Are superyacht berths an attractive investment for owners? SuperyachtNews.com speaks with Eduoard Vignal and Jeroen Minnema of Ocean Independence and Paul Cook of OneOcean Port Vell, ahead of the The Superyacht Owner’s Summit 2016, about the benefits and potential pitfalls of buying berths.
“For owners, the priority when buying a berth should be peace of mind,” starts Vignal. “Knowing that no matter what, the owner will always have the same berth that he chose is a big plus.” This peace of mind is not only of paramount importance for the yacht’s owner, but having a failsafe port of call can alleviate the pressure on the captain and crew – especially when trying to organise a charter.
“A fixed mooring gives the yacht a place to return to whenever she is out there in the middle of the season and berth places are difficult to find,” says Minnema. All yachts, but charter yachts most pressingly, require provisioning, maintenance, fuel, and an attractive area to embark and disembark guests.
Marina di Stabia
With so many elements to consider simultaneously, the security of a fixed mooring, as well as trusted provisioning and servicing organisations on land, lessens the pressure placed on captains and crew.
“As an investment I always recommend berths in stable economies and attractive, safe areas,” continues Vignal. “But, when we talk about ultra-large berths in five-star marinas in these areas, they are a scarce commodity. Even large commercial ports like Marseille, Toulon and Nice have limited capacity and it is practically impossible to get a mooring for the long term.”
One such berth, a 404m behemoth, does exist at OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona and it is able to moor vessels up to 190m. “I am a huge believer that you sell anything on desire and fear, [and] a berth is no different,” explains Cook. “You sell on desire, insomuch as someone wants to keep their boat in a certain location. Alternatively, owners buy out of fear, and one of the prominent issues at the moment is the number of 75m+ superyachts in build.”
What Cook has correctly identified is the number of large superyachts will soon exceed the number of berths able to accommodate them in the Mediterranean. And it is these berths that provide the most attractive investment opportunities.
OneOcean Port Vell
“We are finding a huge draw of discerning owners who are interested in our large berth,” continues Cook. “Owners want to know that their large yacht is going to be in a desirable place for prolonged periods of time.” Traditionally, desirable locations include proximity to summer cruising grounds as well as protection from the elements and refit opportunities in the winter.
Leasing a desirable berth has the ability to offset running costs is a number of ways. If a yacht is well located it may go some way towards lessening the speed of crew turnover. In so doing, it is possible to reduce crewing costs in terms of recruitment and training fees, as well as reducing general inefficiencies.
Secondly, long-term leases provide owners with a variety of revenue options, and while they may not be able to cover the overall cost of ownership, like charter, they are able to offset financial overheads.
Most fixed moorings are used by their owners during the off-season as a convenient homeport, located for its maintenance and crew satisfaction, as well as the owner’s peace of mind. During the season owners will usually be cruising and exploring various locations, and it is at these times that desirable berths can be rented out for a high season premium, offsetting the cost of cruising.
And it is the nature of the leasing agreements that usually give owners the option to retain their asset, or sell it for a profit. “Owners get a first option to invest again for an increased concession period,” concludes Cook. “Owners also have the option of selling on the berth for a profit.”
To find out more about marina berths and their investment opportunities, join us from 4-6 May for the Superyacht Owners Summit 2016, a cutting-edge series of talks on luxury asset acquisition, focusing on the three themes of air, land and sea, as part of ‘Prestige London’ and ‘The London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show’. To register click here.