Producing a limited number of luxury boats to order, Fleming Yachts is redefining the classic cruising yacht by using state-of-the-art, ultra-modern technology
When Adi Shard and Duncan Cowie, co-owners of Fleming Yachts, are designing a new motor yacht, they pay particular attention to the pilot house. This is, after all, where customers will spend most of their time when cruising on this elegant but practical boat. “Our boats are often owner-operated,” says Adi, whose uncle Tony Fleming started the business in 1985. “So they are designed with that in mind. They are more like little ships and we dedicate a lot of interior space to the bridge. It’s a serious ocean-going boat but we always make it as luxurious and comfortable as possible.”
Adi and Duncan bought Fleming Yachts from Tony Fleming in 2007, when Tony retired to spend more time on his own Fleming 65, aptly named “Venture”. The company constructs 10 to 15 yachts a year from its Taiwan boatyard, each one bespoke and made to order. Every Fleming yacht has the same distinctive lines – a classic, timeless look perfected by Tony at the very start – but can differ greatly when it comes to interiors due to personal customization and options.
“Tony designed a beautiful-looking boat and we have developed and honed every part of it to be what it is today,” says Adi. “We are always looking for ways to make it better. We call it classic but cutting edge. We incorporate the latest and greatest components that we can find.”
Both Adi and Duncan take a hands-on approach to their work. Adi studied mechanical engineering before working for his uncle, while Duncan had a background as an aircraft mechanic before swapping air for sea. He began to work on yachts as an engineer and captain, meeting Tony Fleming aboard an employer’s Fleming yacht in the process. Now, Adi and Duncan take each new Fleming on sea trials, living aboard for a few days to ensure every component is working to the high standards they demand. “It’s a great way to get to know the product and how it is used,” says Duncan. “A lot of our new ideas come from spending time on board during the sea trials.”
Fleming currently focuses on four models – the 55, 58, 65 and 78. Every boat is built to CE category “A” Ocean class and Fleming yachts have been to every part of the world, from the Arctic Circle to the Caribbean. “Safety onboard is paramount,” says Adi. “We ensure that every critical system has a backup, so our customers can cruise with complete peace of mind.”
These are boats that have been built to last – the very first Fleming, approaching 35 years old, is still cruising regularly. Because of their relative scarcity and the care with which they are constructed, Flemings have strong resale value for customers looking to upgrade to a larger boat or purchase one equipped with the very latest technology. Owners are also buying into an extended family, from the team at the boatyard and the trusted dealers located all over the world, to their fellow Fleming owners.
“Our customers tend to be like-minded individuals and they are passionate about cruising,” says Duncan. “We refer to it as the Fleming Family and we host rendezvous events where we get customers together and share ideas and cruising plans. They have lots of real cruising experience and great stories to share.” With only 350 Fleming yachts in circulation around the world, owning a Fleming and being part of this family is a rare privilege indeed.