Captains are often put in a position where the yacht they are working on is put up for sale and they are usually the ones interacting with potential buyers about the details of the boat. New owners could mean a new set of crew and potentially a loss of job for the captain trying to sell them the boat. The Crew Report spoke to some captains about the role they think they should play in this process and whether a conflict of interest ever comes into play.

“If there’s a potential buyer the captain certainly plays a big role in that, for one because of his familiarity with the boat,” explains Captain Olav Hinke of 50m motoryacht Iroquois. “Generally the brokers do a lot of the tours on board, but if there’s a serious client on board I’ll generally spend time with them and really give them a better idea as to what’s involved in the ownership of a yacht, operating costs, crew turnover, that sort of thing.”

“I think a lot of owners are blind sighted by that,” Captain Hinke continues. “They see the picture and think if they charter it, it will pay for itself, and that’s not really the case. I think a lot of them are surprised once they purchase a yacht as to what it actually costs to maintain it properly to keep a professional crew on board rather than hiring a bunch of inexperienced interior or exterior crew. You get what you pay for really at the end of the day.” Captains are crucial to pointing out the realities to prospective owners that brokers might not otherwise mention. This is essential in the industry so that owners’ expectations can be managed and there are no nasty shocks after the sale is complete.

One anonymous captain of a 64m motoryacht explained how he sees having such a crucial role on board as a privilege. “I’ve been the captain on here for five and a half years, and have been round the world on it three times,” he explains. “So now that the boat has gone up for sale, the owner has said that, because I know the boat better than anyone, I am now an integral part of selling it. So that’s kind of humbling for me as it puts me in a real position of responsibility, to know that there’s no one out there on the face of the globe that knows this boat as well as me.”

"The new owner might not like me or I might not like them. I might not like their itinerary and they might not like the way I supervise the whole scenario.” - Anonymous captain

We asked the captain to explain the role he took in the sales process. “Most of it is imparting information about the boat,” he explained. “You always get asked; how does the boat ride at sea? How is it mechanically? What major repairs have you done? Where have you been on it? How much does it cost to operate? How many crew do you actually need to run this boat successfully? When the broker comes on with clients, he prefers me to come round with them because the client always going to ask pertinent questions about this boat.”

When this captain was posed the question about whether he was worried about his future after the boat, the captain seemed to be accepting of any eventuality. “Everyone asks me if I am going to go with the boat,” he says. “But that’s a really difficult question. The new owner might not like me or I might not like them. I might not like their itinerary and they might not like the way I supervise the whole scenario.”

The important thing is that these captains recognise that they want owners to keep buying, and in some cases this may mean helping sell the boat that they are on. A conflict of interest should not exist because if captains play a valuable role in the selling of a boat, they are moving the industry forward and their reputation amongst owners and brokers as a result will perhaps be more valuable than staying a bit longer on one yacht.