Are you ready to leap headlong over the 100-foot yacht barrier? While boat size counts here, joining the century club is more a state of mind. If you’re serious about buying and succeeding at owning a large yacht, you may need to adjust how you think about your boating in general. Here are three questions that face owners getting into big boats. Give your answers some thought, and you may find out what you need to know.
In short, it’s the crew — that’s who. “When you get to that 100-foot mark or close to it, you need to go from the husband-and-wife part-time team to a full crew,” says Jeff Stanley, a broker at Gilman Yachts in Fort Lauderdale. “The big difference is that the owner turns the management of the boat over to the crew.” You can tell the captain where you wish to go on your boat, and he’ll tell you if that’s a feasible plan. If you have the correct person in that job, you’ll hear the answers you want.
In fact, you may need to hire the right captain before you buy the boat. That way, he can help you with the purchase. “That captain will have access to the boat at ground zero in terms of what issues were discovered in the survey and what needs to be rectified at the very beginning,” says Parker Bogue, a broker with MarineMax in Coconut Grove, Florida. A trusted captain can help you work with the broker to steer you to a good deal.
“And also, the captain hires his crew, not the owner,” Bogue says. “If the owner of the boat has chosen wisely in terms of the captain, he’s done interviewing.” A good captain will understand the service level an owner wants, and hire the team he needs to meet expectations.
You will need to give careful consideration to the places you enjoy cruising, because the range of your big boat will open up access to a whole world.
“A 50-foot boat on anchor and independent is only going to offer so much comfort, even to fewer people,” says Bogue. “But a 100-foot boat can cruise the Caribbean comfortably, and offers full amenities whether they’re at the dock or at anchor.”
But for all the expanded horizons, you may be giving up something closer to home. “Sometimes you go to a larger boat and now you’ve got to redesign your cruising life,” says Marty Eisenberg, a broker at Cheoy Lee in Ft. Lauderdale. “It’s not the same. There are different areas that you used to pick up moorings, quaint little harbors that now, because of the size of the boat, you can’t do that.” Also speak to your home port marina, since they may not be able to accommodate your new boat without shuffling things a bit.
“I have a client who’s looking at a 120-footer and he wants to move up, and dockage is an issue,” says Stanley. “He can’t find a dock where he wants to be.” Dock-space shortages outside of major yachting centers require planning.
For more on moving up to a bigger boat, see our November 2010 issue.