The philosophy of the shipyard Southern Wind from Juan Ignacio Entrecanales, one of its new owners
Shortly before his death, 79-year-old founder of Southern Wind shipyard , Willy Persico (Willy Persico) handed over the reins to a new Executive team, consisting of three owners. One of the investors was the Spaniard Juan Ignacio Entrecanales (Juan Ignacio Entrecanales) – Vice-President of the Acciona Group and the owner of the yacht Farr/Nauta SW105 Kiboko is the third boat from the Southern Wind in his collection. With the entrepreneur talked edition of SuperYacht Times.
When you first meet the Southern Wind?
My love of sailing was passed to me from my father – like many in his time, he had made himself. His philosophy was that swimming needs to learn in small vessels. My father had four children, and all of us in July or August I wanted to conquer the sea. In the end I decided to buy his boat. I remember Reichel/Pugh SW78 that we used with the Pope in the South of France. My friend was SW72 design from Bruce Farr.
I was thinking about different companies, but only the Southern Wind offered the perfect combination of speed and comfort. Dad started with eight-meter boat and were surprised when I told her of his decision to acquire a 21-metre vessel. It was followed by a 28-metre and 32-metre yacht. Ironically, all three are called Kiboko, which in Swahili means “Behemoth”. The guys from Southern Wind only shook their heads: they did not seem that it was a good name for a racing yacht. However, they agreed to change my opinion after I pointed out that in Africa the hippopotamus is considered to be not only the most dangerous beast, but also very fast!
How do You usually use your boat?
I give the race a few times a year: in my asset Superyacht Cup, Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Loro Piana regatta in Sardinia and the Giraglia. I was advised to try your hand at the Sicilian race, but I don’t like races that last more than a day. I am worried about the ability to get in bad weather.
before the regatta I always ordered the team “to protect the ship and ourselves”, and in that order!
On weekends we sail on the Costa Bravawhere our house. In August we like to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean coast. Always great to forget about the everyday routine – especially on a motor yacht. Now young can’t do: they sit at home, buried in smartphones and laptops. Sailing is a great way to enjoy life with family and just have a good dinner.
You are thinking to move from Cape town on the Mediterranean coast?
Yet. It’s a long way, and I haven’t retired – how else to find the money for my boat? I was thinking about going right up to the island of St. Helena on a 32-metre – there are flights to Namibia. Alas, these enterprises are not very comfortable, and by August when I leave, the boat was not yet ready. But Yes, I would like to go for a longer journey. I haven’t crossed the Atlantic ocean by himself, without a father, which the whole world has seen. Also hope to visit ports in Maine, New England and Nantucket in the USA. The West coast of America too far, and the Northern coast of Europe is too cold.
As an opportunity came up to invest in the shipyard?
Willie often raised this issue, when the question arose about the future of the company. Historically my family has been in construction and renewable energy – I have nothing about shipbuilding did not know. But knew it was risky business with frequent changes – and one to go I didn’t want. When other equity holders have shown interest in Andrea Micheli (Andrea Micheli) – commercial Director of Southern Wind – were all gathered together and offered to act. We account for 75% of the shares – the remaining 25% in the hands of management. I am very proud to be part of the brand.
What is the role of the fact that your co-investors is also partly owned by the shipyard?
It is important. We love sailing, and we care about the future of the company in the long term. I am a Spaniard, and my co-investors from Northern Europe and Italy, but we support the approach in the Italian Southern Wind. Also we all take something from that, we know full well that I am not responsible for the operation of the shipyard from day to day, we have a special team. I’m more worried about how we would sell more boats. The creation of boats – high-tech process, but more attention I pay to individual techniques. My goal is to understand how we perform compared to competitors, as well as questions relating to the tender process. That’s what I’m doing at my company.
What awaits Southern Wind in the next five years?
I watched as the shipyard grew and became more and more. Change the design, the technology of carbon composite material is improved. The brand has become more recognizable, and the market recognizes that we produce the court of the same level – or even better – than our competitors. But it is important not to rush: a rapid success can sink a company. We don’t have to build ships in a hurry or at a loss. Yes, the more sold the yacht, the better; we need the net working capital in order to invest it back. Nevertheless, it is important to keep our standards and on time. We should not forget about the obligations to employees in Cape town, we employ 300 people, each of which relies on Southern Wind.
One of the teachers You respect the most?
Willie inspired me in the world of business and in sailing. Remember how he walked into my Madrid office to discuss a 32-foot yacht. How he convinced me to buy it – it was the work of a true master!
We had a lot in common – like me, he believed that a boat is a boat, not the water Palace.
By the way, what I especially like about the Southern Wind is the fact that the company builds ships for the high seas, preserving the beauty and all the modern bells and whistles, but devoid of ostentatious frills.
Another important person in my life was my grandfather who founded the family business and has always kept up with the times. I have a letter he wrote in 1941: in it, he urged employees to offer their own ideas. If they were good, it was possible to hope for financial reward. A true Titan of the Renaissance, who did a lot of reading and thought. His progressive approach to business was passed on to me.
Translated Denis Koshelev for itBoat.