Mine was yacht, for as long as I can remember: as a child, I would browse through magazines, marvelling at the beauty of the scenery where I could cruise 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 navigators 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.
So today, I thank yachts for having made me want so much, making me work so hard and finally realising my dream.
In the past few years, running AsiaMarine, I am striving to make yachting more accessible, more affordable and more fun in Asia. Here are a few things worth pointing out about the process.
1 | Do not underestimate one fact you already know: a yacht does cost substantial amounts to maintain. Count 10 per cent annually of the new price as a reasonable estimate, plus or minus 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 here, or outsmarting the sea and Mother Nature.
2 | Buy new or a very recent build, with solid manufacturer warranty and negotiated price. Yes, second hand boats are cheaper at face value, but they can’t compare with newer models, integrating improvements such as technology, comfort, materials, engines, generators, wiring, electronics and 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.
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. Banks recommend 3-5 per cent as more acceptable. I double that to make up for the joy. We only live once. I know people who have “gone overboard” yet are happy as can be.
4 | If it is a big boat, select competent crew, starting with the captain, and pay them well. Crew 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 time to check recommendations from previous employers, and once you have secured competent crew, keep them happy and motivated.
5 | Choose an interior that “nobody dislikes” to ensure a better resale value. The lighter, and the greater perception of space inside, the better.
6 | Decide whether to buy, rent or share in a fractional program based on the location in which you will enjoy your boat. For urban usage, I find fractional to be more reasonable in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, where you use the boat for short periods. 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 occasions: own the boat.
8 | If you go fractional, use a professional framework. I will brag now as the one my company created is my biggest pride: www.asiamarine.com 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 misunderstandings.
9| Optimise enjoyment by having your boat managed, for administration, accounting, licensing, maintenance and crewing, at a negotiated price by a reputable company. Do not become the slave of your captain and 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.
For more information, please contact Eric Noyle at [email protected].
*** This article is republished from Issue 42 of Yacht Style.