Most of us will have heard that old saying, “It’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it” and in reality this applies to superyachts more than ever. Yes, yachts have often been referred to as extensions of an owner’s testosterone-fuelled ego and in the past decade they have grown to porn star priapic proportions. But there has to be a caveat and guidance note for all who crave to own the biggest or a yacht that perhaps has grown beyond the realms of normality in superyacht terms.

In the past I have mused on whether instead of owning one megayacht, it would be wiser to invest the money into a small personal fleet of two or three smaller superyachts. How owners spend their money is something I feel strongly about. Owning a yacht in the 90m-plus sector seems to have become a trend in the billionaire sphere. Pouring a couple of hundred million euros into a very large yacht may be acceptable today and while it is clearly on the agenda of many yards and designers, not to mention our sales force, will it make sense for the future?

In Issue 14 I argued that there are more intelligent ways for owners to spend money. If owning more than one yacht does not appeal, it should at the very least come down to quality. My advice? Why not spend the same amount of money as you were planning to – be it 100 million euros or even 300 million euros – but spend it on a yacht that is of the best quality possible in terms of build, design and engineering. So rather than spend 100 million euros on a 120m project that should perhaps cost 180 million, buy a 75m yacht for the same money. Not only will the yacht deliver a much better experience – with enough budget for the yard to deliver an incredible result and survive the ordeal – but in terms of maintenance and operation, if the budget was there in the first place, you will get a better boat. Again the industry adage of “You either pay now or pay later” will always be relevant to any new build project.

I have witnessed in the past few years a variety of new players who are migrating northwards to the bigger projects but, to be honest, I am unconvinced that this is going to help anyone in the market. A substandard yacht built to a very lean budget at any size is not good for the market. It gets stuck on the brokerage market in the future, depreciates like a dictator’s currency and will fail, cause headaches and lead to high crew turnover and a very frustrated owner.

So anyone who is thinking about building a yacht today, tomorrow or in the future, this simple piece of advice may in fact make everyone’s life better. Agree a budget and then build the best, highest quality and most perfect yacht you can afford and forget how long it is. Size doesn’t matter, but I can assure you that after touring a wide spectrum of yachts during the autumn show season, quality really does make a difference.

This article first appeared in Issue 15 of The Superyacht Owner, which subscribing members can read online here.

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