BY Nick Walton on 29 Jun 2024

We talk to former captain and boat owner Thomas Woo, founder of Absolute Marine Limited, about Absolute Yachts’ popularity in Hong Kong and the city’s status as a yachting hub

You’ve been a yacht broker since 2006 and founded Absolute Marine Limited in 2014. What inspired you to establish your own company specifically for distributing Absolute Yachts in Hong Kong?

After visiting the Cannes Boat Show in 2013, I was impressed by the innovative features of , particularly their new 45Fly and 52Fly models.   immediately secured a meeting with the Absolute sales team and decided to establish Absolute Marine Limited in 2014 to distribute Absolute Yachts in the Hong Kong market. The Hong Kong boating market is very mature, and potential clients are selective and knowledgeable. However, the unique features of Absolute Yachts were well received in Hong Kong, and the brand has been very popular, with some models having waiting lists of over two years.

Your passion for boating spans over two decades as an owner and captain. How have your personal experiences on the water influenced your professional approach as a yacht broker and distributor?

As a boat owner and captain, my personal experiences on the water have greatly influenced my professional approach as a yacht broker and distributor. Understanding the needs and wants of boat owners from first-hand experience is fundamental to providing excellent service to my clients.

We talk to former captain and boat owner Thomas Woo, founder of Absolute Marine Limited, about Absolute Yachts’ popularity in Hong Kong and the city’s status as a yachting hub

You often spend weekends and holidays boating with clients. Can you share a memorable experience where your hands-on approach significantly benefited a client?

I remember a weekend when I was out boating with friends, and we encountered a sudden, severe squall with heavy rain and winds like Typhoon 8. Fortunately, my anchor was securely fastened, but several other vessels around us were not so lucky and were blown into shallow waters, becoming stranded. I took my speedboat and helped pull each of the stranded boats back into deeper waters, allowing them to restart their engines. The boat owners were grateful for my assistance, and one of them later purchased a boat from me. My friends on the boat were impressed by how I handled the situation and shared the story, which led to additional boat sales for me.

Hong Kong is known for its compact and energetic city life, but it also offers amazing boating spots. How do you think the unique geographic and cultural aspects of Hong Kong contribute to the local boating culture and what are some of your favourite spots?

Despite its compact size, Hong Kong has consistently been the highest-selling market for yachts in Asia. The city’s unique harbour and accessible boating spots allow boat owners to easily access the water from the heart of the financial district and cruise to boaters’ paradises within 30 minutes. Boating is a popular lifestyle in Hong Kong, and boat owners enjoy socialising, entertaining and showing off their vessels. My personal favourite boating spot is Sai Kung.

We talk to former captain and boat owner Thomas Woo, founder of Absolute Marine Limited, about Absolute Yachts’ popularity in Hong Kong and the city’s status as a yachting hub

Absolute Yachts is known for its focus on technology, innovation and its wide range of yachts. What do you believe sets Absolute Yachts apart from other yacht brands in the market?

Absolute Yachts has an innovative and meticulous approach to yacht manufacturing. Rather than using the more common vacuum infusion technique, they employ a “hand lay” resin process on a unique rotating mould. This allows them to produce complex fiberglass shapes and sizes that enable optimal, space-efficient yacht designs. The company has invested heavily in advanced equipment and facilities to ensure a tightly controlled manufacturing environment. This includes constant air recirculation and temperature regulation to achieve excellent quality and consistency in their fiberglass processing. They are also focused on minimising environmental impact, with pollution inputs kept under close control.

One of Absolute’s key differentiators is its commitment to maximising interior space utilisation. Even their smaller 47Fly model features large windows and accessibility features like a lower helm door. The company designs and engineers its entire boat projects in-house, allowing it to quickly introduce at least two new or refreshed models per year.

We talk to former captain and boat owner Thomas Woo, founder of Absolute Marine Limited, about Absolute Yachts’ popularity in Hong Kong and the city’s status as a yachting hub

Overall, Absolute Yachts appears to be a highly innovative and quality-focused manufacturer, continuously investing in its facilities and processes to deliver industry-leading yacht designs focused on comfort and space optimisation for its customers.

With a range of yachts from 40 to 75 feet, including flybridge, sports and Navetta semi-displacement yachts, which models have been most popular among your Hong Kong clients?

Both Flybridge and Navetta models have been very popular among my Hong Kong clients.

Providing immediate help and after-sales service is a core part of your business philosophy. How do you manage to maintain such high levels of service and responsiveness, especially during peak times like weekends and holidays?

In addition to having a strong in-house service team, we work with various service partners to ensure we can provide responsive assistance to clients, especially during peak times like weekends and holidays.

We talk to former captain and boat owner Thomas Woo, founder of Absolute Marine Limited, about Absolute Yachts’ popularity in Hong Kong and the city’s status as a yachting hub

Looking ahead, what are your plans for Absolute Marine Limited? Are there any new initiatives or expansions on the horizon that you’re particularly excited about?

Recently, we have appointed sub-dealers in Singapore and Shenzhen. We have shipped new Absolute models, including a 56Fly, to the Singapore Boat Show and a Navetta 58 to the Shenzhen Bay Boat Show, both of which took place in May this year, as part of our expansion plans.

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