Owning a yacht is a great motivation for many of us. Wanting something is such a blessing, fuelling a relentless drive to achieve. A magical energy builder and I wish everyone to find his own, whether spiritual or material.
For as long as I can remember, as a child, I would browse through magazines, marveling at the beauty of the sceneries where they could cruise me to, drooling over the lavishness of the inaccessible lifestyle the owners seemed to enjoy whenever they pleased. My parents named my brother and I after famous French navigator Eric Tabarly, and Alain Colas, whose adventures I followed during my youth. I thank them for that because yachting is an immense source of happiness now.
Today, I thank yachts for having made me want so much, making me work so hard and finally realizing my dream. Throughout the past few years, I have been striving to make yachting more accessible, more affordable and more fun in Asia. This passion has become my everyday job. Years of bouncing ideas about finding the best solutions for owning and operating efficiently, years of listening to doubtful buyers, as well as sharing experience with both happy and unhappy owners.
So, for the lucky few who, like me, are motivated by owning a yacht, here are my lessons:
1.Do not underestimate what you already know: a yacht does cost substantial amounts to maintain. Count 10 per cent annually off the new price as a reasonable estimate, all in +/- 3 per cent depending on age and location of usage. You can choose to spend less, but the boat condition will catch up on you, and end up costing more. No cutting corners there or outsmarting the sea and mother nature.
2.Buy New or almost new, with a solid manufacturer warranty and negotiated price. Yes, second hand boats are cheaper at face value, but they can’t compare with newer models, integrating more improvements year after year – technology, comfort, material, engines, generators, wiring, electronics, safety equipment… you might very rarely find a real deal, but unless you know the history well, do not gamble on such an important asset. There is nothing in common between a dated second-hand boat and a new one when you go down to the specifications of components. Even-though a second hand comes at a cheaper price tag, keep in mind the maintenance will still cost you 10 per cent of the New Value. The older, the more.
3.For the boat to remain a pleasure and not a burden, do not allocate more than 10 per cent of your net assets to the purchase. Private bank allocation matrix actually recommends 3-5 per cent as an acceptable bracket. I double that to make up for the joy. We only live once, and I know people who have gone way overboard yet are happy as can be.
4.Select a competent crew, starting with the captain, and pay them well. Crews become part of the family, they keep the boat in good condition and its value high. Finding the right crew is no easy matter, so allocate the right amount of time to check recommendations from previous employers, and once you have secured a competent crew, keep them happy and motivated.
5.Choose an interior that “nobody dislikes” to ensure a better resale value. The lighter, the bigger the perception of space inside.
6.Decide whether to buy / rent / buy a share in a fractional program based on the location in which you will enjoy your boat. For an urban usage, I find fractional to be the most reasonable (in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. where you use the boat for very short period of time of 4 hours to 3 days throughout the year). In a Holiday destination, either charter or buy outright.
7.Assess how often you will use the yacht in a year – below 3 usages: charter, between 3-8 usages: fractional, above 8 usages: own the boat.
8.If you go fractional, use a professional frame. I will brag now, as the one my company created is my biggest pride: www.lysa.asia program. If you find a flaw in it, or something unfair, you win a charter for free! Do not jeopardize a friendship by neglecting to clarify all the issues that will arise when owning a yacht. Having a professional program helps avoid misunderstanding.
9.Optimize your enjoyment time by having your boat managed (administration, accounting, licensing, maintenance, crewing…) at a negotiated price by a reputable company. Do not become the slave of your captain or crew.
10.Buy the right boat for your needs by answering basic questions: is your aim to relax with the family, party all night, cruise through high-seas, host business dinners, commute quickly from one place to another… finding the right boat is key to a happy experience and can generate substantial savings as you won’t pay for what you don’t need.
If you are thinking of acquiring a boat, I will be pleased to share my experience with you. Happy cruising!
About Eric Noyel:
Mediterranean raised and long-time yachting enthusiast, French entrepreneur Eric Noyel started Asia Marine Yachting Services (AMYS) as a “luxury” charter operation in Hong Kong. It has grown quickly to be one of Asia’s leading regional operators. The company offers charter, fractional ownership, yacht management and is the distributor for Sunseeker (Indonesia and the Philippines), Numarine (Regional), Galeon (Regional), Hatteras sports fishing boats, and has interests in marinas and media.
This article was first published in Yacht Style.