A way forward

Established in 1983, Agantur is a family owned and operated vessel-building business located in Bodrum, Turkey, on the Aegean coastline. For the first ten years of its life the company was focused purely on design and consulting but in 1995 acquired its own building yard and maritime dock, leading it to start constructing its own vessels. By 1999 it was already building more than 20 yachts per year whilst consulting on more than 40 wooden and steel boats.

At its current location, Agantur is able to build yachts up to a maximum of 70 metres in length with enough area for launching these vessels as well, although the majority of its builds are between ten and 35 metres. Within this remit, the firm is able to design and produce almost any type of vessel with a high level of skill and with a vast amount of customisation available to the client. The most popular type of design is yachts and specifically the gulet, a Turkish sailing boat with a proud history in the company’s local region.

Co-owner and mechanical engineer Adbullah Özkalay talks in greater depth about the gulet as well as Agantur’s other vessels: “We have been building gulets for a long time and especially wooden gulets, which are very popular in our area. Until the beginning of the 2000s, though, nobody had tried building one out of steel so we chose to design and construct a 25 metre gulet using steel – the Ketch AK/S. Mostly yards in Bodrum are only interested in making classic wooden gulets so we were the first ones to use this material. The yard makes approximately ten gulets a year. Other types of vessels we have built recently include passenger vessels, workboats and motor yachts; for example we recently designed and built a pilot boat. The biggest vessel Agauntur has ever built is a catamaran big enough to hold 1500 people, which was launched in 1998. We have lately delivered a 31.7 metre steel motoryacht and are working on a 37.4 metre motoryacht, 25.5 metre gulet, 14 metre trawler, 13 metre lobster boat and a 12 metre double-ender at the moment.”

As a company, Agantur is involved at every stage of the building process. Abdullah is a mechanical engineer whilst his brother and co-owner is a naval architect and marine engineer. In addition to the brothers is a team of two naval architects, two engineers and one interior designer. Together they work with the customer from initial concept sketches, through detailed design, to construction and decorating.

“First of all we ask the customer how many cabins are required and what material the boat should be then show a conceptual sketch to them,” Abdullah illustrates. “We try to understand his or her vision, discovering what they like and dislike about the concept then use that to produce a design drawing. At this point we also agree on what class and notation the vessel is going to be because all calculations must be made according to class rules. We submit the final design for approval from class establishments and, once gained, we begin construction.

“What makes our vessels stand out is the workmanship. The quality of our boats are of European standards because we use the same materials: the same engines, generators and high grade steel that is supplied from Turkey as well as the same tropical woods that many European yards use. Our workmanship is also of excellent quality but – crucially – cheaper because we are not in the European Union. That means we can offer competitive prices on the same quality of product.”

Agantur’s existing location has three yards – for steel, wooden and composite construction – as well as an open space and launching jetty. However, it will soon be moving into new premises that promise greater capabilities. It is located at an industrial site just outside of Bodrum currently home to 30 other companies and offers much more open yard space. Whereas Agantur’s current site has a lift struggling with the weight of larger (40 metres or more) vessels, the new site comes with a much stronger ship lift that can easily handle large yachts.

This will put it in good stead for the future. Having taken a significant hit to its business as a result of the recession, during the last 18 months the number of orders have once again been growing. There are four projects currently under way but with the quality of workmanship available, as well as the its competitive pricing, greater numbers of people will undoubtedly be attracted to what it can offer. The new site will allow the company to take advantage of this.

Over the coming months and years, Agantur already has important plans on how it can expand its service. Abdullah briefly elaborates on what’s in store for the future: “We are planning another first for gulets by making a composite model. Beyond that we also have plans to move into serial production. Custom builds take a lot of time and we believe that having series boats will give us the flexibility to expand our output. The crisis is still affecting us at the moment but in two years time I believe the economy will be good again and then we can start serial production.”

Moving to new premises
High quality boats
Specialise in local ‘gulet’ design