The Ins And Outs Of Buying A Luxury Yacht
So you’re about to take a big step and buy a yacht. Congratulations! But there’s also a lot of homework ahead of you.
Published on 3 July 2015
Sailing yachts are rewarding, but far more complex to buy and maintain than even the fanciest cars. We got an expert on board to guide you:
Introducing Eddy Verbinnen, senior yacht dealer at X-Yachts. Mr. Eddy Verbinnen is the senior yacht dealer of X-Yachts, one of the best known yacht dealers in the world. Mr. Verbinnen has over 30 years of experience with handling yachts, and has cruised them almost everywhere in the world.
Sailing yachts are a favourite choice among new yacht owners, and for good reason – it’s the best way to pick up the basics on seafaring and boat maintenance. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to race them.
Still, Mr. Verbinnen candidly told us that sailing yachts were still at a stage where they’re “picking up”:
“Powerboats are certainly more popular. This is typical in a developing market – people first concentrate on powerboats, as they are afraid that sailing is going to be difficult.
Afterwards, when they understand the sea much better and have more experience, that’s when they start to look at sailing yachts. And then they will realise yachts are much safer and have better movement at sea. From talking with several people in the business, I hear that sailing yachts are picking up already in South East Asia.”
This is one of the key appeals of a sailing yacht – fast powerboats are all over the place, but there’s a great sense of accomplishment in learning how to sail. And you’re getting in on the ground floor of the next hottest thing.
If you like doing things the hard way, you may be reassured by knowing that all yacht buyers will inevitably be corrected on bad decisions.
Mr. Verbinnen points out that, if you’ve never set out to see before, it will be hard to recognize the difference between
But we’d rather you avoid that, so we pressed Mr. Verbinnen on what to look for right away. It starts with being clear on your intentions:
“If your intention is just day sailing, with a chance you might sleep aboard for a weekend, then a smaller boat of under 40 feet can do the job. Our XP 38 model is a good example. It’s just around SGD$ 394,000, tax inclusive, with most options included. If you intent to spend a few weeks on board though, such as over the holidays, then I would recommend buying something in the 38 to 40 foot range.”
With his three decades of experience, Mr. Verbinnen has developed his own opinion on what makes an ideal sailing yacht. First time buyers, take note –
“In my opinion,” Mr. Verbinnen says, “a good quality cruising yacht of around 45 feet the ideal sailing yacht. It’s not too big, and can be easily handled by one person under various weather conditions. At the same time it is also spacious and comfortable, with sizeable water and diesel tanks. A well-equipped, high quality yacht of this size should be between SGD $757,000 to SGD$908,000. For South-East Asia, I recommend air-conditioning in each cabin, a generator, and a furling mainsail boom.”
Yachts that are significantly larger or smaller than this will pose some challenges:
“If you go bigger, above 55 feet,” Mr. Verbinnen says, “you must be prepared to hire extra crew for your boat. And if you go smaller, under 40 feet, space is very limited. Over extended periods, living aboard will be uncomfortable.”
The process of buying a yacht is difficult, at least the first time around. It is difficult to understand a lot of the key concerns until you have actually been at sea. For this reason, first time buyers would do well to get an experienced yacht owner or sailor to give them a second opinion.
“I would recommend a buyer to talk to different experienced people in the yachting world and think very hard about all you hear,” Mr. Verbinnen says, “a good start would be to talk to experienced boat owners. Visit a yacht show and talk to different sellers at the show. Do a test sail with the boat you fall in love with. Personally I would recommend you visit the yard where the boat is going to be built.”
By visiting the yard, you are able to observe the professionalism of the people involved, and to ask about the construction. You will also get a sense of the waiting time involved.
“Good yards will normally have no yachts on stock, although of course a demo yacht or a cancelled order are always possible. For a yacht between 35 and 50 feet, it will take about six to seven months to build. For bigger yachts this will take much longer. Count on a year and longer once you go over 60 ft.”
For this reason, Mr. Verbinnen suggests that:
“For people in South East Asia, ordering a boat in April or May seems the most logical to me. Then they will have the boat delivered around November or December, when the best sailing season starts.”
Beyond construction and waiting times, you will also have to decide if you’re comfortable with the people running the yard.
“Do you feel comfortable with the people you are dealing with?” Mr. Verbinnen asks. “Do they offer you tuition to handle the yacht after the delivery? How will they arrange warranty and after-sales support?
If they say that this is not needed for their yacht, best run far away. The follow up at and after the delivery is very important in the process. You need to deal with reliable people.”
Another factor to consider is the interior design for a yacht. When things are constantly rolling about due to the waves, you can’t use regular living room furnishings.
“There are several excellent interior design for yachts,” Mr. Verbinnen says, “It is completely different from regular interior design for houses. You really cannot compare an immobile house with a yacht – a yacht will encounter waves and big movements, so the interior designers need a very good understanding of the sea and waves.”
Yachts, like cars, are admittedly depreciating assets. While they can be sold second-hand, it is best to view them as leisure items rather than investments. However, few owners have any regrets:
“A yacht is not a very good money investment, there is a depreciating value. If someone should tell you different, he is lying. But what is a good investment these days?” Mr. Verbinnen asks.
“I can assure everyone, that there is nothing that comes even close to owning your own yacht. It brings complete freedom for the owner. You go anywhere and when you start to get bored, you just lift your anchor and sail to the next place. The ocean becomes your swimming pool, and it is much nicer then the biggest swimming pool in any villa or resort in the world.
I would be bored quickly if I didn’t own a sailing yacht. I have a house with a swimming pool myself. Many times I like to be at home and at my pool, but after a while it gets boring. A yacht never gets boring.
We tried several holidays in nice hotels, resorts and villas. It is all boring after a while after you have enjoyed the freedom of your own yacht. I am lucky that my wife and kids think the same.”
Are you thinking of buying your first yacht? You can contact X-Yachts for more details, or like us on Facebook for future updates!
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