A couple of years back, I was thrilled when a long-lost customer called me from Washington. On a flight, he was reading Boat International and noticed that I’d left my previous brokerage to work for Camper & Nicholsons. He had asked me to liquidate his fleet of yachts ranging from 88′ – 112′, as soon as the global recession started. Recognizing that these assets would lose value quickly, he knew that by selling them quickly he could survive and prosper in the turbulent times to come. He told me that he had returned to the market, and he wanted me to find him his next yacht. Read more now yacht provisioning mallorca
But there was a little problem. Due to the rapid growth of his business, he decided to hire someone to manage all his acquisitions: planes, boats, businesses and property.
This “somebody”, was a accountant.
Now, I don’t have anything against accountants. The accountants do a job we find boring and tedious. Good accountants can save companies a lot of money by providing up-to-date advice and smart tax planning. A yacht purchase is one such decision that an accountant shouldn’t be involved in.
My mother would be more likely to ask for help in finding a girlfriend than I would invite my accountant along to a Boat Show. Or, an accountant could assist with a yacht purchase. I would totally overlook fundamental traits like a curvaceous figure, a sexy grin, or how much she enjoys a date in favor of less important qualities such as reliability, durability, and… um… a 2-year warranty. A woman will base her decision on logic and thought, while a man will base it on passion and feelings. My friend once told me his mother cried when he brought his girlfriend to her because she didn’t care for her. It’s strange – my client’s account had the exact same reaction when I told him the running costs for a 46 meter boat!
This raises an interesting question: “Why do wealthy people buy yachts?” How can a man, who has spent years honing his enviable skill to make money and avoid losses, suddenly buy an object that does the opposite?
This topic was brought up with a yacht-owner over a decade earlier, when I worked at the Ferretti Custom Line shipyard as Sales Manager. The client was insatiable when it came to negotiating the price for every change order. He clearly believed that cost control was just as important as profit. Over dinner, the client talked about his hard work to achieve wealth. He said that he didn’t spend money on anything without careful consideration. I asked him what “due diligence” he had used to buy a superyacht knowing that its annual operating costs would have funded a small coup.
Although I am not very diplomatic, I had to ask.
The client smiled. David, he replied, “you can’t even imagine.” “Everything you do is better on a boat.” I eat and sleep on a boat, the food is better. David said, as his grin spread, “Sex.” Is so much better. On a yacht”.
A year or two after this conversation, I had the opportunity to test these remarks when, out of sheer generosity, another client invited to me to spend a week on his 100′ yacht. In order to be clear, and knowing that my wife is likely to read this article I will add, “Yes.” This was the first week we spent together in Mallorca.”
If we measure the quality of time in the same way that we measure the quality of food and beverage, then “yacht time” is an acorn fed Iberic Pata Negra, it’s shavings of Italian white truffle from Alba on plated of the finest pasta, or if you have small children, perhaps in the living room. If we can measure time in the same manner as we do food and drink, then “yacht” time is an acorn fed Iberic Pata Negra on top of a plate of pasta with shavings of white truffle from Alba, or a dish of Danish Oysters with a chilled Chablis. It is an experience that is so intensely satisfying that, for those few moments, nothing else matters. No problems arise. There are no difficulties. You are in the moment with your loved ones, happy and content.
One yacht owner described his grandfather as a man of great character who started his business from a shed in his garden and grew it into a huge empire that employed over 50,000. He said that the family owned spectacular properties around the world, and they stayed in some of the best hotels on earth. Yet, the only time he saw his Grandfather relax was when he was on his yacht.
When talking with the families of CEOs or business owners who are driven, this is a common theme. The families of highly driven CEOs and business owners never unplug completely from their work, whether they are in their city homes, their country houses, their Malibu Beach House, or even a Burj Al-Arab penthouse. They do relax, however, on their yacht. After a week of not answering their phones and a second week without checking their email, they finally get into “yacht-time”. The stress levels drop, the priorities are re-established, the food tastes better, the sleep is deeper and all of life’s greatest pleasures become more intense.
Herein lies the key to unlocking the disciplined grip that high-net-worth individuals maintain on their spending. Success in business and financial rewards can be exhilarating. They leave a legacy for future generations and provide work for accountants. This lifestyle is frantic and intense, but it needs to be balanced. A pressure valve can bring life’s PSI down to a comfortable level. The yacht is not an expensive luxury, but rather a necessity to enhance their lives and receive a return that cannot be measured by currency or stock values.