Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” In the recreational yachting world, captains are without equal the source of everything one would want to know about the vessels they’re hired to run, both exemplary and imperfect.
So when it comes time for the yacht owner to build the boat of their dreams, they’ll often first seek the advice of the yachtsman in the wheelhouse. It’s a seasoned captain who knows what was done right—and what could be improved upon—regarding a yacht’s design, layout and systems. They also come into contact with other captains who run yachts from a variety of manufacturers. Today, it’s nearly impossible for a builder to hide a bad reputation among the captain cognoscenti.
The choice to go with a semi-custom or custom yard gives the buyer a creative freedom unmatched by production builders. The new construction teams at reputable yards will have staff dedicated to transforming your unique vision into reality, while taking into consideration the myriad technical details that go into building a high-caliber motoryacht. This build process should be a positive, rewarding and exciting experience for all involved.
Unfortunately, financial problems and poor management have plagued some yards, putting multi-million dollar builds at risk. The prudent yacht builder will design a company’s structure to be immune from these financial problems. And the keen buyer will look for certain traits that indicate the health of the builder. How willing are they to have the buyer at the yard during the build process? How are the payments broken down over the course of the build? And will the final commissioning be done at the builder’s yard, or will the broker do it? The answers to these questions will reveal the financial health of the builder and can predict the outcome of the build.
Scott Robinson “knew the flaws of building boats and running them” and founded Paragon Motor Yachts vowing to own all of its molds, settle its debts up front and do nearly all of the commissioning at the yard, so the boat is delivered ready for its maiden voyage. He has earned a fine reputation in the industry, enabling Paragon to use the finest equipment available. “You never have to apologize for using the very best,” Robinson told me. Paragon’s completed 7 builds from 92 to 100 feet length overall and in talks to build three 108-footers, all slated for current Paragon 94 owners.
If experience is the teacher of all things, Robinson has taken his knowledge and applied it well. An astute buyer will remember to look for a builder with solid financials and a passion to match for exceptional results.