Neville Crichton has Transformed Sailing Industry
New Zealand born and bred, Neville Crichton’s humble beginning on a farm in the South Island is a far cry from where he is today, 72 years later.
Crichton is the executive chairman of one of the largest independent importer and distributor of vehicles in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – the Ateco Group – an ex-competitive racing driver for a number of prestigious teams around the world including BMW and Ford, an avid yachtsman taking first place on a long list of regattas over the past five decades, and a serial yacht owner.
Over the past 50 years, Crichton estimates that he has owned over 50 boats in total – with a sizeable portion of those hailing from the shipyard he founded in the 80s: Alloy Yachts.
It was Crichton’s passion for competitive sailing that led to the birth of Alloy Yachts and, subsequently, the jump-starting of the superyacht industry in New Zealand. Experiencing a sense of dissatisfaction with the sailing yachts on the market (“I just couldn’t find a boat builder that I was confident in being able to do what I wanted them to do,” he remembers) lead Crichton to what would be Alloy Yachts’ first vessel: Chanel.
Though Alloy closed its doors in 2015, Crichton talks about his latest interest with SuperYacht Times, the Dutch shipyard Feadship.
Just because motor is not Crichton’s main passion, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t strive for innovation and the creation of the very best. The motor yacht that probably most accurately demonstrates this is the 46.22-metre Feadship-built Como (now; Lady May), delivered in 2011.
Currently enjoying the Heesen Como, which he plans to sell next season after purchasing her in 2017, for Crichton, the next 12 months will be spent figuring out where he wants to build a new superyacht. With plans to build at Feadship again at some point, it will certainly be interesting to see what new innovations come from the mind of Neville Crichton on his next boat.
In 2012, Crichton was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and yachting.
Original article by Gemma Fottles, SuperYacht Times, January 22, 2018.