Yacht owners that have become active on the business side of the industry have called for active changes in its models during a panel at the Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam. This follows the launch of their platforms aimed at reducing charter by slashing booking fees. "Stop your disrespect." Ahoy Club's Ian Malouf advised the market.



Attending the panel were Australian businessman Ian Malouf, founder of Ahoy Club and fresh of a $578 million exit in the waste management space, Philippe Bacou, founder of Yotha and Matty Zadnikar, founder of SeaNet. All founded yachting businesses in recent years stepping over from yacht ownership. The debate was moderated by Martin Redmayne.

According to Malouf, his primary goal is to improve the market and his secondary one is to make money. "I think we’re portrayed as a one click and you’re there business, but we have a large team and we are a full-service digital platform." Malouf commented. "We have the cheapest structure in the business and we expect it will go lower before it goes higher."


Malouf's 54m Mischief

Historically resistant to change, yachting has reacted defensively in recent quarters to the entry of these new actors. Malouf described their behaviour as "cartel-like". According to Philippe Bacou, the market is responding aggressively due to the platforms reducing commissions.

"When you provide something that is automatic instead of manual it reduces costs. What we are doing is making savings here." Bacou detailed.  "Of course, we all want to make money, but it comes down to global satisfaction."

Ahoy Club and Yotha's web-platforms power an online search of available yachts for charter, a digital booking process and communication system with the yacht and their concierge team. Thanks to automation, the companies say they can reduce booking prices by near 15%.


Bacou's 43m Philmi

“Their behaviour has been poor but expected,” Malouf described. “We’ve been treated like we’re coming into an industry of brokers who think they own the boats. Our pricing structure is cheaper and we’re being told by many that it’s not acceptable and that it is an act of price-fixing.”

When a representative from a large brokerage house asked Malouf whether it would have been better to go to industry bodies like MYBA or LYBRA and try to improve the sector from the inside, the Australian businessman responded.

"Sometimes you have to break things to fix things and that’s what needs to happen. You’re talking about joining arms and walking down the road, which we’re witnessing and it’s a behaviour that’s unpalatable. The question of why didn’t we go to the industry is the reason we are here. For you to even ask me that question is a joke."


One of Seanet's Benettis

"You expect me to bend a knee for the incumbent and say, is it ok for me to enter your industry? Well, you don’t own this industry and it needs a shake, is getting a shake and will be shaken by us. What happens in a market is you have a business and competitors come in and compete, and whoever provides the best service for the best price and for the best commodity usually ends up with the best business."

The representative responded, as the market typically retorts, saying large brokerage houses offer a knowledgeable brokers, which can't be matched by these digital platforms. Pointing out Ahoy Club has a concierge team, Malouf went further, saying some central agents won't present valid charters that Ahoy brings to them.



"A few central agents will block a charter from us getting to the owner. Our remedy to that is that we respect your CA agreement until you breach it by not recommending our choice. That’s when we’ll go to the owner – it’s simple and fair. We’ve done over 100 charter contracts so far – we make no money off the small charters but they’ll come through. You talk about building relationships and that’s what we’re doing."

Malouf, Bacou and Zadnikar all encouraged the market at the end of the debate to focus on the end client and not to skim clients for commissions. "Put your commission drive aside and focus more on what the client wants." Zadnikar outlined. 

"Stop your disrespect." Malouf added on.



Matty Zadnikar comes from the safety monitoring space, having founded and run Z-Group for over 20 years. In 2014, the group was acquired by American industrial safety group Total Safety, which allowed Zadnikar to transform his yachting hobby into a business. Founding the company, Zadnikar announced an investment of €32 million to jump start SeaNet's fleet in the Med, which is based on a co-ownership model.

Made up of Azimut and Benetti yachts of up to 40 meters, the idea is to give owners an option to buy only part of a yacht and improve its efficiency. On a 93ft Benetti Delfino, priced at €9 million, SeaNet lets you buy a 25% ownership stake for €2.3m with annual running costs of just over €110,000 instead of €450,000. This set up grants buyers a total of 7 weeks of use of that type of boat in the SeaNet fleet for 7 weeks per year.



Ian Malouf built his wealth in waste management in Australia with the DADI Group that was ultimately acquired by Bingo for $578 million earlier this year. With the help of his daughter, Ellie Malouf, the two have now switched their attention over to yachting with Ahoy Club, a market that they're now positioning themselves to try and dominate.

Owner of the 54-meter Mischief, which Malouf is also marketing for charter through Ahoy from €137,650 per week in the off-season, the Australian businessman recently listed the yacht for sale at an asking price of €24 million.



