You can hardly forget your true first love, so they say. And I must admit this applies to boats as well. I have learned how to sail on an X-Yacht and I feed even today from the 300 or so miles under the X-442´s sails practicing one tack and gybe after another. Sweet memories they are for sure. Long before I decided to be active in the yachting sector I was familiar with this brand that somehow had a very special sound to me even back then. During ancora boat show 2018, Germany´s biggest in-water boat show with some 180 yachts at the jetties, I was pleased not just to get to see the latest X-Yacht, the X4.9 in real life, but also to meeting the new CEO of X-Yachts, Kraen Brinck Nielsen.

I´ve met X-Yachts CEO Kraen B. Nielsen at ancora boat show 2018 in Germany

Lars Reisberg | NO FRILLS “Kraen, you are the new CEO of X-Yachts. Congrats at first to inhibiting one of the most attractive appointments in the boating industry. How did you come to acquire this position?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Well, you could say so, yes indeed. It is one of the most attractive brands to work for. I was contacted by the Board of X-Yachts which consists of a handful of people, including Niels Jeppesen, Ib Kunoe, the majority shareholder and some other people. After we´ve had the first meeting done, I was sure that something great was underway here with X-Yachts and I was of course delighted to be asked to take on the opportunity to be a part of this venture.”

NO FRILLS “What a privilege this must be, I can imagine. What have you done before that the X-Yachts board made the decision to actively try to get you on board?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “I think it was a combination of two things. First I guess I do have a good track record of being a Managing Director of a well-sized company. You see, up until I joined X-Yachts I was the Director of Kompan, a company that is essentially manufacturing playgrounds for children and selling the products all over Europe. Second I used to collect some titles in sailing which I think makes me a proper candidate for this position. I guess they wanted a strong seller and a good sailor. And yes, by the way, I do live 25 minutes from the X-Yachts HQ at Haderslev which may have been a small advantage for me as well. So you can say, from making children´s toys I am now switching to making nice toys from grown ups.”

Meet the all new X4.9

NO FRILLS “What is the general task in your position? I think, Niels Jeppesen is the principal designer of the boats … so what is your scope of duties all about?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Together with the X-Yachts management, that is consisting of design & marketing, production and purchase, we work on the overall strategy for our company and where we want to have the brand and the products positioned in the future. We then propose this to the board to find the actual way to go. You see, for X-Yachts 2017 was the first in many, many years after the crisis of 2008 with a positive result. Looking at the overall monohull market, this is a very good outcome given the fact that this market is flat. But with X-Yachts we´ve managed to secure a 20 per cent increase of sales …”

NO FRILLS “Why is that?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Well, first of all I would say that we have always been very strict in our product policy with making no compromises in quality. When other companies are getting into serious trouble, like Bavaria now, or they get acquired by other companies as the market is consolidating, we must have done something quite right. On the other hand I guess we´ve hit a sweet spot in the market with our true X-line which is now the top-seller of our three ranges of yachts. It´s not easy to make money on boats, but we do.”

Unmistakably an X-Yacht for sure!

NO FRILLS “We are here on the all-new X4.9. After introducing the X4.3 2 years ago, the new product line has been widened to now covering 4 boats from 40 to 65 feet. Can you lay down the principal differences between Xc, Xp and X-line?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Three years back our company was offering two ranges of products: The Xc and the Xp-line. The Xc is the true ocean cruiser, built for long distance fast sailing whereas the Xp is thought to be a very performance-oriented sailing yacht with a flatter bottom, a more open cockpit and a race-oriented layout with an emphasis on speed. We thought that there was a gap in between these two ranges that needed to be filled. So we developed the true X-line which essentially combines the best of the two worlds: The yachts can be sailed fast and aggressively, but they are also offering the luxury and comfort wanted for long haul sailing.”

NO FRILLS “That´s four to five boats per range now, what can we expect in the future?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “We will definitely keep the three ranges for sure as they all have their clients and we still have a lot of sales within the Xc- and Xp-line. But the majority of sales now are done with the true X-line. See, since her introduction, the X4.3 has been sold 70 times now to the whole world, which is a huge success for us! The boat starts at some 299.000 Euros ex VAT which is a very attractive price and seeing the yacht being delivered to the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Scandinavian countries as well to other places we are re-assured by the market that we are on the right track.”

The signature three stripes – a harbinger for performance and quality

NO FRILLS “Talking of the true X-line, what is to be said about this new X4.9 we are standing on right now, what is new about this yacht?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “I can say that the boat first of all is sticking to the X-Yachts core brand values: Offering a high performance, high quality luxurious sailing yacht. But she is also different in many ways. See, except for some special demands by her owners, the X4.9 will come with a completely flush line-free cluttered deck. No lines are visible at all. There are lots of smaller design changes which in the end are all done to achieve a boat that can be sailed very easily by two people, a couple or a family. The X4.9 is also offering a dinghy garage, which is nowadays a must-have on +50 ft boats …”

Kraen lays down the principal strategy for X-Yachts

NO FRILLS “… but she is not adhering to some of the more ridiculous trends in boating such as the BBQ-madness and the ice-maker-craze of today?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Well, there is a make-up arrangement in the owner´s cabin.” (laughs)

NO FRILLS “As you may know, I am a great fan of the Xp-line, especially Xp-44 and Xp-50 are my favourites. Are there any news upcoming concerning this range of products? Anything new for Xc as well?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Of course! We are right now looking into some new stuff to maybe incorporated into the lines but these wouldn´t be really revolutionary things. That´s mainly small changes in electrics and other things, nothing special. But I can tell that we are now striving hard to come up with a new X4.6 which will be a real hot boat for the boat shows in August!”

NO FRILLS “A new 46 footer?”

Kraen B. Nielsen: “Yes, indeed! We think that there is a demand for this size and currently we are working on getting the boat ready. She will be a smaller sister of this X4.9 with a similar internal arrangement, of course with some minor changes due to the lesser volume of the hull, but essentially that´s the same boat. Very attractive size. Without a dinghy garage, which will be the major difference, but maybe also with a makeup-arrangement, if the owner wants …”

The X4.9 comes with a large dinghy garage

Thanks, Kraen, for these very interesting insights to the X-Yachts strategy and the X4.9. I hope to being able to make a thorough walkthrough of this boat soon.


You like X-Yachts and fast performing cruisers? Read also these articles:

At the X-Yachts yard in Haderslev

Arcona Yachts of Sweden – fast classy Scandinavian performance cruisers

The all new Xp-55 at Cannes Yachting Festival 2018