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INTERVIEW WITH GERHARD BERGER
INTERVIEW WITH GERHARD BERGER

INTERVIEW WITH GERHARD BERGER

Friday, 1st November 2013

Chris Cecil-Wright talks to Gerhard Berger, Formula One racing champion and owner of Tugatsu – a 45m Feadship currently for sale through Cecil Wright. They discuss his passion for yachting and his particular respect for Dutch engineering.

Chris Cecil-Wright:
What’s your history in yachting? I met you several years ago, but presumably you had a history way before you started getting into big boats?

Gerhard Berger:
I’ve had a lot of good times sharing boats with partners in the past. It’s been a fascinating business – from buying, rebuilding, designing boats and then offering selective charters, through to selling them. We wanted Tugatsu to appeal both commercially and personally, but I’ve learnt over the years that it takes some effort and skill to increase a yacht’s value and make it a marketable asset. But my introduction to the whole business was with a boat called Pia…

CCW:
I remember Pia extremely well. When I was just getting into yacht broking I used to wander the dock looking at boats I really liked and I used to knock on the door and say ‘how about you sell your boat?’ - I always feel that if you really like something it’s much easier to sell it. That’s how we met, because I came and knocked on your door for Pia. Where did the idea of Tugatsu come from? Why a classic Feadship?

GB:
Tugatsu was owned by a friend of mine so I’d already spent time on it before we decided to buy it. We then did a big rebuild to make it viable.

CCW: Did you know a lot about Feadship?

GB:
I was beginning to realize that there are a couple of shipyards building boats of a higher quality. I judged a boat mainly on design, size, space and interior but when I started to use Tugatsu I began to understand the difference a Dutch shipyard makes – it’s in every door handle, every vibration, its in every noise, every smell. It’s different engineering, better quality and of course more costs – but then it’s more likely to keep or even increase its value in the end.

CCW:
The two family businesses (that make up Feadship) cross pollinate their ideas and are constantly improving all the time.

GB:
Tugatsu is over 20 years old now, but when I compare it to younger boats that are not out of Feadship I can see it matches or is even better than them.

CCW:
You’ve actually created a blueprint for boats to be developed by putting tenders on the top deck and opening the middle deck…

GB:
Actually that was my partner’s idea. We didn’t want to see the tender engine when drinking a glass of wine and it made Tugatsu more comfortable.

CCW:
What would you include in your next boat?

GB:
If I were to buy another boat I would definitely start with Feadship. To get the best quality and resale value – and to get something special - you have to go to the masters, and the masters are Feadship.

CCW:
How do you feel about my new approach to the business?

GB:
Now that I am selling Tugatsu, I’ve become extremely careful whom I talk to about it. We bought at the top of the market – it’s going to hurt when we sell, no doubt about it. At least boats out of Feadship are more resilient than the others because of their quality. There are plenty of brokers and everybody wants exclusivity in selling, but I was happy to see you want to specialize among the shipyards. Others are trying to sell everything and understand everything – and they don’t because it’s not possible. I think you have a very good approach.

CCW:
Thank you Gerhard. The yachting decision is personal and emotional – what I try to do is help people make an emotional decision in an informed way. Allow me to worry about the market, the details and the stats – you make the emotional decision. Many might know that Tugatsu is for sale, but fewer people have the in depth knowledge of the boat that we do at Cecil Wright.

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