The owner features throughout this year within The Superyacht Report have been notably varied, and have truly shown the breadth of our market, and the individuals who form the backbone of it. This is a theme that will most definitely continue in 2018, especially in our first issue of the year, where each individual section of the magazine (be it operations, business, design, technology or buyer) will also discuss various elements of ownership.
The final issue of The Superyacht Report for 2017 boasts insight from a number of individuals who are keen to discuss the history of yachting. The Feadship Heritage fleet has become one of the select owner’s clubs in our market, which is quite an accolade in this elite industry. We garner an insider view from Bryony McCabe’s interview with Elizabeth and Rory Brooks, owners of the classic 1972 Heavenly Daze. The couple were a strong influence on the club’s formation, with Rory now serving as chairman. “It adds another dimension for the owners and, quite frankly, sets these boats apart,” he explains. “While you can’t put a monetary value on it, at some point someone is going to realise that these older boats are completely irreplaceable in the same way that classic cars are, and the Feadship Heritage Fleet is already starting to create that feeling.”
The couple see themselves as stewards, rather than owners of the 32m, and have no plans to move on from Heavenly Daze. “The boat is 45 years old and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t outlast us. We want to keep the maintenance up, keep a happy crew and keep the guests coming. It’s been 14 years and we want it to continue for a long time,” adds Rory.
Within the interview, the Brooks credit their captain for the smooth-running of the vessel and relatively low crew-turnover; a rarity in today’s market. “My one recommendation to first-time owners is to find a good captain, and then spend your early years listening, not talking, and just learn. It is a great learning experience and we have really enjoyed that part of it a lot,” he reveals.
This theme of experience (and learning the ropes) is the focus of Tim Thomas’s feature, which sees him reunite with a former comrade from his deckhand days, Captain Jerry Reed. “In our day, you were looking for someone who was going to hang around for awhile,” Reed begins, lamenting about modern crew. “But you could also tell from how people spoke, how they dressed, what they looked like – yachting is a very personal business so it’s the personality coming through that’s key from the owner’s standpoint but also from the crew-dynamic perspective, because every boat has a dynamic.”
Thomas and Reed recall how the smaller boats often influenced the familial feel of the yachting lifestyle, arguing that the vast, private nature of 100m+ vessels has all but eliminated the connection between owner and crew. “There is probably less or no contact with the owner on a 140m yacht, except between a couple of key crew,” offers Reed. “The rest are just ancillary crew, whereas in the old days on smaller yachts you might have four crew on a 90-footer, and everyone ended up eating and living with the owners, which was far better in my mind. Nowadays, the kids jump on a 140m yacht, they’re given a section to chamois and that’s all they do, nothing more, nothing less. They will never interact with owners or guests. Is it yachting? Not in my mind.” This frank discussion between two long-term friends and yachties is definitely not one to miss.
Read these features, and much more, in The Superyacht Report issue 183, which will be available from mid-December. To see if you’re eligible for a complimentary subscription, click here.
Image: M/Y Heavenly Daze. Courtesy of Rory and Elizabeth Brooks. Copyright: Stuart Pearce
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