Buying a superyacht for the first time is one of life’s most significant achievements, and the pinnacle of success. But superyacht ownership is no small undertaking and there is a lot of thought and decision-making which goes into choosing the perfect one for you and your family. ???
Order books for custom and semi-custom new-build superyachts are currently bursting at the seams, with shipyards fulfilling orders through to 2026. In fact, the current climate is seeing the superyacht industry at its busiest in record. So what does this mean for first-time superyacht owners? The good news is that, if you’re in the market for a semi-custom new-build, you have the luxury to take your time and ensure every design element is exactly to your preference. The not-so-good news is that you’ll have to wait a bit longer for those dreamy superyacht vacations and adventures to far off lands. For those looking for turnkey new-builds or to buy used superyachts you may just set sail sooner, but take your time and know what’s right for you.
Whether you opt for a custom, semi-custom, turnkey or used superyacht you have a lot of decisions to make before signing on the dotted line. Here we take a look at some of the things to consider when buying a yacht that will help put you on the path to making the perfect choice.
Don’t Discount Anything
You may think you know exactly what type of yacht you want, but you’d be surprised how something which wasn’t on your radar might in fact be the perfect yacht for you. While it’s unlikely that you’ll end up buying a sailing yacht when you had motor yacht in mind, there are many factors that might change your mind. From size to age, style, amenities, or even the possibility of a complete refit of a yacht which captures your heart rather than a turnkey yacht, you’ll be surprised at what you can find when you widen your search and keep an open mind.
Size Isn’t Everything
It’s common for first-time buyers to opt for the largest yacht they can afford (see our guide to Owning a Superyacht: the Real Costs), only to find out later that there can be limitations to very large superyachts. Anchorages and marinas can’t always accommodate larger yachts and therefore destinations and travel opportunities can be more limited. Along the South of France for example, Monaco and Antibes have marinas for the very largest yachts, but Saint Tropez is too small to cater to them.
The crew on a big yacht is significantly larger and therefore offers a less intimate yachting experience. And unless you have a commercial certification, superyachts of any size can only host 12 guests on board, so bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more opportunities to bring along friends and family. Be open to looking at yachts of all sizes. Clever design and use of space on superyachts in the 45 metre range can often offer all the same facilities as a yacht of 75 metres. Check out these smaller yachts with swimming pools.
This is the golden rule when it comes to buying a superyacht, and the best way to find out what you do and don’t enjoy about particular sizes and styles of yacht. You may find that glamour and elegance are less desirable to you than a more understated décor style. Or perhaps you’ll find that wide deck spaces with uninterrupted views, or beach clubs, sun decks, swimming pools, a gym or any number of features do or don’t suit your family’s style and interests. Only by experiencing a week or more on different charter yachts can you really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
We all do it, dismiss prospective purchases by a single glance. And superyachts are no different. But be wary of deeming a yacht not suitable simply by what it looks like on the outside. Of course it’s important to love the yacht you’re going to buy but you might find that the interior, layout, capabilities or potential of a yacht surprises you if you give it a chance beyond its exterior aesthetics. Many of the converted explorer yachts for example have robust, less chic exteriors, having been converted from fishing vessels, but offer amazing long-range, ice-class opportunities for adventure and huge interiors suitable for long voyages.
Buy the Right Yacht for what you want to Use it For
Which brings us on to buying the right yacht for the type of trips you want to take. Consider how you’ll use the yacht, what type of destinations you want to visit, who will be on board and how long you’ll be on board at any one time. All of these factors and more will affect the type of yacht you should get. You might need something long-range, or with plenty of cabins, or with a helipad or large enough locker for water toys and tenders. Think carefully about what you’d want your yacht to be able to offer you in terms of a holiday and experiences and ensure all of those criteria are met.
The right yacht is out there, so take your time and don’t rush into buying the first yacht that captures your heart. Get a feel for the market, charter lots, visit boat shows and peruse photos and statistics of many different models. Patience is required, especially when opting for a new-build as the waiting time can often be several years. Enjoy the experience, get stuck into planning every last detail and dream of the day you set sail. It will come.
Don’t Plan to Sail your Own Boat
Sailing is a wonderful pastime but when it comes to superyachts it’s one best left to the professional captains. Significant experience and certifications are required to maneuver these huge vessels as well as oversee the safety of all crew and guests on board. It is generally accepted that owners don’t get involved in the driving of their superyachts, although spending time alongside the captain on the bridge is of course a hugely rewarding experience. If you’re a keen sailor and feel as though you would prefer to be your own captain, then consider opting for a yacht under 24 metres in length which doesn’t require a full-time crew.
Consider How Much Crew You’ll Need
Speaking of crew, the size of your boat as well as the kind of activities you’ll want to do will influence how big a crew you’ll need. In addition to a captain and engineer, you’ll need a chef, chief stewardess and deck crew. The larger the yacht the more crew are required, but you also want to consider specialist yacht crew such as helicopter pilots, scuba diving instructors or masseuses. If you plan to have a lot of guests on board, or charter the yacht out, then your stewardess to guest ratio needs to reflect that.
Are you ready to start looking for your first superyacht? Rightboat.com offers hundreds of boats for sale, both new and used, allowing you to peruse photos, floor plans and specifications and get your search narrowed down. We will connect you with the best brokers in the industry who will be able to advise and consult, ensuring you find the perfect yacht for you and your family.
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