If you’ve spent any time on the Spanish coast this summer you may have noticed a red streak whizz past the shoreline. This most likely was SAY 42, a ‘super car on water’ created by German boat manufacturer SAY Carbon Yachts. The forward-thinking company uses advanced technologies to build luxurious carbon-fiber day boats. With three models out and a fourth in production, SAY is a name to watch. Its distinctive vessels are difficult to miss, anyway.
After the success of SAY 29 and its electric sister SAY 29E, the company debuted its new boat, SAY 42, in Marbella in May. Like the original models, the 42 is all about high efficiency and low emissions. Fuel consumption is said to be 50% less than competing boats of its kind and her carbon monocoque structure makes her super lightweight so she can fly across the water at speeds of 50 knots. Her high performance hull cuts through the waves quickly but smoothly thanks to gyro-stabilisers that can be turned on and off at the click of a button.
SAY Carbon Yachts is run by Karl Wagner, an Austrian carbon specialist who’s renowned for disrupting the yachting industry with carbon technology. Previously CEO of Carbo Tech Composites in Salzburg, he bought SAY off the founder in 2015.
“Carbon boats are the future. This kind of boat is very new. It’s like a sports car,” says Sascha Falk, Managing Partner of SAY Carbon Yachts Marbella, pointing to the distinctive hull lines and racing driver seats on the red boat. “We chose this colour because it’s racing red. Some people red may be too aggressive but I don’t think so. And with the beautiful design of the cushions, she becomes very elegant.”
This racing spirit comes naturally to CEO Karl Wagner. “Karl is not a normal boat builder. He’s from the racing world and worked in motorsport for decades. When you’re responsible for a Formula One car, you have to make it the best it can be so you can be competitive. He brings that spirit the boat business,” says Falk. “It’s inspiring because he’s always thinking about how we can make it better, from fuel consumption to how you feel in the boat to the Seakeeper stabilisers, and so on. It’s a process but it’s a lot of fun. He’s the Steve Jobs of the carbon boat world.”
The original SAY 29 was designed as a lake boat and over time more and more people began asking the team for boats for the sea, so they developed the 42, reveals Falk. “The 29 and 42 are so different. The 29 is more sporty – it’s about exhilaration. She’s so light and the feeling of acceleration is amazing. With the 42, we wanted to make a more comfortable experience so we made her bigger and added a great day bed. You can go on the 42 with eight or 10 people in a very relaxed experience, such as breakfast on board or a glass of wine at sunset.”
The next model, SAY 52, will officially launch at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival. “The 52 is the logical consequence of the market,” Falk says. “Now that the 29 and 42 are in the water and working, our plan is to make the boat a little bigger and add a kitchen to increase its comfort. We’ll also have two bathrooms and two places for people to sleep, instead of one. It will be a very unique boat.”
Looking to the future, the team plans to build out its collection of carbon yachts, slowly increasing in size over time. “The market for boats over 55m is so big but we are focused only on people who want that special feeling of a super car – from us, they get a super boat,” Falk says. “In the future we may make a 62 or 72 but that’s not for me to decide. It’s on Karl because he’s the one who has the vision about what makes the perfect boat.”
Following the success of its Ibiza, Mallorca and Marbella outposts, SAY Carbon Yachts will also expand into Dubai in Fall 2022, followed by other areas in the Middle East, before heading stateside with an office in Miami. So, you could expect to see carbon yachts whizzing past a shore near you soon.