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

Aurora Borealis delivery: the last Amels of 2019 is asking $ 94 million
After successful sea trials, the first Amels 220 superyacht Aurora Borealis has been delivered to the owner. The 67-metre superyacht departed the yard in Vlissingen on 16 July, as the last delivery of a busy 2019 season for Amels.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOverseen by Antoine Larricq of Fraser, the project first known as Project Waka, hit the water for the first time in March 2019 inside the yard's covered dry docks. The yacht remains listed for sale at € 83,500,000 via Fraser.The 67.11-metre vessel features exteriors by Tim Heywood Design and interiors by Winch Design. Spreading over six decks, Aurora Borealis features a 65-square-metre swim platform and beach club area. Special features on-board comprise a guest elevator to all decks, a steam room, spa and a fully-equipped gym, as well as a tender garage spacious enough to house two eight-metre tenders.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingAntoine Larricq also represented the owner in terms of interiors. Aurora Borealis' interior volume of 1,500 GT provides for nearly 1,150 square metres of interior space, comprising seven luxury guest suites. Thus, accommodation will be offered for up to 14 guests, along with 15 crew members.Aurora Borealis is now heading to Antibes. Overall, this year’s four new build Limited Editions yachts, plus three AMELS Refit yachts, were all delivered on time and on budget, the yard reports.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingRose Damen, Managing Director with Amels, comments: We’re delighted to see our new Amels owners enjoying their yachts delivered as promised. This has been one of our busiest seasons ever at AMELS, and we’re very proud of the high quality of each yacht and the very positive feedback from their new owners.In the meantime, the yard continues work on several yachts under construction inside the drydocks and building bays for 2020 deliveries at both Vlissingen City and Vlissingen East facilities. Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOne of the recent projects in hype to be welcomed by the yard for completion, is the 77-metre DAMEN SeaXplorer luxury expedition yacht La Datcha ordered by a Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov.
Lürssen delivers 95m superyacht Madsummer
Previously known as Project Fiji, the 95-metre Lürssen superyacht Madsummer, has been delivered to her owner, a repeat client with the Lürssen. The vessel was launched earlier this year at Lürssen’s Rendsburg facility. During her construction period of nearly 2,5 years, the project was supervised by the owner’s captain and brokerage company Moran Yacht & Ship.Featuring a 14-metre beam, the exterior profile of Madsummer comes from a British designer Harrison Eidsgaard maintaining sleek and elegant lines within impressive volumes.Photo: Klaus JordanThe vessel's main trademarks are the 12-metre swimming pool and Jacuzzi laid on the aft deck and protected with glass bulwarks. That contributes to clean and uncluttered appearance of hull surfaces. Other decks are connected through exterior staircases and centreline openings.Spacious beach club and spa zone with a sea terrace on the lower deck also belong on the list of Madsummer’s special features. The bow is equipped with a helipad, while the sun deck aft features hidden crane in the bulwark, aimed to handle an aeroboat. As to the upper deck, it encompasses walkable skylight and an integrated fireplace.Photo: Carl GrollMadsummer’ interiors for 20 guests across 10 suites were designed by Italy-based Studio Laura Sessa represent contemporary modern style. Laura Sessa commented earlier: For this interior design yacht project, I invested inner artistic creativity due to my long relationship with the Owner. I playfully created spaces full of customised details and colours from the sea, emanating harmony and elegance.Photo: Klaus JordanThe latest delivery from the yard will be displayed at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. She will be spending her first weeks in the Mediterranean before her world debut would highlight the port during the show.The superyacht is the third one in the recent series of the 90-metres plus vessels delivered by Lürssen, along with impressive 136-metre Flying FOX and 111-metre Project TIS. Furthermore, the largest Lürssen’s unveiling of 2019, the 130-metre plus in-build Project Lightning has been revealed recently.
