How to pick the right yacht

You’ve decided that you to want to buy a yacht. You’ve chartered a range of vessels and started to gain some idea of the luxury yachts for sale. But a yacht purchase isn’t to be taken lightly, and the vessel at the heart of your four-week dream holiday may not be the same vessel that will make you a happy owner for life.

What’s more, in the current market there are so many yachts for sale that you can’t possibly try them all before making your decision. So how’s a yacht-lover to choose? Below we have broken down the three key stages to picking the right yacht.

Step 1: Define your requirements

First you need to think about how, when and where you will use your vessel. These factors will heavily influence the kind of boat you buy.

Will you be using the vessel for relaxation, family escapes, entertaining or racing, or is your plan to charter it out to guests? Who will join you on the vessel? A chic leisure yacht used purely for cruising around with your partner will be quite different to a family boat used for teaching grandkids how to sail. Likewise, a vessel meant for business or accommodating guests will be more design-focused and will require more entertainment space than a racing yacht, which will often forgo a large interior to make it easier to handle. There are many different luxury yachts for sale and it’s important to find the right one for you.

Then, look at where you plan to use the yacht. Some areas are simply better suited to different types of vessel depending on their geographical quirks. For example, the Eastern Caribbean trade winds and ocean swells make it a perfect place to sail. However, for simply zipping between marinas on the French Riviera, the type of yacht you choose matters less as time spent out on the water will be limited. Where you will berth it is another important consideration – is it a tidal location or a marina berth? A superyacht will cost more in marina fees, so that may influence what length vessel you go for.

This leads on to budget. Yacht sales can be misleading as the purchase price of your new yacht needs to be considerably less than your available funds. This is because you will face significant initial costs including a survey, insurance, and mooring fees. It’s also important to budget for annual upkeep, crew salaries, and to keep a generous allowance aside for unexpected emergencies. On a yacht this can be anything from upgrading safety equipment to comply with new International Maritime Organisation standards to replacing the entire engine, and you need to be prepared for every eventuality.

Step 2: Sail or motor

Now you have narrowed your choice somewhat it is time to make the ultimate yachting decision. The world of luxury yachts market is divided into sail and motor, and it’s time to pick a side. Of course, most sailing boats today have engines for when the sail handling gets really tough – likewise motor yachts can be easily equipped with sailing toys, meaning you can learn the ropes without needing the skills to handle an entire vessel. However, these two types of yacht are still very different.

A sailing yacht is always going to be cheaper to run. Whilst sails in themselves are expensive, wind power is free! These vessels are more eco-friendly, so you can pat yourself on the back for reduced environmental impact. Sailing yachts are also quieter as motors aren’t constantly running, and many find this allows them to better connect with surrounding nature.

On the other hand, motor yachts are a lot more accessible and are in higher demand for charter. Whilst some people may relish the opportunity to learn a new skill, it takes a lot of time and dedication to master sailing. Powerboating is a more familiar concept as it is not dissimilar to driving a car, something many people already do on a regular basis. Because of the engine, motor yachts are also a lot faster than sailing vessels. The exception to this rule would be racing yachts, but again this would require a very high level of sailing skill. Motor boats are also designed with more inside space for entertaining, as they don’t need to be as narrow for sailing upwind and require no extra space for storing sails.

Step 3: Speak to a yacht broker

Once you’ve got to this stage and done plenty of your own research, you’re nearly ready to make your purchase. Contacting and talking to a yacht brokerage will help further clarify your decision. Yacht brokers have years of yacht sales experience and will use their expertise to suggest boats that will suit you.

There are a huge range of yacht shows every year which you can attend to see the yachts up close. View and get a feel for the boats at these worldwide events in locations like glitzy Cannes and luxurious Monaco, or the ‘Yachting Capital of the World’ Fort Lauderdale. You may even decide build and design your own boat from scratch if nothing captures your eye. Construction is also something a yacht broker or brokerage can help you with, as doing this efficiently requires years of industry experience and a committed project management team.

Then, once you have made your decision, get your yacht brokerage to negotiate you the best price. Happy yachting!