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.
Gulf Craft, the fast-growing UAE-based shipyard, has released more imagery of its latest 43-meter model, the Majesty 140. First unveiled at the Dubai Boat Show in February, the yacht is the 2nd largest model in the yard's lineup of superyachts.Accommodating up to 12 guests in 5 cabins, the 43-meter C'est La Vie features a master cabin on the main deck that comes with a fold-out balcony and Jacuzzi hot tub. Designed with a light theme and lots of natural light, the yacht is catered by a crew of 9."The Majesty 140 is a continuation of our 3 and a half decade long commitment to creating yachts and boats in accordance with the world's best standards, carrying the Made in UAE flag with pride." commented Mohammed Hussain Al Shaali, Chairman of Gulf Craft.Amongst the yacht's highlights is a 55sqm beach club, a rare feature on yachts of this size. The 43-meter's spacious main salon also benefits from tall, panoramic windows that directly connect guests with the sea.Powered by twin 2,600hp MTU engines, the Majesty 140 can reach a top speed of 20 knots. Other projects currently in-build at the yard include its future flagship, the Majesty 175, set to be delivered in 2019.A growing force in the superyacht space, Gulf Craft has established itself as the leading yacht producer in the Middle East over recent years, gaining traction across Europe. According to several reports in local media, Gulf Craft was contemplating a public listing.
December 11, 2018
#1 KhalilahPhoto by @BalcoBuilt by US shipyard Palmer Johnson in 2014, the 49-meter Khalilah became one of the yard's most emblematic yachts thanks to its unusual form and colour. Part of its Super Sport 48 series, the yacht has a total of 5 cabins and can reach a top speed of 30 knots.#2 Chevrolet Corvette onboard 49m La Pellegrina.La Pellegrina was designed by Exequiel Cano Lanza, while her interior design was created by Jean-Pierre Fantini. Built by Couach Yachts and delivered in 2012, a maximum speed of 28 knots.#3 Roberto Cavalli's 27m superyacht Freedom launched by CCN.Freedom is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 40 knots thanks to 3 water-jet engines. Both the exterior profile and the interior layout reflects the personality of the owner, who asked for a yacht enhancing maximum contact with the sea while also ensuring the utmost privacy. To provide some more details, the master cabin – located behind the helm station – extends across the entire main deck. A central sky-light lets in plenty of natural light, while, aft, the large cockpit fitted with concealing curtains allows to fully enjoy the sea in privacy. The lower deck features 2 guest cabins and comfortable crew quarters, and the fly includes a private area with pilot seat.#4 49m Aurora.Photo by @alexxa_k01Fulvio De Simoni styled her exterior, whilst the interior design came from the boards of Achille Salvagni. She hosts a large garage with two tenders, two seabobs, two jet skis, scuba diving equipment and a variety of water toys. Performance wise Aurora is powered by two 3,460hp MTU 12V 4000 M93L diesel engines, providing her a top speed of 21 knots and a maximum cruising range of 3,800 nautical miles at 12 knots.#5 104m Quantum BluePhoto by @superyachts_gibraltarBuilt in 2014, Quantum Blue was designed by Tim Heywood and Alberto Pinto. She has a length of 104m, a beam of 16.8m and a draft of 4m. The yacht's alluring amenities include a spa with a pool, a lift, helipad, beach club, gym and movie theatre. With a maximum speed of 22 knots, she can cruise at 13 knots.#6 175-metre superyacht concept Acionna.Concept by Andy Waugh Design.At 175-metre in length Acionna is the ultimate world cruising megayacht and challenges many of the preconceptions about larger yachts that are often said to be homogenous and conventional. At first glance it is obvious that Acionna is absolutely unique, her avant-garde styling a feast-for-the-eyes from every angle is exaggerated by her elegant proportions and sheer scale.The interior space available within the design is colossal and could include almost any feature desired including potentially a full size squash court, helicopter hanger and a 20m indoor pool. Included in her 8 decks is a spectacular, double-height main saloon with panoramic curved glass overlooking the main aft deck pool.#7 The Oasis projectLazzara Ombres ArchitectsA cross over design of a Power Catamaran with the toy capacity of a Shadow yacht. Creating anything unique in the yachting world is a tall order but Oasis has done just that.“The innovation is the stepped layout and higher freeboard which achieves a flush, full beam, lower deck” says Joe Lazzara, a third generation yacht designer. “This space is typically used for technical equipment on a traditional Catamaran hull”.The full beam (35.5’) owners apartment with fold down private balconies on each side allows the owner to be closer to the water. A master shower with privacy glass has an endless sight line of the water.
