Aspiration and denigration
Superyachts remain incredibly divisive, but do people miss the bigger picture?
For many people, superyachts remain incredibly divisive.
On the one hand, there are those who see superyachts as the ultimate expressions of wealth, objects of luxury that are to be desired and aspired to. Indeed, during a series of images posted on Instagram in 2017, Conor McGregor, the UFC multiple weight- class champion, upon seeing S/Y A commented: “This is an eye-opening level of opulence to witness first hand. To me, it is truly motivating. I’m starting to think I don’t have a wealth belly just yet. I’m more just rich fat now. I must keep eating”.
By stark contrast, the other school of thought sees the ownership of a superyacht as the ultimate expression of conspicuous consumption and a precursor for tax evasion and avoidance. The Paradise Papers, in particular, have had a damaging effect on the superyacht community, with the European Commission citing the leaks as one of the driving forces behind the commencement of infringement procedures against Cyprus, Greece and Malta for not levying the correct amount of VAT on the provision of superyachts.
Regardless of which side of the fence people fall on, few see the bigger picture. The superyacht industry as a whole is a wonderfully intricate collection of niche markets that are not necessarily transferable beyond the market itself. Where else could the custom tender market thrive or an entire fraternity designers flourish?
While many see superyachts as wholly unnecessary expenses – which they are, no one needs a superyacht – there is a whole swathe of businesses and communities (consider various coastal regions) that rely heavily on these unnecessary expenses to survive.
Like symbiotic relationships in nature, the superyachts require the businesses and the businesses require the superyachts. That superyachts are unnecessary is neither here nor there, they provide economic benefit far beyond their own hulls – if only this was conveyed more effectively to the wider spheres.
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