I get a lot of customers who are new to yachting and wonder if there are any good books focusing on buying a yacht and the variables involved in yacht ownership. I have looked around and can’t find anything specific to buying a pre-owned yacht (which is what I specialize in), however there is a good book relevant to mega yacht buyers who want to build a custom design…” Mega Yacht Wisdom II” by Buddy Haack and Doug Hoogs (both competent ex-yacht captains) and available online.
This blog is relevant to the buyer who wants a yacht, but needs to determine which is the best one suited for his (or her) needs. I work with a variety of buyers, each with a different set of values and try to match the market to their needs. Let’s face it. No one wants to make mistakes in any size purchase, least of all an expensive one. So the first question is obvious…
What is your budget?
Yacht buyers need to have realistic expectations, as the market can change dramatically with budget goals. Getting everything that you want is proportionate to size, goals and budget. With this in mind, the budget is not limited to simply the purchase price, but also keeping things going. Other considerations are maintenance and repair, dockage, crew considerations, and so on. This is where other factors come into play.
What are your cruising goals?
Do you want a boat which is fine for weekend (or occasional week) trips? Perhaps to the Florida Keys and or the near Bahamas? Or a boat which has “longer legs” which can navigate in safety to island destinations for a longer period of time?
This thinking also applies to sailing yacht buyers, although more critical for motor yacht buyers.
How large of a boat will you be comfortable in? Staying aboard for longer periods invites a full beam aft or mid-ship main (master) stateroom with room outside to enjoy life, whether it be a large flybridge or aft deck. Most of the folks eventually find out that this is a terrific lifestyle and opt for a larger boat which will allow for livability for longer periods.
Are your goals to cruise in shallow areas such as the Florida Keys or the Bahamas? Keeping your draft limited (4′-6′)is very important if you don’t want to limit where you can cruise!
Make your Partner Happy!
Without a doubt, seaworthiness is paramount. If your goals are to cruise from marina to marina, then one doesn’t need to worry about the very seasick wife hitting the rails with the cry of “this isn’t my idea of fun!” If your plans include more adventurous plans, say to the Caribbean or unprotected waters, then a planing, light cruiser is not a very good choice (see blog on transporting), but rather a semi-displacement or displacement yacht with stabilization.
An important aspect of yachting is the ability to gather and share the seagoing home. Once you are away on the vacation, new friends (and often family) want to join in the fun and experience. Which is exactly why yachting offers a unique lifestyle to enjoy intimate time together.
Thus the question of comfort and how long one can sustain a crowded boat. It is very important to have expectations with individual comfort in mind. And how many staterooms will be often in use. It expands once a larger yacht is envisioned – as crew need their comfort as well to do their very hard jobs. Of course, this also brings into mind the galley and other amenities for group satisfaction. The ideal yacht should have enough space to allow owners and guests enjoy each other and private time equally. It is just as important to consider the age of intended guests. Small children and such will need to be watched carefully and not exposed to dangerous ladders or spaces where they can injure themselves.
The Need for Speed
Is 12 knots too slow for you…or is the price of fueling up a few thousand bucks at a time more troubling? This is what many savvy owners figure out after a few fill-ups. Every boat has their ‘sweet speed’ where the best fuel economy is to be had versus the speed. I agree that going 7 knots gets old, however there are many advantages of going 10-12 knots. The first being fuel economy and the second is range between fueling. Keep in mind that some boats are designed to be comfortable going slower…while others aren’t.
All of us have a sense of what we thinks looks good. Just as in picking a car style, we all want something which defines who we are. Face it – you need to look with a boat with ‘love’ – something that we can look at and say ‘that is me’. Yet, different styled yachts have different limitations. For instance, Euro-styled sleek-looking boats have a limitation on interior volume. Whereas domestic US styled boats (note that the majority of Taiwanese built yachts are designed and built for the American consumer) put an emphasis on volume….and thus livability. The same holds true with sailing yachts. Thus the variety of the multitude of yachts abounds.
Are you handy with fixing things or is the newness of equipment and systems more important? If handy, an older boat will certainly demand more monitoring and repairs as equipment ages. With this goes the availability of parts and technicians who can perform repairs.
A good example might be the saga of Detroit Diesel engines. There are plenty of these venerable engines still around, along with decent parts supply. Just about any island has a fellow who can work on these as they have been around for over 50 years as they are fairly simple. Compare this to a modern, electronically controlled engine and you almost always require a factory trained tech to troubleshoot and repair such engines.
As you wander from the major coasts (which is the goal of course), one should realize the probability of service and parts supply. Foreign built yachts use different parts which may be hard to obtain. Repair service may be tough as well.
Thankfully, most yacht buyers realize that South Florida is somewhat of a ‘Mecca’ for all types of yacht parts and service.
What might seem like a bargain up front to a yacht buyer in meeting all of your needs might turn out to be a lemon on the market when it comes time to sell. Given our dubious global economy, yacht buying is at the top of the food chain. Yet, for the blessed few it is one of the most glorious and satisfying lifestyles around.
Be aware that repossessed yacht sales and bargains often are extremely neglected. I have resold more than a few from owners who have doubled (and more) their budgetary expectations of bringing the boat back into shape. Along with a promise to themselves never to consider such folly again. These boats are for the experienced buyer only without having to resort to boatyards and retail vendors to repair.
Keep in mind also that trends change over the years and that custom (or one-off)boats tend to have very small markets indeed. My advice for new yacht buyers is to follow the production yacht market having proven desirability and options. Seasoned yacht buyers purchase with value in mind, yet with proven upkeep from someone who is proud of their yacht.
Insure-ability for Yacht Buyers
The yacht insurance market has gone through many changes recently. It is a good idea to check on insurance before locking yourself into a deal. All underwriters insist that a yacht owner be competent to operate the yacht. Or have a competent captain. Many underwriters restrict where a boat can cruise during storm seasons. Premiums are going up and the market is shrinking.
A Competent Yacht Broker can make it much Easier for Yacht Buyers!
Finding a competent yacht broker who understands your goals with the sea-going experience to find you the right fit is important for a yacht buyer. Thinking of buying a yacht? Call Andy Kniffin CPYB (Certified Professional Yacht Broker) at (954) 292-0629 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation consultation.