Historically at least, chartering has been the de facto solution to the issue of depreciating values and rising maintenance costs. But as has been well documented in other forums, a rapidly evolving fiscal landscape, increasing scrutiny on the status of yachts by customs authorities and the implications of registering for commercial operation all mean that chartering is no longer an sure-fire or easy means of clawing one’s money back. So what questions should you be asking before you make the decision to put your yacht on the charter market?

In Issue 13 of The Superyacht Owner Will Mathieson spoke to four leading charter professionals (Barbara Tambani, president, Floating Life; Chris Craven, charter broker, SuperYachtsMonaco; Sacha Williams, director of charter marketing for Europe, Camper & Nicholsons International; Daniela De Marco, charter management manager, Fraser Yachts) to find out what questions owners should be asking if they want to run a successful charter yacht. Here is an extract.

Do I really want to charter my yacht?

CC: Owners have to ask themselves how serious they are, and how much they are prepared to invest. In my mind the full package would include considerations such as a fantastic online website of the boat, which might require a heli-shoot. So there is a bit of money to spend, and that’s an important initial consideration. But considering what charters net, it’s a drop in the ocean.

SW: Any initial discussion will involve identifying what the owner really wants to get out of their yacht. If an owner says they would like to have 15 weeks of charter, then we would go back to that owner and explain what needs to happen for us to achieve that. If they only want us to find four to six weeks of charter when they are not using the yacht themselves to balance that out, then again, that’s a different discussion.

What will I need to invest in order to boost the yacht’s profile?

BT: A question we usually direct at owners is, “Have you thought about improving the yacht next season?” The owner doesn’t have to spend a fortune to enhance the visibility of the yacht in the market. Sometimes they will only need to buy a new toy, a Jacuzzi, or simply new cushions. But these improvements will ensure the yacht’s profile grows. We receive various questions from charterers. They are usually very meticulous and before choosing a yacht for their vacation, they need to be well informed on everything: bed linen composition, carpet colour, toys … But their most common enquiry is related to the crew: “Is it a stable crew?”, “How many people?” And of course, “What nationality is the chef?” The human factor is very important, and sometime it is underestimated. A smiley, gentle and positive crew normally helps to cover other structural defects.

Do I have the most suitable crew for chartering?

CC: An owner should invest in the quality of their crew. There are certain yachts that are known to have fantastic crew – M/Y Cloud Nine, S/Y Tiara – because the owner uses rotational captains and engineers. They’ve got wonderful packages where they are flown home a couple of times a year and they have time to rest, which makes them want to come back. Crews walk very quickly if they are not properly looked after and that is not good for the consistency and efficiency that a charter vessel requires. So don’t scrimp on the crew; pay them well or provide a package that will keep them in place.

To read the full article, see Issue 13. Members can access the magazine online here. To subscribe, click here.

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