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Sunday, 18th May 2014

Advertisement and Article from Limewire Issue 5, May 2014

In Mayfair, £10 million is ample funds for a decent sized house, however, in the yacht broking world, £10 million is considered the lower end of the market. After 20 years in Monaco with Edmiston – one of the most venerated players in the industry, Chris Cecil-Wright decided to give it a go on his own.

These days there are too many kinds of yacht for anyone to claim to be an expert on them all’, says Cecil-Wright, ‘We have decided to focus right at the top of the market – the 60 metre plus megayachts of your dreams. They’re matchless.’ You can’t even compare them to the Rolls Royce of the seas. Superyachts of this size have no other equal on earth; they are exclusive, luxurious, decadent, exciting, romantic, and pristine…

Chris’ first boat was a Cadet for racing. And the first superyacht he sold was BOLERO – a 105 foot German Frers, modest by today’s standards. When he joined the yacht broking industry in 1993 a really big boat was around 50 metres, costing approximately US$20 million, today a large boat is classed as over 100 metres and can easily set buyers back 300 million.

‘I have sailed all my life with my family. One of my first memories is of sailing with my dad in a 30 foot open keelboat in the Solent, I must have been four and he’s fond of telling me that I could even helm a small dingy by that age – I really don’t remember as my whole life has been boats.’ His favourites depend on the job at hand, whether it is for racing, classic racing, cruising with the family, or for sheer technology and design. Like Bruce Forsyth they’re all his favourite. ‘My ultimate yacht would have the interior and sports facilities of HAMPSHIRE II and the sleek exterior of MADAME GU – both Feadships and both projects I have put my heart and soul into’.

Feadships stem from the federation of export of Dutch-built shipbuilding. Today it’s a unique brand with a very long list of what makes it the world’s number one in design and master craftsmanship – every aspect is agonised over from drawing to installation.

There could be over 1,000 individuals involved in the building of a Feadship. Often three generations working side by side in the ship yard, creating a heritage using only the best materials. There’s no such thing as a low spec Feadship, it just doesn’t exist. For example, off the shelf teak decking that is soft to the sole is used on most yachts – with a Feadship a teak order is taken ten years ahead of building with a special trip to Burma to select individual trees, which are transported and stored to harden equally with perfect colour for years, then quarter sawed, discarding about a third before laying 25mm thick. The layman won’t know the difference but you can feel the magic. Nothing is too small or insignificant to overlook and every single aspect is nothing but the best.

Engineering has changed dramatically over the last 20 years from paint and communication innovations; sound insulation through resonance research; zero speed stabilisation; and dynamic positioning… and it continues to change.

There are a mere 168 Feadships currently afloat – it’s an exclusive club. Trust is essential at this level of play but it’s the whole relationship that matters. Captains of industry and the sort of people that are able to buy a large yacht need their adviser to have credibility in the market; this only comes with time and experience.

Cecil-Wight’s business comes from all over the world and is almost entirely by word of mouth from: Russia, America, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Canada, Honk Kong, Tokyo, Ukraine, this list goes on. There’s no such thing as a regular punter. Owners are individual, but interestingly, almost entirely self-made and now getting younger and younger.

Yachts are not so much an investment as a lifestyle choice. There was a ten year period when the demand for large yachts outstripped supply. With the average large yacht taking three to four years to build, a new yacht that was just one year from delivery was sold at a premium. Cecil-Wright expects this market to return but for the moment there is more supply than demand.

2014-2015 will be his first full year’s trading Period, ‘I’m really excited to have the business up and running. Both our Monaco and London offices are open with a great team in place; the website is up; and our technology is in place and working well, so I’m really looking forward to concentrating on deals. Our first sale, the 55 metre Feadship ISSANA has just completed and I’m working on a 130 metre new-build project, which is very exciting. Our policy is simple: Fewer clients serviced better.’

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