Derek Munro, Director - Divergent Yachting

In our latest One to One digital dialogue, Martin H. Redmayne is joined by Derek Munro, director at Divergent Yachting and chairperson of Superyacht Charities, to discuss what we can be doing better in the new build project process – a particularly important topic as we begin to emerge from the global lockdown. 

“We’ve got a nice small fleet [at Divergent Yachting], with a good team of people in the office who are in regular communication with the captains and crew. It's been interesting during the COVID-19 period, but it's ticking along nicely. It's growing - and that's all I want it to do!” begins Munro.

Divergent Yachting is a bespoke yacht management company that is currently focused on keeping its ratio of boats to yacht managers as low as possible. “The idea is that, for example, we’ve got four yacht managers in the office at the moment - they know all the crew by name, and they're on top of everything. We’re not going to get rich doing it, but we're giving a good service and everyone's happy and everyone goes home to bed at night,” Munro continues.

Munro has also been involved in the project management of the wonderful Black Pearl, and continues to work on this. “[Black Pearl] is very good. She's actually out sailing, so anyone sailing around the coast of Montenegro / Croatia area over the next week or so we'll see you out there! The crew are having a great time… the weather's lovely and the captain’s very happy with the way the boats performing,” Munro explains.

Redmayne opens up a conversation surrounding one of Munro’s frustrations about the industry; how we can attract new and younger clients and what needs to change in the new build process in order to entice and retain them? “I think we really need to try and sort out this reputation that we have of not being upfront, not being transparent, and clients not knowing exactly where all their funds are going. I'm not sure how we do it, but I'm pretty sure there must be a way nowadays so that we can open things up more and clients can see a lot more about where their funds are going,” says Munro.   

Munro then considers how the industry can go about this, and how this transparency from early on in the build process would benefit everyone in the ‘team’ from shipyard to broker to client, avoiding any hidden surprises.

Another topic that arises is regarding a classification update, particularly when looking at more complex new builds. “Does the client understand how we're going to store hydrogen yet, or are they going to wait and do catch up? When we did the batteries on Black Pearl, we spent nearly nine months doing the hazard tests with Lloyd on how to store them, and really that should have already been done before - batteries have been around for a long time,” says Munro. “We need to get class up to date, because once they are up to date and they have a rule in place, the shipyard understands what they have to do and that has a defined cost within the scope of the build, and then it’s about convincing the client that looking forward it might cost you £50,000 or £100,000 more, but that you’ll save that in five years time,” Munro adds.

Additionally, Munro explores the technologies that will appeal to the next generation of clients, and the necessity for the industry to offer more than jacuzzies for the incoming adventure seekers… Watch the video in full here

The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. (If you would like to take part, or contribute your thoughts, please contact Research Editor, Clare Sidwell.

You can view the ever-growing archive of Digital Dialogues here.

And remember, there is still a limited number of spaces left for the industry’s One face-to-face appointment in 2020. The Superyacht Forum will take place 16th – 18th November in Amsterdam, in partnership with METSTRADE. To secure your spot, click here.

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