“If we had a round table of top yacht designers, I think any of them that could not admit that they’d like to participate in the sale of a yacht would be lying,” begins Ward Setzer, of the eponymous yacht design and architecture firm, at the 2017 Yachts Miami Beach show.
“They all do in some way,” he continues. “As a superyacht designer, you typically get a project and travel around the world – you’re touring shipyards with the owner and you’re participating and reading the same contract and specifications.
“Some owners will very often turn to you and say ‘what would you do?’ and you give them your opinions. You get a vote – and, in a lot of cases, the designers actually have the deciding vote. The only thing you don't get is a commission.”
In February 2017, Setzer announced that 25-year-old Setzer Yacht Architects will collaborate with HMY Yacht Sales, a US-based yacht brokerage firm that sells over 475 boats every year and is the local dealer for Princess Yachts, Viking Yachts and Cruisers Yachts, as it naturally expands into the superyacht division.
“A broker–designer partnership like this has never really existed before,” continues Setzer. “But I want to help guide HMY clients, who want to stay in the family, onto the next step – be it new construction or an existing yacht.
“Otherwise, what am I going to do?” he adds. “Keep all this knowledge in my head and take it to my grave? That’s stupid. The clients are the people that need to benefit the most. Without yacht owners, none of us have a job. It’s a duty of care.”
Setzer states that a typical Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show comprises approximately $350 million of his designs on its docks, making him best placed to advise on potential refit work, market the yachts properly and advise on their histories.
Among other 30m+ new construction opportunities at HMY Superyachts, Setzer is promoting two vessels, a 44m and a 50m (pictured in the gallery), in the 'Vestal Line' by Admiral Marine – a line that Setzer says “caters for the American taste”. The Italian yard, which had previously tried to open a US office, will now benefit from representation through 49 HMY brokers and 12 offices on the East Coast of the US.