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Superyachts allow for absolute discretion for business meetings and social events

Date: 15 Oct 2015

Bumblebee Design

Luc Khaldoun, head of client advisory at OneOcean Ventures, owned by Salamanca Group, talks about the new technologies that the UHNW clients employ on their yachts to protect their privacy.
 

Why do UHNW individuals buy superyachts?

It’s not an investment decision to own a superyacht, nor is it about trying to resell the asset at the best price. Owning one is a lifestyle choice; it’s about luxury travelling and creating a home away from home for owners and their families. A superyacht also allows for absolute discretion. Once on board, business meetings, social events and private functions can all be conducted in complete privacy.

How much do your clients spend on superyachts?

The average expenditure on a superyacht is £7m – £8m, but this figure underplays the true cost, and it incorporates all sizes of luxury yachts. For example, a 25m yacht will cost £4m while a 100m+ yacht can cost up to £300m depending on the fit out and services on board. The purchase price is just the start: operational and maintenance costs are significant, usually around five to ten percent of the purchase price per annum. It is a complex process that needs careful management from construction through to delivery and then ensuring technical efficiency and financial control once the yacht takes to the water.

How did the internet change buying habits? Is the middleman still necessary?

The rise of the internet has dramatically changed the access to and visibility within the superyacht market, which in turn has influenced purchasing habits. Clients today can go direct to shipyards to purchase or direct to a seller, instead of using a broker. So this trend has ensured that the role of a yacht broker has evolved into becoming a trusted adviser on both the financial as well as the technical design aspects.

Tell us about the latest trends in the sector.

Technological advances continue to change the shape of the superyacht industry. For example, dynamic positioning systems are now a feature on large yachts. It allows the yacht to maintain its position without anchoring down, so when the tender is launched you are protected from wind and waves. Many yachts also have sophisticated security measures on board, which include anti-paparazzi lights, night vision cameras and biometric level fingerprint entries in dedicated rooms of the yachts.

Owners of superyachts continually desire them to be bigger and more luxurious. The world’s largest yacht, Azzam, is 180m long, and the superyacht market needs to keep apace. It is why many newly invested superyacht marinas are increasing berth sizes so they can accommodate the new large vessels.