Country for old fleet: the 1960s martime school vessel converted to a superyacht
Among contemporary yachts dominating superyacht charter market, there are sometimes more rare pieces to be found. The 69.7-metre superyacht Sherakhan built in 1966 as a maritime school vessel by Dutch Scheepswerf A.Vuyk & Zonen, is available for charter from € 425,000 per week in the summer season.Back in 1965, the classic yacht started out as Princess Margaret. Her present owner, Dutch hospitality entrepreneur Jan Verkerk, managed to breath a new life into the boat in 2005, when it was rebuilt at his yard and renamed to Sherakhan.Maintaining the vessel’s beautiful classic 1960s lines and style, Verkerk upgraded the interior with Rijntjes Interior Design and carried out a complete technical overhaul.Certified to accommodate up to 26 guests, with a dedicated crew of 20 including Michelin-starred Chef Toine Smulders, Sherakhan has undergone several more extensive refits, with the most recent one conducted at Icon Yachts in 2017.The most noticeable upgrade of 2017 was the 70-meter hull being repainted to a minimalistic white colour from its original vintage blue hue. Along with cosmetic adjustments to the yacht’s interior areas and A/V upgrades, her main generators were replaced with low emission ones to reduce the impact on the environment. The onboard layout of Sherakhan is trademarked with double-height dining room with galleried atrium, skylight courtesy of the glass-bottomed sundeck Jacuzzi and seating for all 26 guests at a dining table. The interior colour palette is calm and neutral, with creams and tan-coloured wood allowing the natural textures and tones to harmonise. The 13 ensuite cabins are generously proportioned, including a full-beam master suite.Sherakhan’s choice of guest deck areas is sizeable, from the generous wicker seating on the main deck or several loungers on the large foredeck to the stellar sundeck with its 18-person Jacuzzi, wet bar and barbecue, dining tables and multiple sun loungers. The toy storage can fit a pair of 7.3-metre tenders, three Waverunner jetskis, wakeboards, surfboards, a number of inflatable towables and an 8-metre custom-made slide.What is more, Sherakhan comes with a full wellness suite including a beauty salon, massage room, gym and sauna. Sherakhan’s technical characteristics allow her to cruise to the most remote areas of the planet, accommodating up to 24 guests within her 12 staterooms.Currently fully booked during a long-term charter in the Red Sea for the summer 2019 season, Sherakhan can usually be found in the Mediterranean during the summer season and the Caribbean over the winter. However, she is claimed capable of exploring more remote areas and has many circumnavigations.
Walt Disney’s grand-nephew rescues competitors from sinking yacht in Transpac regatta
Roy Disney, the grandnephew Walt Disney, rescued the crew of a sinking yacht during the Transpac regatta. The boat of Roy Disney, Andrews 70 Pyewacket, which also took part in the regatta, picked up nine crew members from the sinking Santa Cruz 70 OEX boat, led by John Sangmeister.The racing committee received SOS-signal from the OEX boat at around 2 am, on July 15, reporting that the yacht’s rederpost was damaged and the vessel began to take on water.<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTranspacRace%2Fvideos%2F424508521486179%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>An hour later, the OEX crew was picked up by its rivals on Roy Disney's yacht, with no one of 9 crews getting hurt. After that, Pyewacket with the rescued people on-board and its own crew of 10, including Roy Disney, returned to Los Angeles Marina del Rey, from where the Transpac race started.With the reason of the steering axle’ breakage still unknown, the OEX yacht eventually sank. meanwhile, her owner, John Sangmeister, is an experienced yachtsman that had won the Cup of America in 1986–1987. For Sangmeister this was the eighth Transpac race.Transpac is a 2225-mile offshore race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. This year, the regatta has seen several more collisions, with Maserati trimaran Giovanni Soldini running into a huge underwater object. The crew, however, continued the race after stopping for repair.Except for OEX, 6 more hulls out of recording 90 participants, withdrew from the competition this year. Started on July 10, the regatta will see the award ceremony in Hawaii on July 26th.
Dutch builder Moonen Yachts goes bankrupt
Dutch court has declared the yachtbuilder Moonen Yachts bankrupt, reports International Boat Industry. The decision has been made just two weeks after Moonen had announced they had been about to close a deal with a new investor, in order to boast production.According to IBI, despite the bankruptcy procedure, the builder will continue negotiations with the potential investor. Moreover, the new potential stakeholder of the yard can even benefit from the bankruptcy, as they will be relieved of the responsibility to pay off Moonen’s debts.The name of the potential investor has been kept in secret, although some sources claim it is an Australian company. Earlier, the Mexican steel giant Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) was the main investor at Moonen. In 2015, Moonen issued a statement on payments suspension due to financial problems of AHMSA. The Mexican concern claimed, it was no longer able to finance the construction of two of the three in-build semi-custom-yachts from the Moonen ‘Caribbean’ series, with construction begun a month earlier. At the time, the reason of AHMSA’s financial problems was a 40% price reduction on steel on the international market, caused by dumping of Chinese and Russian competitors.In 2017, the top management reshuffle took place in Moonen. The new CEO announced, he began the process of restructuring the company. In 2018, the shipyard received the World Superyacht Award for the 36-metre Brigadoon, followed by an order for its sistership that should be completed by 2020.But with only one boat under construction at the asset, the board of directors of Moonen decided, further development of the shipyard was impossible without the support of a new, financially stable investor. To keep stable operation, Moonen needs to build two or three projects ranging in size from 30 to 50 meters simultaneously.