Whether you are planning on buying a yacht for the first time, or are a well-seasoned sea-dog there are a number of basic considerations to take into account. Many factors will be personal to your own circumstances and experience, while some will be useful for every prospective purchaser. The following is not a comprehensive list, but these factors should be considered by anyone setting out to set sail.
Chatty bunch, these sailors
The sailing fraternity are a friendly lot and it’s worth talking to a few of them before making a decision. The internet is full of forums where you can get opinions on specific models of yacht. Set yourself up with a profile on appropriate forums and say that you’re thinking of buying yacht “X” and ask for opinions. In most cases the responses will be genuine and they’ll could well prove more useful than all of the sales speak you’ll ever hear.
Only one owner
Buying new has its upsides and it has one big downside. New designs may well be hot of the drawing board and have passed their sea trials admirably. However, as any sailor will tell you, boats are living things that grow and mature. Sometimes things fall off after a little while, especially when the boat is a very new design. If you are intent on buying a newly designed model, don’t be the first to do so; let the first batch of purchasers send the “stuff” that falls off back to the manufacturer and wait until the design has been modified to the point where it really does work. With yachts especially there’s a strong element of trial and error when it comes to design.
Trying before you buy is a must when it comes to yachts. You’ll ideally want to see the boat in a range of conditions to get a feel for how it handles. Any yacht can look good in gentle seas and moderate winds. How does it handle in rough seas or light winds? In addition, how well do you handle the yacht? If you’re changing model from basic to high spec, there may be a learning curve to go through, see how the yacht handles for the current owner and under your own hand.
Modify your expectations
This may be a little simplistic but don’t just go by the reviews in your favourite sailing publication. Yes, the yacht in question may be perfect for racing but what about day sailing? It’s rare to find a model that is ideal all types of sailing. It may be ideal for round the world solo sailing, but does it fit easily on the trailer for a weekend in the Lakes? Buying a yacht needs to be a careful balance between finding the best model and the best model for you, so try to find reviews that reflect your own sailing lifestyle and not somebody else’s!
Fit for purpose
Size matters when it comes to all things nautical; and when it comes to storage issues it’s certainly a consideration. The size of yacht will be determined partly by your funds, your ambitions, your needs and, of course, where exactly you’re going to put it. This applies to both inshore and offshore yachting and is not just a case of calculating the mooring fees, but may involve where the boat will be stored during the winter. If it’s on your own property you’ll need to be sure there’s space but if you’re renting winter storage the size of your shiny new craft will have an impact on cost. Consider this as part of the buying process and if necessary hunt around for storage solutions at a better price than you’re paying now.
Off Season purchases
Yacht prices are high when demand is high, a basic rule in any transaction. In the UK everyone is eager to take to the water as spring comes round and demand in late winter and early spring reflects this. Consider buying “out of season”, or rather right in the middle of the sailing season. Demand will be lower at this time and there may be circumstances in play on the part of the seller that require a quick (cheaper) sale.
Whether it’s an upgrade or a first time purchase, buying a yacht should be taken seriously. Finding the right boat for your needs, considering the additional costs including yacht insuranceand mooring or storage fees should all be considered during the process.
Simon blogs about lifestyle and luxury, covering everything from high value yacht insurance to luxury gifts for the home. When he’s not online Simon enjoys cycling, running and shouting at the TV.