A guide to yacht ownership: Sail before sale

Perhaps you once chartered a yacht and immediately fell in love with yachting. Or maybe you’re completely new to yachting altogether and all you want is to spend your days onboard a magnificent vessel.

Wherever you are in your yachting journey, there are a plenty of considerations that need to be made in order to get the most out of your yacht purchase. Chartering first is the best way to ensure your next yacht purchase serves you and your lifestyle.

Try different types of yachts

Every yacht is different and therefore offers an experience that is unique to itself. The size, type, builder, designer, layout and amenities are all factors that drastically influence this. As with many things in life, you won’t know what you will like until you have tried it. A yacht is very much similar in this regard. We often have preconceived ideas of what to expect and with yachting, this is undoubtably the case. We recommend that prospective buyers try various yachts throughout their time chartering to discover the nuances that make a yacht what it is and make the purchasing decision clearer.

Understanding interior space

A 30m yacht provides an entirely different experience to a 40m yacht, and the same goes as you step up in size. However, greater length does not always equal more space. The ultimate factor that determines this is the gross tonnage (GT) of the vessel, also known as the interior volume. There can be instances of two yachts being almost identical in length with a GT difference of 300+, which makes for a completely different onboard experience.

GT influences the possibilities of design and layout along with the utilisation of space within a yacht’s interior. This can translate to higher ceilings, bigger main salons and cabins along with larger windows that draw in the external surroundings which can again, enhance the perception of space. Seeing numbers on a spec does not necessarily paint the full picture, and images can only go so far as a reference. Therefore, the only way to truly grasp these differences is by stepping onboard to experience this first-hand.

Discovering key features that matter

Chartering provides the best opportunity to discover how you utilise a yacht when onboard. There may be certain areas that you tend to gravitate towards and spend a greater deal of time in. On the other hand, features that you thought were important, can in fact become obsolete.

Yachts vary greatly across deck plans, with the overall construction of the hull and superstructure determining what space is usable and how design features can be placed throughout the vessel. Some yachts have a greater emphasis on outdoor spaces, designed with expanses of decking for both relaxation and leisure, including Jacuzzis and swimming pools flanked with daybeds, alfresco dining and fully equipped bars, outdoor cinemas and storage for toys and tenders. Others may have limited outdoor areas, and instead are focused on internal living spaces with the inclusion of multiple lounge areas, formal dining settings, cinemas, poker lounges, offices, and board rooms. Or you may find vessels that balance both of these elements, typically larger, and often custom or semi-custom to achieve these results. By spending time onboard, you can see how these spaces influence your overall experience. The features that enhance our time at sea, the ones that frustrate you, and most importantly, it enables you to see where improvements can be made.

Of equal importance to the onboard amenities is the accommodation. Time might be spent primarily with friends, immediate family, extended family or business partners. This will ultimately decide the types of cabins you require, the number and the placement of these within the vessel’s layout.

The differences between Owner’s suites are vast, with some the only distinguishable difference between the Owner’s and guest cabin being a larger bed. There are yachts with full-beam layouts that include private balconies and decks, studios/offices, hammams, steam rooms, Jacuzzis and lounge settings. By spending time onboard you’re able to discover which of these features you actually need. You may find you want to spend time away from everyone and therefore having your own secluded space is a must. Or the cabin is simply a place to sleep and facilities elsewhere are where you see the greatest value. Whatever the case, you won’t truly know this until you spend a number of weeks at sea with varying guest groups.

The impact of builders & designers

Pictures paint a thousand words. Seeing a yacht in person paints a million. Pedigree shipyards such as Feadship and Heesen Yachts produce some of the most spectacular custom-build vessels on the market, with high attention to detail in every finish and an unmatched quality of materials. Line models are less customisable and more common materials used. The same goes with designers. Award-winning interior and exterior designers create bespoke spaces that are unique, elevating the total yachting experience, whereas line models come standard which is reflected in the choices of the materials used.

Chartering yachts from a range of shipyards and designers enables you to get a greater grasp of these differences, discover whose work most closely aligns with your own personal style and preferences.

Performance & cruising capabilities

Planing, semi-displacement and full displacement all feel completely different at anchor, when underway and when making way.

Planing enables you to travel at greater speeds and can be ideal for short distances between regions. Their smaller size also gives you greater versatility of berthing locations and provides access to shallow anchorages. Nevertheless, travelling at a faster pace can be uncomfortable for some, and dining or enjoying a beverage when moving can be challenging and sometimes out of the question all together.

Semi-displacement provides greater stability, however, there comes a compromise with cruising speed. Full displacement is undoubtably the most comfortable and when at sea for lengthy periods of time, this is a very important consideration. With greater stability, comes a reduction in speed. Alternatively, these yachts are capable of holding a bigger fleet of tenders along with having helipads integrated into the design, which enables you to reach places in the most efficient way possible.

Through chartering in various different destinations, you are able to get a feel for the type of cruising you enjoy most and where you plan to holiday regularly. The hull design and overall length are factors that need to be considered as in some cases there can be limitations of where you can anchor and berth due to the depth of the seabed and size of marinas. If you’re wanting a yacht that is capable of global exploration, this needs to be established at the beginning of the buying journey as this will determine what will be most suitable. Equally, if you’re primarily interested in short stays across shallow waters, then your shortlist of yachts can be directed in a different path.

Attending shows

One of the greatest ways to see first-hand some of the best yachts available on the market is to attend yacht shows. The Monaco Yacht show is the pinnacle of the yachting world and exhibits in excess of 100 yachts with a further 40+ in close proximity at anchor. The opportunity to see an extended fleet in one location is something that should be utilised as this is the most time efficient and cost-effective way to narrow down your choices.

Here you are able to tour the vessels with a broker to gain a greater appreciation of the design, build quality, condition, layout of spaces and onboard amenities. Although chartering is ultimately the best way to truly test a yacht, this comes very close.

The benefits of yacht ownership

Your yacht. Your way. It’s as simple as that. Charters are an amazing experience and our fleet represents the very best of those available on the charter market. However, you are a guest onboard the vessel. Yacht ownership enables you to make this vessel your home away from home. Every detail can be tailored to your taste, completing interior refits as you want. You can leave summer wardrobes behind. You get to choose your crew and they understand your preferences, delivering you an unmatched level of service. It doesn’t get better than this.
For more information on charter availability speak with the Edmiston team today.


26 June 2024

Written by:

Caroline Munier