Thursday, 29th September 2016
Try before you buy and other purchasing tips from Richard Donkin.
If your heart is set on owning a super-yacht, where should you start? For most, the journey to ownership starts with a first encounter – an invitation to spend time on a friend’s yacht or a charter holiday.
Most brokers recommend a charter as a sensible course before committing to buying. Once you have sampled a few yachts, toured the yacht shows, thumbed the brochures, spoken with brokers and checked your bank account, what next?
A period of reflection would be wise, including discussions with other owners about the pros and cons of running a yacht. You will learn about the costs – mooring fees, fuel bills, maintenance, crewing bills, taxes, insurance, legal fees and broker commission, should you choose to use a broker.
The super-rich take these sundries in their stride. But even the sharpest of billionaires can be caught out if a yard collapses mid-build. Due diligence on builders is important. The best yards are well known, but choosing one can prove tricky since the most popular have order books with delivery times, in some cases, of up to five and six years ahead. How much time do you have?
For a first purchase, one option is to explore the second-hand market. Credible buyers can drive hard bargains in the market just now. But they must show some intent if they are to ensure a brokers’ goodwill.
“Part of my job s to put serious buyers with serious sellers. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if a buyer goes a way down the route to committing himself and then the owner turns around and says he’s changed his mind,” says Chris Cecil-Wright, a boutique yacht broker with 25 years of experience.
“The first thing I try to do with a potential buyer is establish a relationship because the experience of buying or building a yacht should be fun. I need to know who they are, who their family and friends are and what they like to do – whether they’re a flashy show-off or whether they’re introvert.”
A good broker, he says, knows about boats that are not for sale but whose owners might part with them, given the right approach. “What I’m looking for is a boat with a sensible asking price that’s been well maintained and with an owner ready to sell.”
Mr Cecil-Wright has a database of yachts and owners that he believes gives him an advantage in the marketplace when competing with bigger brokers with larger overheads.Download Article