|Building your dream yacht|
It might have happened to you: visiting a boat show you fall in love with a boat on display. Walking through it you get more and more excited with the turn of every corner. You envision yourself on the high seas, checking out all the exciting places you have read about. It's there and then that you decide to have one for yourself.
Now what …
This article is about the process up where you sign the construction contract for the boat of your dreams. In this case it concerns a semi-customized long-range explorer yacht of 24 meters (80ft) to be built by Bering Yachts Ltd.
In a previous article (SEA Yachting May-June 2014) Bart Kimman of Northrop & Johnson broad-brushed the reasons for venturing into having a boat newly constructed and the complexities involved. He also touched on the need for and the role of a broker in the whole process; an expert who will always represent the interests of the client and no one else. The broker is responsible for covering the following issues:* Defining the client's expectations
* Identifying the best professional consultants to define the project
* Choosing the most suitable shipyard for the client's project
* Assuring the client they get will get value for their money
* Assuring that the yacht when built will represent value
* Determining the per annum cost of running the yacht
* Determining the expected rate of depreciation
* Determining how much the yacht can be sold for in 5- or 10- years
* Deciding what crew and maintenance program is required to keep the yacht pristine
* Deciding how the client can best market the yacht's features from inception to sale
But back to the case of our client working towards his decision to sign a boatbuilding contract.
When discussing customization aspects of a boat there are basically three types: production boats, customized boats and semi-customized boats. The customization of production boats usually is restricted to colour schemes and adding standard options. For customized boats it's the opposite, you can have whatever you want, or define anything you like and it can be built. Semi-customized boats walk the middle road; hull design and structural aspects are fixed, but the rest is very flexible.
After establishing a budget, an approximate size and type of boat (sail or power, planing or displacement, etc.) you start working on your requirements. It's the broker's role to ask you the right questions in order to get your explicit requirements. Some of the questions will be: how are you going to use your boat, what are you are going to do with it, and what do you want to get out of it?
The answers to these crucial questions will define the type of yacht that will be built for you.
Very often you already have a specific idea of what you want; that makes it easier to get to the next step — compiling a "long list" of possible candidates. Your broker will contact the shipyards and request all possible information among which will be the General Arrangements (GAs). Studying these will show you the brands and models that are not within the basic requirements set or simply do not appeal to you in style or otherwise.
In this way you end up with a shortlist of potential yachts from whence you can start digging deeper through the already listed requirements and the GAs of the boat on the shortlist. After some effort and a lot of fun, you will end up with two brands that will have all requirements that you want. From this point on it's going to be intensive and even more fun. Your broker will do a financial analysis of the two shipyards that are now on the shortlist. If that seems sound enough, the shipyards will be contacted and the owners will be invited to come and see you and your broker for a meeting.
Having a boat built is not only a very personal thing; you are also dealing with people. Learning to know the key players in the whole process is an absolute must. Although every step of the building process will be checked and double-checked, you also need to have a basic trust in the people you're going to be dealing with for quite a while. So you need to meet them in the early stages.
After these first meetings the next step will be to visit the shipyards with your broker. Seeing what a shipyard is actually already building will also give you some insights in their professionalism and the quality of work. Being on the boats in progress will also give you feedback on your requirements and the feasibility that your boat's requirements can be met.
After your visits to the yards the big moment has arrived: the final choice for the dream yacht you want to build. After everyone is informed, a second visit to the shipyard of choice will give you the opportunity to discuss in minute detail the final specifications. These will be compiled in the final specifications document and together with the final General Arrangement, cost calculations and final quotation will form the basis for the new construction contract that you can now sign. You're on your way to realizing your dream.