Monachus have lived through big successes and big defeats, all the while continuing to perfect their models, so that today they can stand proudly next to any international competitor
18 years have passed since the creation of Monachus Yachts, so we sat down with its founder, designer, and owner, Hari Tabak, to talk about the coming of age of this Croatian brand of motor yachts present on the domestic and foreign nautical markets. With its distinctive Mediterranean style, Monachus 43 Pharos has captured the attention of yachting fans since all the way back in 2007.
Even though many considered the brand merely as an overly enthusiastic attempt at domestic shipbuilding, Monachus Yachts has, in its first decade of continuous production, proven to be resistant to adversities and padded by layers of perseverance that served them well on their way to becoming a world-recognized brand.
How would you describe the development of Monachus?
Monachus was born from my desire to build a functional boat for myself, which I had previously failed to achieve completely by reconstructing a 13-meter boat that I had owned since 1999. Then, in 2004, I hired designer Srđan Đaković, with the idea of improving on the good features of my boat and correcting all her shortcomings. Our goal then was to create harmony between Mediterranean visual style, hydrodynamics, stability and ergonomics, sacrificing nothing. The entire design process took 18 months, and as I was working as a sales representative for several foreign yacht builders at the time, one of my clients noticed drawings and plans on my desk and said they would like to own a boat like that. We sold that client our first unit, and mine turned out to be only our fourth. Even so, after six months with me, I sold it to an Italian customer. Soon we got our first clients from Germany, Russia, Italy, and even the US, all without significant marketing and mainly through referrals. We received various inquiries from potential buyers, and the only element our model lacked that they all wanted was a more spacious cockpit. We added some details from our own perfected performance and created Monachus 45 Issa. Some clients wanted a different layout, some wanted a flybridge, and so the models Pharos 43, Issa 45 and Issa 45 Fly were created.
Monachus 70 Fly debuted last year in Venice.
The creation of that model was a long journey full of twists and turns, as well as happy coincidences. In the spring of 2008, we ordered the production of a mold for a 21-meter Mediterranean-style yacht with certain performance possibilities, but after some complications, we had to let go of the project, as well as a significant amount of advance payment. A few years of serendipity led us to the opportunity to buy finished molds and continue working on that project. In the beginning, we worked slowly because we didn’t want to slow down the production of other models, but then two years ago, one of the first owners of our Pharos expressed his desire to become a co-investor in the design of our first yacht. I can tell you these last three years have been challenging, intense, and dynamic – but when, at the end of May last year, my team and I set sail for Venice on our very first Monachus 70 Fly, the first hundred miles erased all our fatigue. We wanted to debut the 70 Fly in Venice less to benefit sales and more to gauge the reaction of international yachting fans, which exceeded all our expectations. The model has since sailed more than 3,000 miles in all types of conditions and we haven’t encountered any serious issues, so we started the production of Hull II.
Panta Rei is a 70-feet long motor yacht with a sporty spirit and attractive appearance. Furthermore, this Monachus 70 Fly is a superior yacht with excellent cruising characteristics.
What can buyers expect from a Monachus yacht?
Above all, Monachus yachts offer superior stability, hydrodynamic properties, structural sturdiness, comfortable sailing and timeless elegance. And then there’s the service – the support our clients receive from us, meaning after-sales support during the entire warranty period and beyond. After-sales support is a very important element, and second-time owners appreciate this the most.
Development requires skill, both in workers and in professionals. Where do you find your staff?
More than thirty years ago, when I was a skipper taking a yacht to Greece, I noticed a poster on the wall of an office, saying, Take all my money and all my boats, just leave me my people and we will rebuild everything. I remembered that, and a few years later, when I lived and worked in Turkey as a partner-manager for a Greek charter broker, I had difficulty finding skilled workers. My Greek partner then advised me to find good people and turn them into skilled workers. Anyone can learn the job, but only good people retain their qualities. A good team is not found, it is built, and I like to say that a good team is made up of partners. Our new employees come mostly through the recommendation of their satisfied previous employers. That’s our way.
Since 2021, you have evidently been working on marketing as well.
Yes, our marketing skills developed organically. Two years ago, we hired someone to handle promotion, but before that, I handled marketing our products myself. Clients came to us on recommendation, and we were never idle, but we struggled to coordinate production and delivery to maintain production tempo. We also realized that we were missing opportunities in the domestic nautical market because, up until then, we believed everyone in Croatia knew about us. Now we focus on digital marketing to support the global value of our brand and participate in Adriatic boat shows.
You’ve been active in the yachting world for over 30 years. What changes have you noticed and how have they influenced your business decisions?
That is a complex question. I have actually been part of the yachting world for fifty years. I did sailing in the Optimist class and racing on cruisers, I did underwater fishing and I built my own boats. I have been active in yachting since 1985, in one capacity or another; I was a cleaner, repairman, skipper, charter manager, and finally founder and manager of a company that provides all types of services in the yachting industry. Since 2006, I’ve also been a shipbuilder. All that time, I was also a keen observer, and I would say a lot has changed, but it has happened gradually and in step with the times. When in 1973 I became a permanent member of the crew of a French-built racing cruiser just under eight meters, I thought that cruiser was the best boat that could be built by a small builder. We also sailed for leisure, but it wasn’t as popular back then, even in high season, we’d only come across a handful of other boats. We’d choose a spot to drop our anchor and people would swarm around us, we were an attraction. These days, yachting attracts a much larger number of people, either owners or charter tourists. The number of marinas, yacht clubs and anchorages with restaurants has grown throughout the Adriatic, as have the boats. Every year there are new visitors, some with previous experience, some without any, and all of that is possible thanks to new technologies in shipbuilding. I am not the type to pine for the past and have learned to take changes in stride, all the while not losing perspective on what I feel is important. One thing that has not changed in all this time is the experience and the memories. My children have grown up, but when we get together and talk about the good times, sailing days are always our favorite memories.
What’s next on your schedule?
I have some plans and I’m already working on them, but I don’t want to tell you more at the moment, it’s still too soon. We are still guided by the same principles as ever: timeless Mediterranean style and boutique production. That philosophy has served us well.
Photos Robert Matić