Swedish boat builder Najad will celebrate its 40th anniversary under a new advisory board and a new CEO, both of which have vast racing experience. Mikael Gustavsson has a long and distinguished career in the America’s Cup and round the world racing, as well as an impressive management record of maritime companies.
“For me, it is the opportunity of a lifetime," Gustavsson says. "I have been cruising around Sweden and Denmark since my childhood, and I have always admired the Maxi and Najad brands. My background as a naval architect, together with the experience of developing business and companies, is well-suited for this kind of challenge. To write the next chapter in the Najad history is very attractive to me.”
The Najad Advisory Board has a wealth of experience, too. Najad founder Berndt Arvidsson remains an active member of the board, which will help retain continuity with the company’s roots and core values. Hans Johansson, the new chairman, has a long track record in the maritime industry and is well known in Sweden as an entrepreneur with influential contacts.
Pelle Pettersson is one of Sweden most famous Olympic sailors and the creator of Maxi Yachts, which has produced over 16,000 boats in the last two decades. Magnus Olsson also joins the board. Magnus has been Sweden’s most prolific offshore sailor over the last 30 years and one of the biggest characters in the sport. He has competed in over 40 legs of round the world races and has never retired from one of them. Olsson is a phenomenal talent and motivator.
Judel Vrolijk have a worldwide reputation for yacht design, especially in the uncompromising world of racing, and Torsten Conradi became the third partner of the Judel Vrolijk partnership in 1986. Conradi will provide Najad with up-to-date designs and methodology.
Dick Young and Johnathan Rhodes have established themselves as one of the leading yacht interior design teams, especially with large custom yachts. They will bring a fresh approach to interior layouts across the Najad range.
The largest yacht in the current Najad range is the 570. Easy to sail shorthanded, with a design simplicity for ease of maintenance, the yacht typifies Najad’s target market, the short-handed global cruiser. Below deck there is excellent use of light and space with large windows in the deckhouse and hull. The Najad 570 is a very practical yacht that is easy to sail and comfortable to live aboard. Those are the characteristics of the brand, and it seems unlikely that the company will be making a radical departure from those ethics.
However, with an advisory board that has such extensive racing experience, as well as the long-term funding to back their high ambitions, is Najad looking to improve the performance of the yachts?
“We are working with the team and advisory board to finalise the future product plan, and this will start to be communicated during the Dusseldorf Boat show in January,” says Gustavsson, not tipping his hand. “Najad will still stand for good quality, excellent design and craftsmanship, and two-handed ocean cruising.”