Be it ownership or a charter experience, so much of what the superyacht industry promises relies on the selling of a dream. But, like any other dream, the entranced individual invariably wakes up and reality is rarely the tonic that they had hoped for. Creating a custom superyacht is the promise of perfection, the realisation of a lifelong ambition, and perfection is no mean feat of design, engineering, operation or maintenance.
“Education, education, education,” so said Great Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair. Blair’s era was typified by investment and a penchant for Atlanticist policy – there are lessons to be learned here – but it is his stance on education as a means of bolstering social mobility from which we might do well to draw a leaf or two … whether or not he succeeded in this is neither here nor there.
It is all well and good to dream, but dreamers are often most successful when supported by realists. Owners must be encouraged to dream in order to drive the industry forward; however, their idealism must be met by those within the industry that are well placed to explain the realities of the investment.
Where should I build the yacht and why? How much will the vessel cost? What issues frequently occur during builds? What issues are likely to occur after launch? What can I expect from the warranty? What is crewing likely to cost? What is berthing likely to cost? How often will maintenance be required? What is her realistic resale value if well maintained? The list goes on and on and on…
The most potent human reactions are usually brought about as a result of surprise; road rage is largely avoidable if you accept that other drivers on the road are far from perfect and likely to make errors. The same can be said of custom superyacht builds; we may be selling a dream and the idea of perfection, but, in reality, this is simply not the case. We are building vast floating palaces, a complex marriage of various disciplines; dreams are imagined, yachts are real and mistakes happen.
Owners need to be made more aware that errors may occur before the build, during the build and after the launch – this is the nature of the beast. If we can educate, educate, educate, then at least we may be able to mitigate some elements of surprise and thus avoid explosive reactions and reduce negative experiences. One owner at FLIBS 2016 summed it up perfectly; “this is the game, this is yachting, if you don’t like it, don’t get a yacht.”