“If it floats or flies – rent”; or so goes the old expression. Nevertheless, the allure of owning one’s own yacht is perhaps too intoxicating for many. The sun, the sea, the sheer brilliance of hosting a mobile feast as you cruise into the Bay of St. Tropez with Wagner’s ‘Flight of the Valkyries’ blaring triumphant through your Q Acoustics speaker system….There’s nothing quite like it.
And so, many have fallen prey to the trap of ownership over chartering, sucked into a black hole of endless expenditure (maintenance will set you back a reportedly 10% of the value of the yacht per year) and crew staff dynamics. Nevertheless, whilst you can identify with the “have-yachts”, enjoy it and lean into its excessive magnificence.
But take care to steer clear of landing yourself into becoming a tired stereotype, the waters are already infested with them. DDW investigates the worst offenders of the seas and helps you navigate yourself away from cliché-dom:
Nothing quite says “I’m old money” more than a classic yacht moored in Sag Harbour, Newport, or some other traditional port, and for good reason – if new build ships are expensive, classics are exorbitant. Not only that, but they are exceedingly difficult to find in a workable state if you have not already inherited one.
These days, classics tend to be the exclusive purview of Royal families, dwindling family fortunes and slightly unhinged collectors and few can compare to the top ten: the Madiz, the Paloma, the Voyager or the Talitha.
Owning one may well set you on a path of Kennedy-vibe-osmosis but it could equally put you in a bracket of hackneyed try hard should you not have sufficiently discerning taste for interiors and a grand surname to back it up.
If the teams at Feadship, Blohm + Voss, Lürssen, and Nobiskrug pray to a saint, it must be to Saint Roman for spurring on an ever-growing list of billionaires with an insatiable urge to build largest yacht in the world.
If there is ever a stereotypical yacht owner, the new-money ‘billionaire’ is it, and their unsophisticated image hangs over the yachting world like a dark, yet gilded, cloud.
Of course, there’s no denying that the biggest private yachts out there are the direct result of oil & tech money from the Gulf, the Urals and beyond flooding into the glitziest shipyards around the globe but this is the market for yachts of the same size as landmark buildings (the world’s largest, the Azzam, measures at 180 metres – 590 ft – the same as the City of London’s Gherkin building) and Roman Abramovic’s own Eclipse at 162m (533 ft).
If you must go big, at least avoid the pointless competition with those with oil wells, and pockets, who will always be deeper.
The Trustafarian Collector
As any Cork Street gallery backer will tell you, being a patron of the arts is not about the money, and neither is transforming your majestic yachting vessel into a floating sculpture-cum-tax-efficient-private-art-museum.
After all, everyone you know already has the same old maritime toys with heli pads, pools and jet skis and you rather die than ‘conform’ to those unimaginative norms.
And so – why not enlist Jeff Koons to paint your yacht? Or hit up Larry (Gagosian), Charles (Saatchi) and Simon (de Pury) on your speed dial (you had to delete Inigo Philbrick’s number after that whole thing went down) to ‘dress up’ the walls with Warhol’s Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) or maybe some Richard Prince photos for the staterooms?
Be warned: The dangers of this type of flashy yacht vary from becoming the preferred yacht promoter afterparty in Mykonos to developing somewhat shallow friendship with Leo and Richie that will cost hundreds of thousands in ‘ Grand Philanthropist’ donations to amfAR and the Leonardo di Caprio Foundation.
Serious sailors would not be caught dead cruising the Med in a motorised yacht gin palace, lest they be mocked by their fellow seafaring brethren. To know how to sail is to be master of the seas, commander of Poseidon, a statesman at the top of the global heap and a champion of adventure – it is core to the identity of this type of yacht owner.
Regardless, these days the sails are rarely deployed, having last been put to their cross-Atlantic use during an unnecessarily arduous trip to visit the plot Tennant sold you in Mustique in the mid 80’s. Instead, the four mast Cuban mahogany behemoth now sits quietly in a remote Adriatic port where it serves as a floating home for your tax exile.
Although the sheer presence of this yacht will command old-school respect from mega yacht owners and sailors alike, it can easily veer you into unwanted waters – putting you in the same bucket as those old overly tanned and overweight uncles who are still bragging about the time they were once shot by Slim Aarons in Palm Springs during a mid 70’s ‘Hollywood sojourn’.
The Party Boy / Girl
Much like the Trustafarian Collector’s choice of yacht, this type of boat tells the world that you are ready to party and you are happy for everyone to know it. There is no subtlety to this loud and bombastic choice so you must become quickly at peace with the fact that both your club friends and your annoying cousins will try to ‘borrow’ it for a spin.
Although technically not a yacht in itself, this multi-million pound speedboat will easily ferry you to and from LIV to Bal Harbour or to bring across your less than approved partner to Sunday lunch aboard your father’s actual yacht.
Cliche’s obviously abound here but if you splashed that kind of cash on a day boat, you’re probably ok with them.
UP NEXT: Gift now – heirloom later…