It has been said that “no one needs a super-yacht”, but it is the ultimate discretionary purchase for those who have reached that wealth pinnacle.
Modern yachts are extraordinary bits of equipment that can go to incredibly exciting places that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach.
Where to start?
This will depend on you and your yachting history.
Some buyers want to oversee and manage the entire process from design to launch themselves; others will use a broker to act as middleman.
If you are a reasonably experienced, savvy owner who doesn’t want to be bound by brokers or shipyards saying something can’t be done, then you might choose to directly approach a particular shipyard.
On the other hand, appointing a broker can simplify the process. A reputable broker will add a lot of knowledge to your deal and help you to create the boat that’s right for you.
In our experience, the ideal buying team would include an independent broker, lawyer and surveyor. They will fight your corner to ensure extra build costs are kept to a minimum and that the promises made are capable of being delivered.
Which Yards or Designers?
The best known yards have order books filled up years in advance, so this will affect your choice, but at the same time, you must be careful not to be caught out by a lesser known yard collapsing mid-build.
An owner set on a particular style or design might choose to start with a yacht designer who can take your style and flair into as minute detail as you could you wish – from custom designed stationary, light fittings and crew uniforms, through to sculptures, swim platforms and hulls that open into the sea.
Our opening line – “no one needs a super-yacht”, was coined by one of the most iconic yacht designers, the late Jon Bannenberg, who further added that “it is the designer’s task to make them want one.”
Jon’s son Dickie, heads up Bannenberg & Rowell, one of the best-known superyacht design houses. Tim Heywood, a former Bannenberg protégé is another one of the greats in yacht design. For those looking for cutting-edge, futuristic concepts, then Ken Freivokh would be a wise choice.
All three of these designers have worked with our preferred shipyard, Feadship. This Dutch yard is renowned for the outstanding build quality of their vessels. Lürssen, out of Germany, has been building yachts for 140 years and offers equally good quality standards.
It is common for yards to contract out parts of the build process to countries with lower costs. For example, many of the top yards have their hulls built in Poland, but they will have their own quality control teams on site. Yards that sub-contract many different elements, such as the electrics and interior, often run into problems later in life when repairs are needed because there will be no set standard or method of installation which leads to time-consuming and costly repair bills for the owner.
Bringing Your Dream Alive
Choosing a new build yacht requires patience – builds average 4 to 6 years in duration – and commitment – due to the complexity of production schedules, shipyards will resist major changes, so once you have confirmed your design, it will be very difficult or extremely expensive to change your mind.
The latest generation of owners are coming to realise that their prize possessions can be more than floating palaces. These more active owners, such as the late Paul Allen of Microsoft, use their yachts for work or ocean research as they roam the high seas.
One of the latest of these new generation boats, the REV, out of the Romanian shipyard Vard, was designed by its Norwegian owner to double as a marine research vessel, as well as being available to charter for a luxury private cruise.
The latest designs create a much stronger connection between the yacht and the sea, they allow you to interact with the environment rather than simply floating in a glitzy apartment.
Push the Boat Out
Yachting is not an investment and neither is it an essential, but it is the ultimate reward for all the hard work you have put in.
If you are considering purchasing, building or chartering a yacht, Franklin are here to advise, guide and provide our exclusive connections to ensure your yachting wishes come true.