“Experienced owners know better. The safe, reliable and economical running of the yacht after it has been commissioned is what really counts, and this can make the difference between successful ownership, and a never-ending series of problems and breakdowns. Part of the successful running of yacht depends on how it is managed and maintained after the launch, but just as important is how it was designed built and fitted out. You cannot add reliability as an after-thought when things start going wrong, but equally the best-built vessel will quickly come to grief it is not looked after, or its crew are not trained in how to operate its systems.” This excerpt was taken from issue 2 of The Wood Report (the first iteration of The Superyacht Report), which was published in 1992. Sound familiar?

The advice provided by this journalist has, much to the market’s discredit, proved to be timeless. Far be it from me to claim that the superyacht market has failed to progress over the last 25-years, one needs to only to look at the long list of codes, regulations, legislative updates and superyachting landmarks to appreciate how far the market has come. However, alarm bells began to ring when I realised that some of the market’s more fundamental issues seem to have barely changed, regardless of any improvements made to management systems or training and recruitment.

The issues alluded to in the opening statement, I hasten to add, do not hold sway in all cases and at all times and, as the editor of the article clearly highlights, experienced owners do indeed know best. However, isn’t this gulf in the quality of the superyacht experience, born of a lack of prior knowledge, part and parcel of the superyacht market’s problem? The utility gained from owning a superyacht should not only be granted as a by-product of years of headache and heartbreak to the few that have the resolve to weather extended periods of annoyance and disappointment. And yet, management (mismanagement) and crewing continue to be the variables most frequently lent upon when issues of ownership are raised.

While I harbour no love for the man, perhaps Tony Blair, former prime minister of the UK, had it right when he exclaimed, “Our top priority was, is and always will be education, education, education.” All factions of the superyacht market have a responsibility to ensure owners, and would be owners, are effectively educated as a means of ensuring history doesn’t continue to repeat itself.   

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