Two very different sailing yachts are set to be sold to the highest bidder in the space of 24 hours in February. Hamilton, the 30.48m WallyCento hull that was launched in 2012, is available to the highest bidder, with no reserve, and must be sold by 28 February. On 27 February online auctioneers, Sweeney Kincaid will conclude bidding on the 32.4m Kestrel 106.

Speaking exclusively to Kestrel Superyachts MD, Peter Cooke explained that taking the unusual step of bringing a sailing vessel to auction was necessary under the current constraints of a turgid sales market.

“The issue is how to stand out when there are so many yachts for sale in this size bracket, among every brokerage house and with so few serious potential buyers”, Cooke explained. “Reducing the asking price and even switching brokers doesn’t do it, as everyone else has the same idea; who wants to be a broker at times like this I wonder?”

The Kestrel 106.

Cooke said it had been a tough year in 2013, for both the marketing of Kestrel and the 30m-40m sailing yacht market as a whole. “Although we had several seriously interested parties, with detailed viewings and successful sailing trials, the market was populated by apparently willing buyers who are still reluctant to part with their money until general liquidity improves, and I think this problem will continue for a year or two yet.”

And so Cooke has settled on this innovative (assuming it achieves the end result) solution. He is joined by Sir Charles Dunstone, who will attempt to sell his performance racer Hamilton, the second of the WallyCento hulls, to the highest bidder. Incidentally, although unrelated to this process, Sir Charles is part of the venture capital fund set to invest in Boat International Media.

“As you know I enjoy breaking business models, and it is time to do so again”, Cooke said of his leftfield sales tactic. “As far as I am aware we are the first sailing superyacht ever to be offered for sale by online auction, and by strange coincidence our timing matches that of Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton being sold by tender without reserve - two serious innovations in yacht sales.”


Cooke feels that, if the sales mechanisms prove successful, it will change the methodology of selling yachts. “In our case we have a very low but undisclosed reserve to encourage bidding, and someone might be very lucky to get her for a song as the reserve is vastly below replacement cost. Although, of course, I hope not!”

Securing a yacht for ‘a song’ is not unheard of. The 77.7m explorer, Lone Ranger, was the largest superyacht sold in 2013 and went for just €750,000 at the Prestige Yacht Auction, held at the Antibes Yacht Show. And Dave Ritchie famously sold his superyacht, Apoise through his own auction business for €34 million. At the time Ritchie said, “At the end of the day, I received fair market value for the Apoise. It didn’t take me two years to sell the Apoise, and I didn’t incur the significant carrying costs over that time. I was given an auction date and it was sold on that day for fair market value.

Lone Ranger.

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