Philippe Bacou also launched his yacht platform, Yotha, in 2018 after 15 years of experience on the ownership and charter side of the market. Earlier in 2018, the French businessman raised an additional €1.4 million from strategic investors to develop and launch Yotha. His 43-meter ISA, Philmi was delivered in 2014.

Latest News

Inside Azimut S8 by Azimut Yachts
Alberto Mancini's Azimut S8 is both aggressive and elegant, which makes it perfectly fit into the stylistic framework of the entire S-series.According to Azimut “S8 stands out from its competitors, primarily due to its unprecedented manoeuvrability, quiet operation and significantly lower fuel consumption”.Lightweight and durable material from which flybridge, deck and bathing platform are made, together with three Volvo Penta IPS 1350 engines with a capacity of 1,000 litres. with. each is a guarantee of outstanding speed capabilities. The yacht can develop up to 34 knots or cruise at 27 knots. On top of that, the Carbon-Tech generation boat has a joystick instead of a helm wheel, active trimmer position control.The main system includes additional Kohler generator 28 kW, sea keeper Stabilizer NG16 and upgraded air conditioning system.Exterior has automatic bimini on the flybridge, cockpit table with carbon finishing top, cover for a garage door with logo. Also, underwater lights: 4 on each side and 4 on aft section and 4 hidden secret lights on the bow, 2 on the aft. Also, the yacht has a place for a spacious garage for water toys.Another feature of the S8, designed for eight guests, is its ergonomic layout: four spacious cabins, as many bathrooms, are located on the lower deck due to the compact engine room. The interiors, created by Francesco Guida, exude hospitality and sophistication. They can be decorated in one of two colours - “Platinum” and “Black Pearl”.
Lürssen reveals new 90m Superyacht
Lürssen showcases the latest in-build 90m superyacht. This project was technically launched at Rendsburg in Northern Germany, sporting a completed hull and superstructure.The yard not revealing any details about the project, but the yacht reminds sports design of the 70.7m Lürssen superyacht Skat. The yacht will now undergo outfitting and will be officially launched in 2021.
Inside 28m Ferretti 920
The Ferretti Yacht 920 is a flybridge yacht which stands out thanks to its monumental, dynamic forms, innovative design features.The motor yacht can accommodate 8 guests in 4 cabins. The yacht was designed by Zuccon International Project, the Ferretti Group’s Engineering Department and the Product Strategy Committee.The Ferretti Yacht 920 is a flybridge yacht which stands out thanks to its monumental, dynamic forms, innovative design features.These features are the wide-body concept of the owner’s suite on the main deck, superb functional flexibility (including the option of switching from four cabins to a five cabins version), and the vast spaces in its ground-breaking bow area, all of which can be used by guests.The eye-catching profile is underlined by the detailing on the gunwale, which extends beyond the bulwark walkways and intersects the master-cabin window like a blade.The highly innovative maxi-flybridge is designed with an impressive collection of spaces, featuring décor, multipurpose relaxation areas and a classic-contemporary interior feel. She is powered by MTU engines of 2435 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 30 knots and a cruising speed of 23 knots.
Monaco Yacht Show update
The 30th edition of the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) will take place from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 September 2020 at Port Hercule in Monaco.The organisers are fully aware of the strategic importance of the MYS to the companies that participate each year – for growing their business, sales and marketing.The Monaco Yacht Show 2020 will probably be one of the first opportunities this year to bring together the yachting industry and meet private customers to discuss current and future market trends and share a true superyachting experience that only a visit to a salon can offer.The MYS offers the perfect setting for establishing direct relations based on trust. Future buyers can visit several yachts all in one day, compare them, meet the designers, and discuss with brokers and shipyards. Such a totally immersive experience is as essential as it can be decisive when considering the purchase or construction of a superyacht.MYS is keeping a close eye on how the pandemic is evolving, hoping there will be a healthier and more stable situation around the globe in the coming months.Also, the MYS, we will implement directives issued by the government of Monaco and the World Health Organisation (WHO) that reflect how the pandemic has evolved by September 2020.
Ulstein Verft delivered 88m Explorer Olivia O by Espen Øino
Ulstein Verft delivered 88.5-metre Espen Øino-designed explorer yacht Olivia O after reconstruction. Planning and engineering work began on the boat in November 2016. The project’s hull and superstructure were constructed in Croatia by the Brodosplit.Though Oliva O is Ulstein’s first private superyacht project, well-known superyacht designer Espen Oeino brings valuable experience.Designed and built by Ulstein Verft - a yard better known for commercial vessels, ferries and workboats, Olivia O is characterised by a striking reverse bow and explorer profile.Olivia O can sleep up to 20 in eight cabins, including Pullman bunks while crew accommodation is for 30 people.