There are few owners who can interchange disciplines from their line of business with superyacht ownership quite like Harry Vafias, the owner of 56m AE Cap d’Antibes, who has just instructed a €2.1 million price reduction on the vessel.
Vafias, a 39-year-old, has built a fortune in the maritime industry – he is the founder of Stealthgas, a tanker and gas-shipping firm, and is known in the trade press as ‘the Harry Potter of Shipping’ for his endeavours.
He bought AE Cap d’Antibes, a 2007 Benetti build, from Roustam Tariko, the founder of Russian Standard Vodka, and now has her listed at €19.9 million with YPI and Fraser.
Unlike the ‘typical’ owner, who slipped into ownership through the clout of emotion, Vafias prefers negotiating and trading boats to actually using them. He spends a lot of time scouring the market and has a very sharp eye for the best financial investment.
“Some owners are just too impulsive,” begins Vafias, in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews. “They don’t go and inspect, like, 50 boats before they buy, or do sea trials, or speak to 10 different brokers, or 10 different engine manufacturers. If you don’t do that, how can you expect to get a really good idea of the price, the quality of the build, or the equipment on board?
“All they do is go along with their wives and look for a boat with a nice interior. They don’t care about the most important thing which is the mechanical equipment. They buy impulsively, then they think can sell it for the same price two or three years later and end up losing 40 – 50 per cent of their investment because they acted too fast and without the proper knowledge.”
"Some owners are just too impulsive. They don’t go and inspect, like, 50 boats before they buy, or do sea trials, or speak to 10 different brokers, or 10 different engine manufacturers."
Vafias keeps AE Cap d’Antibes side-by-side with his other yacht, X, a 47m Feadship, in Athens, Greece, and manages the boats through his company. “When you’re managing close to 100 ships anyway, what’s an extra two?” he says.
“We have a much better understanding of the engineering aspects, creating efficiencies and economies of scale. We can get much better prices on everything, whether its lubricants, or supplies, or food, because we have a very substantial fleet and run a very tight operation.”
Would the simple fact that an owner who acutely understands the due diligence of buying and maintaining a vessel indicate this to be one of the better options on the market?
Furthermore, at €21,892/gross ton (gt), she looks to be more aggressively priced than several of the 58 – 60m Benettis. Whilst fractionally larger, some of these boats are of a similar age and are around the €30,000/gt mark, which has kept them on the market for a number of years.
Read the full interview with Harry Vafias in issue 180 of The Superyacht Report, published in July 2017.
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Pictured: AE Cap d’Antibes