.
“Your yacht is unique and exclusive, and so it deserves to be maintained by the same rules. Each maintenance or refit request is as if a temporary company has been established, initiated with the aim of providing you with outstanding service and a unique result. According to this philosophy, all our employees work by our three rules: a commitment to perform to our best abilities, to work within the budget and to deliver on time. In order to perfectly fulfil the mission they have been entrusted with, our employees have developed a method and a very specific process that begins well before your yacht arrives at our yard.”
Monaco Marine has established a successful formula of four fundamental stages for the refit and maintenance of luxury yachts.
Firstly, the project is defined during the negotiation phase, the place and mission of the refit are established. We pinpoint milestones in the project which defines the successive phases. This is also the phase where the refit project manager joins the appointed sales manager at Monaco Marine.
The second phase is crucial at Monaco Marine: this is the preparation phase after signing the contract. At Monaco Marine, work begins with the signing of the contract and not the arrival of the boat. This difference may seem trivial but is essential to the success of a refit project. It is at this point that Monaco Marine teams begin their briefing sessions, visualisation (i.e. the anticipation of problems), coordination between the teams and retro planning adjustment.
The third phase can then begin: the fulfilment of the project. This phase includes the client’s participation: welcome meeting, daily meeting and management of the team at Monaco Marine. This allows Monaco Marine and the client to stay on top of the refit goals, to deal with unexpected events and above all to make sure everything is under control.
Lastly, the finalisation phase: debriefing, final checks, sea trials and the good-bye meeting. This is where Monaco Marine finalises the project, guarantees a good ending of the refit and ensures the highest level of quality. The shipyard also offers an after-sales department which is rare for a service company.
Michel and Tanguy can often be heard saying to Monaco Marine’s employees that “we will be here for another 50 years, because we want it for Arthur.” Arthur is Michel’s grandson, and only five years old. But the Ducros family continues to invest and lead the market, having just invested €50m in Marseille with a territorial concession for the next 50 years. Continuing the family yachting trend, Michel’s wife, Annick Ducros, has just opened a summer concept store called Monaco Marine, ‘Merci la Mer’. It’s dedicated to the “yachting art de vivre.”
“All of the brands we have selected to work with showcase expertise in craftsmanship, from saddlers to carpenters, and, of course, beautifully designed clothing. Much in the same way that Monaco Marine is dedicated to the craft of the boats, we aim to mirror this with our fashion and lifestyle concept store.”
All of the products give the customer a little taste of the Riviera/ Cote d’Azur lifestyle. The store is an experience and the natural extension of the services of Monaco Marine. Located in the heart of the marina in Monaco, the concept store connects the world of yachting to the art of living by the sea—on board, by the dock, or on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Yachting enthusiasts will find a sharp and contemporary collection of fashion and lifestyle products, whether they sail, read on a beach or attend cocktail parties at the yacht club. Offering a selection of fashion and swimwear, for men, women and children alike, in addition to accessories, books and practical items for life at sea. Brands included are Lisa Marie Fernandez, Solid & Striped, She Made Me, Crista Seya, Thierry Colson, jewellery from Aliita, as well as Gestalten and Taschen. Monaco Marine worked with swimwear company Vilebrequin, to develop an exclusive range of men and women’s swimwear, one of which shows an image of the port of Monaco.