It is one of the superyacht markets most popular falsehoods that, 25 years ago, the industry was unregulated. In actual fact, the superyacht market at that time fell under the auspices of commercial shipping regulations that were so far removed from the realities of yachting that no one paid them any credence; brokers, authorities, lawyers and owners alike. In issue 182 of The Superyacht Report, the 25th anniversary special, we explore how the market has progressed since the period from the perspectives of some of the markets most senior lawyers.  

“When people talk of yachting being unregulated 25 years ago, in a practical sense it was,” says Tony Allen, partner at Hill Dickinson law firm. “It was possible back then to run a small charter boat with 15 or 20 guests on board should you wish to. In reality, however, the rules that governed the shipping industry applied to yachting.”

It is widely held that since 1992 the genuine birth of professional ensued with a whole raft of changes occurring in quick succession including, but not limited to, the Large Yacht Code (1997), the International Safety Management Code (1995) or the Maritime Labour Convention (2006). Alongside these regulatory changes, the yachts got larger and increasingly complex, as did the contracts.

“My very first yacht deal was in mid-1998 and I had been at Clyde & Co for around a year working on a whole series of ship sale-and-purchase contracts and, even back then, these were robust documents,” continues Leonida. “When I was presented my first yacht sale-and-purchase contract, what was then the MYBA MOA, I was rather alarmed as it was, to say the least, rather light on detail.”

Leonida explains that by using his knowledge of ship sale-and-purchase contracts, he added in a whole range of fairly standard commercial ship sale-and-purchase language that, he muses quite happily, has remained in one form or another in contracts that are used today.

Elsewhere in the issue we look at how 2017 has been a tough year for the French market, the introduction of Foreign Trade Zones in the US and Giovanni Tamburi, managing director of Tamburi Investment Partners, discusses his investment in Azimut-Benetti.

To read this article in full or to find out more about the topics mentioned, click here to get your copy of The Superyacht Report. Alternatively, if you wish to discuss any of these topics, join our team and 750 relevant delegates at The Superyacht Forum 2017.