As owners are the superyacht market’s centre of gravity, it is paramount for the industry to listen to their opinions. It is for this reason that The Superyacht Forum, taking place next week in Amsterdam, will see multiple panel discussions and keynote sessions with superyacht owners about their experiences in the market, and how they are aiming to change it for the better.
Apart from owning yachts, what do Philippe Bacou, Ian Malouf and Matty Zadnikar have in common? They have each launched superyacht businesses aimed to adapt elements of the market. In May of this year Bacou launched Yotha, a digital charter platform that “is designed to work with charterers, owners, captains and brokers to facilitate and improve the standard of yacht charters.” At the launch, Bacou explained that his foray in the market was the result of years of discontent at the current situation. “I have spent the last 15 years observing how my own yachts have been chartered and I have not seen any improvement whatsoever,” he explained. The platform, which is linked to the lifestyle and concierge service Quintessentially, aims to simplify the charter process for clients, owners, brokers and agents.
“I have spent the last 15 years observing how my own yachts have been chartered and I have not seen any improvement whatsoever.”
Ian Malouf is the founder of Ahoy Club, (also a charter platform for the yacht market) and the owner of 54m M/Y Mischief. The Ahoy Club online platform and application are, in Malouf’s view, the key to a more efficient market for all parties, be it captains, owners, charter clients, agents or brokers. “When you’re used to working hard and you’re sitting back and looking at stuff, your brain starts to tick in and, all of a sudden, what was my hobby is now to become a significant business for the family,” he explained in an interview with The Superyacht Report. “I’m definitely an ‘improver’. Improvement is our foundation. What we, through Ahoy Club, are bringing is significant improvement to the yachting market.” In addition to discussing this new charter model, Malouf will also share his insights as the owner of M/Y Mischief, which underwent an extensive refit in 2016.
Both Ahoy Club and Yotha have been met with some resistance from the yacht market, with many traditional brokerage houses and experts speaking out against the platforms. In a SuperyachtNews article earlier this year, a number of individuals highlighted their concerns, and this panel debate will be the opportunity to frankly discuss how these platforms are having an impact on the market.
Joining Bacou and Malouf for ‘The Disruptor Debate’ on day two of The Superyacht Forum, is Matty Zadnikar, managing director of SeaNet Europe, a co-ownership model. Zadnikar has described how he felt he was “burning money’ owning a vessel but not using it throughout the year. “I had the capital to pre-invest in two or three yachts, so I decided to create a fractional ownership model, born out of my own frustrations,” he said. Fractional ownership is becoming increasingly prevalent in other luxury industries, such as aviation, but isn’t seen as often in the yachting world. Zadnikar is confident that this model can work in our market, and will be a successful way to bring new owners into the industry.
In recent years, there have been many examples of superyacht owners investing in yachting institutions, bringing their experience from other industries and applying it to the yachting world. One such owner, Slim Bouricha, president of Lynx Yachts will be talking about the lessons he has learned since setting up the shipyard. Bouricha has spoken in the past about the importance of streamlining the build process for owners, and how this is a priority for Lynx Yachts. “Traditionally a project starts with the client going to a design studio and it will produce the exterior lines, the layout and some preliminary specifications. Following that the shipyards are approached and are invited to bid on the project, and a contract is then awarded based on a number of preliminary factors. This is when all the trouble starts in my opinion,” he remarked in an interview with SuperyachtNews soon after the launch of Lynx’s first yacht in 2014. “It is easy to get stuck doing the same old things that have worked in the past but these ideas may not work anymore. You have to stop and ask why certain things are done in a particular way, as it can have a significant impact on the final cost and operation of the yacht.”
“It is easy to get stuck doing the same old things that have worked in the past but these ideas may not work anymore. You have to stop and ask why certain things are done in a particular way, as it can have a significant impact on the final cost and operation of the yacht.”
Every one of the sessions at The Superyacht Forum next week looks at ‘The Perfect Customer Journey’, discussing how our market can continue to improve for clients. These conversations with owners will address issues that the industry still needs to work on, and offer unparalleled insight into the world of superyacht ownership.
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