Being able to say “My yacht” is considered a mark of prestige. But owning a boat also means stress and a heavy financial burden. The Smartyacht concept has the answer: co-ownership.
“There’s a saying”, jokes The Honourables member Christian Miksch, “that the second best moment for a yacht owner is when he buys his boat – and the best is when he sells it again.” Owning a yacht means relaxation on deck, rocked by the waves of ocean or lake – but also stress. Maintenance, crew, mooring berths and all the other aspects involved have to be organised and paid for – and the expenses involved are considerable. As a sailor since childhood, Miksch knows the business like the back of his hand.
Christian Miksch has spent the past three years travelling around potential clients to introduce the Smartyacht concept. In this revolutionary concept, the company offers co-ownership of yachts in which four owners share a boat. Purchasing costs are slashed and running costs are likewise shared among the owners.
How does it work? Smartyacht buys pre-owned yachts normally priced at around three million euros new, refurbishes them and finds clients to take over the shares. Under the scheme, 250,000 euros will make you the proud owner of a 20 to 25-metre yacht – a tiny sum in an industry where the running costs of a ship can account for around 10% of its new value, and thus as much as 300,000 euros for a three-million-euro craft. After the purchase, Smartyacht takes care of all aspects of logistics from guests’ arrival and departure to crew, mooring and maintenance. A captain spends the whole year on board. Owning a boat can be so stress-free! “I’d certainly be a client of mine”, muses Miksch.
But Smartyacht also organises allocation of the owners’ periods of use. A practical online tool enables the owners to reserve time on their boat. Smartyacht also rents the boat out for vacant periods, a further way of reducing costs and ensuring the craft is used for 36 weeks a year.
Miksch’s business is conducted in the most beautiful locations in the world – Cannes, Monaco, Mallorca… These are the places he meets his customers and the places where Smartyacht ships are moored. “There’s a complete mixture of people on board”, he reveals, commenting that there is no such thing as the standard yacht owner: “But they all have a weakness for maritime pursuits in common.”
The varied origins of Smartyacht’s clients are an advantage for the company’s concept. “The co-ownership method works best when the owners all have different backgrounds”, explains the sales manager. This minimises the likelihood that the owners will want to use the yacht at the same time. “Whichever owner is on board never notices that the ship has been used by someone else. The owners actually never need to meet at all”, says Miksch.
The yacht industry is extremely consistent; its hot spots, like Cannes or St. Tropez, have been the same for decades. Miksch’s absolute favourite, however, is Mallorca. “A wonderful island”, he affirms. “And I say that after travelling virtually everywhere in the world!”
The finest yachts live from their craftsmanship. Miksch focuses on details – quality decking, cleanly finished joints and a harmonious, appealing design. Well-known brands are synonymous with quality here, perhaps more than almost any other market. “Our clients ask for Sun-Seeker, Princesse and Azimut ships”, says Miksch. “They’re the non plus ultra.” But the only way to find out what a ship is really like is to take it out on the water. “What about vibrations? How loud is the engine?” are the specialist’s considerations. In the end, it’s about having a feel for the boat.