December 11, 2018
In the spotlight throughout a long-running case around Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the 91-meter Equanimity is now being auctioned for a nine-figure sum by Malaysia's government. Built by Oceanco, the superyacht was delivered with one of the largest spas ever seen onboard a yacht.1MDB was created in 2009 as a sovereign wealth fund with over $4 billion under management to invest in strategic projects. After a series of investments in energy and real estate, a controversy around the fund began as to whether funds had been misappropriated throughout this period by management and government officials.Later investigations led to asset seizures spearheaded by the US DoJ, amongst which was Equanimity. It was then claimed that her owner, financier Jho Low, had ordered the yacht using profits that were connected to 1MDB's real estate dealings and off-shore accounts totalling over $250 million for the yacht's purchase and upkeep.Financed also in part through a loan by Sotheby's financial against art works, Equanimity was delivered in 2014 and introduced at the Monaco Yacht Show later that year where she won the award of finest yacht. Amongst her main highlights was an extensive spa area that spanned a large part of her lower deck.Following developments in the 1MDB case, the DoJ moved to seize Equanimity in June 2017 as part of their effort to recoup an estimated $400 million in alleged profits from Low. The yacht was eventually seized in Indonesia at the request of Malaysian authorities. According to a spokesman for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd, this was done in violation of Indonesian and American court rulings. Following the seizure, the yacht was transported to Malaysia where finance minister, Lim Guan Eng said an auction of the yacht was to take place. It is now understood at least nine figures were being sought for the yacht at the auction, which is expected to be completed by March 2019.Equanimity was, however, famous across the yachting community, well before being pushed into the limelight by this case, for its extensive spa area on the lower deck, plunge pools and highly customised interior. At 2,998 gross tons of interior volume, the yacht still sits as the 65th largest yacht in the world.The 91-meter's spa is akin to that of a megapolis' 5-star hotel. Incorporating plunge pools, massage areas, saunas, experiential showers, hammams, jacuzzis and a gym all designed with the most precious of materials, it directly connects to a beach club from which guests can swim out into the ocean.Equanimity's 5 decks are connected by a grand staircase coupled with a glass elevator. Accommodating up to 22 guests in 11 cabins, the yacht was the first one to be built to comply with the new Passenger Yacht Code. Carrying a crew of 31, the yacht can cruise for up to 5,000 nautical miles at a speed of 15 knots, with its top speed at 18.5 kn.Aft of its second deck, Equanimity features a large helipad, typically covered with lounging sofas and sun beds when not in use. Forward of the helipad is a 20sqm spa pool sitting in front of the entrance to the yacht's spacious main salon. Throughout the deck, guests are kept within the atmosphere of a luxurious, relaxing spa.Inside, across the yacht's lounges and cabins can be found a continuing theme of the sea rendered through a clever use of sculptures, ornaments and glass. Centred around a clear colour scheme with tall windows throughout, Equanimity's interior almost acts as an extension of the sea wherever the yacht cruises.Equanimity's staterooms, styled like a luxurious, modern hotel, are spread out into a master cabin with a study, which can be converted into a double cabin, a VVIP suite, 3 VIP cabins, as well as an additional 2 double and 2 twin cabins spread out throughout the yacht's main deck, giving good views to all guests.Fully-equipped, the 91-meter's gym can be used underway but is best enjoyed when at anchor, with a fold down platform that opens up onto the sea and lets guests exercise practically on the water. Equanimity also comes complete with two custom-designed, 10-meter Hodgdon tenders to ferry around her guests in style.Malaysia's auction will see qualified buyers making sealed bids for the yacht in view of a sale that is set to complete by March 2019. Whilst the exact asking price is for the moment unknown, officials are looking for a 9 figure number according to various press reports. This becomes the 2nd high profile yacht auctioned off this year, following the 95-meter Oceanco, Indian Empress, which was sold earlier this year for €35 million during an auction in Malta.
December 9, 2018
Equanimity, the 91-meter superyacht caught up in legal pursuits led by the United States' Department of Justice over the 1MDB fund, is now going to be auctioned off for a nine figure sum in March 2019. This follows the yacht being seized earlier in 2018.The sale of the yacht, which is being handled by Burgess on behalf of the Malaysian government, is happening at the request of the Sheriff of the Admiralty Court of Kuala Lumpur. According to statements made by government officials, interest in purchasing the yacht has already been recorded.This development comes as part of a long saga that started with the US DoJ moving to seize Equanimity back in June 2017. This was being done as part of an effort to recover $1.7 billion that were allegedly misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Berhad Fund according to the DoJ. Of this figure, $400 million were being sought from Jho low, a Malaysian businessman who took delivery of Equanimity in 2014. The yacht cost him over $250 million according to court fillings, including its upkeep.After eventually being seized by Indonesian authorities, the yacht was moved to Malaysia in view of a public auction for the yacht that was to take place according to Malaysia's finance minister, Lim Guan Eng. A spokesman for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd, the yacht's owner, then commented that this move was done in violation of Indonesian and American court rulings.Launched in 2014, Equanimity was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands and debuted at the Monaco Yacht Show, later that year. Amongst her main amenities area a large spa area spread throughout the yacht's aft.
December 7, 2018
Hakvoort, the Dutch-based shipyard, has confirmed the launch of its largest project to date, the 63.72-meter Scout. Designed by H2 Yacht Design, the yacht is expected to be delivered to her owners in Spring 2019. She was previously known as Project Brio.Launched on December 1st, the yacht started construction under a different ownership, changing owners early on and shifting the project to the steel and aluminium explorer that it is today. "The owner’s brief called for a rugged explorer style yacht intended to look like a conversion from a commercial vessel." commented H2's Jonny Horsfield. "We placed the tenders on the bow, leaving them exposed to add to the utilitarian aesthetic. There is a helideck and a forward observation lounge in addition to an expansive sun deck."Scout features 4 guest cabins on the main deck as well as an owner's deck in addition to 2 staff cabins on the lower deck. Sold by Fraser Yachts to her current owner, Scout will become the largest yacht built by Hakvoort, topping its 61-meter Just J's delivered in 2016.The owner's previous yacht was a 45-meter RMK Marine also named Scout. Delivered in 2012, she was sold asking $15.9 million and has since been renamed Calliope.Powered by twin CAT engines, Scout will cruise at 12.5 knots and reach a top speed of 14.8kn. Her maximum range will be at 4,800 nautical miles once delivered, coupled with an ice-class hull.
December 7, 2018