The man behind Hanse Yachts

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“Schmidt happens.” That’s the headline a German magazine ran on a story about the iconoclastic Hanse chief Michael Schmidt.

“Schmidt happens.” That’s the headline a German magazine ran on a story about the iconoclastic Hanse chief Michael Schmidt, who has turned over many rocks during his 30-plus years in the industry. His next challenge is building market share and a dealer network for his sailboats in the United States.

Read the other story in this package: On Sailboats - Two different boats, one tight market

“This is a different market, more conservative than Europe,” Schmidt told me at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. “If you manage to stick around for five or six years, people start to take you seriously.”

His man on the point is Don Walsh, an industry veteran who manages the subsidiary Hanse Yachts U.S. in Annapolis. “We are the entity that deals with headquarters in Greifswald, Germany,” Walsh says.

At this point he manages 10 U.S. dealers and business in Central America and South America. Meanwhile, Hanse Yachts Group continues to grow. It acquired the Scandinavian powerboat brand Fjord Boats AS and took up the production of powerboats in March 2006. In January 2007 the company introduced the new Fjord 40 at the Düsseldorf show. In March Hanse acquired the British trademark of Moody yachts and has plans for a 2008 rollout of the Moody 45, a deck saloon yacht designed by Bill Dixon.