Could you tell us a little bit about yourself; your name, where you were born and where you now live, as well as how you would classify your profession.
My name is Javier Candela and since 2015, I have been the Sales and Marketing Director of Marina Estrella SL; a distributor in Spain of boat brands such as Azimut, Benetti, Nautor Swan, Hanse, Moody, Fountaine Pajot. I was born in Elche on the southeast of Spain. Just after I finished university in Valencia, my first work in the boating industry was to implement the computer design system for boats in the Spanish shipyard of Astondoa, located in Santa Pola, nearby to my home town. After many successful years as Project Manager, having been involved in the design, construction, survey and delivery of new Astondoa motorboats from 10 to 37 meters, I decided to take a different path within the industry and I joined the commercial team of Marina Estrella SL; the biggest boat dealer in Spain.
As a sales and marketing director, what does your everyday look like? Can you walk us through a regular day at the ‘office’?
My usual day includes the follow up of our sales network (more than 10 offices in Spanish mainland and Balearics) to help them to achieve the sales. I also am in constant contact with all our different shipyards for discussing deals, deliveries, updates on model ranges. I study what the best channels are to promote our products or services (we also have brokerage, service and charter departments) and investigate how to improve our customer support for our clients along all the Spanish coasts.
How is the market changing, considering the fundamental shifts the world has experienced in the last 2 years?
The boating market suffered a contraction in Spring 2020 due to Covid-19 confinements. However, the 2019/2020 season was better than expected as customers considered boating as a safe activity.
We were not sure about reactions for the 2020/2021 season, but time has proved that customers still consider boating as a preferred activity for their families, and therefore the figures of sale of new and brokerage boats show an important increase.
The demand on all type of boats is growing in our region, and currently we are selling boats for delivery Spring 2022. This was extremely rare in past seasons, but the lack of stock boats currently at both dealers facilities and shipyards has led customers to buy their boats early for next season without waiting for Autumn boat shows. If the market continues to anticipate sales, at the next Autumn boat shows including in Cannes, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, there will be huge difficulties to buy a boat for delivery in the summer of 2022.
As a result of the pandemic, new customers are now approaching the yachting world for a variety of reasons including the safety, security and privacy which the industry provides. What different needs does this new clientele bring with it?
New customers are arriving to the market looking for small boats, and also coming to buy bigger boats instead of chartering like previous seasons. In general terms, customers look for privacy and security to enjoy the sea with their friends and families. Crowded beaches or busy ship cruises are not seen as safe tourism activities and our industry has profited from this situation.
As an industry, what areas do you see showing the biggest promise for growth and innovation within the world of superyachts?
I am sure that eco-friendly boating practices will be an point of discussion in the upcoming years. The boating industry has to become a leader in innovation in terms of eco-friendly propulsion and electricity generation. It needs to follow the same road that the car industry started some years ago, with the slow disappearance of petrol and diesel. The protection of the sea and a respect for the environment also needs to be a reason for investigating new propulsion and energy solutions. Most of our brands are starting to implement solutions that offer eco-friendly possibilities, such as Hanse and Fountaine Pajot.
In what way does your profession influence your personal perspective on the ocean? Do the two coincide?
I have lived nearby the sea all my life and one of my best memories from the past is going fishing on holidays in my grandfather’s small boat. I was also involved in amateur sailing regattas for many years, so the sea has always been part of my life. My entire professional career has been related to the sea and boats.
What’s the most beautiful place you have visited and why?
I have been to many nice places for boating including the French Riviera, Balearics, Italian coasts, but I was astonished with the beautiful coast in Sweden. With thousands of small rocky islands, Sweden has a savage and different landscape from those we are used to seeing in the Mediterranen. However, if you can enjoy the sea with your friends or family, any place will be beautiful!