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Advice Request on New Yacht

 
 
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Advice Request on New Yacht

As my screenname implies, my wife and I are fairly recent large multimillion dollar lottery winners.

Having owned small boats almost all my life, both power and sail, and with a deep love for the ocean, my wife and I are considering buying a motor yacht as our primary home and sailing the world. In fact, this has been a dream of mine for decades.

This brings to mind thousands of questions, and I don't even know where to start! Does anyone publish a "Yachting for Dummies"-type guide? My uncle owned a 45' motor-sailer and I spent several summers sailing to/from FL/The Bahamas as a young man, so I do know a few minor things, but not nearly enough to chunk down megabucks without some good advice.

Scenario:
Myself, my wife, and one (maybe another later) small child, with ocassional guests (2-5 additional souls). Mostly warm-water ports worldwide. We are people of simple tastes/pleasures - being waited-on hand-and-foot and eating 4-star cuisine at every meal is not required or desired and nothing extravagant, like helicopters, are needed aboard. I am a currently-licensed RN and Amateur Radio operator. Initial (cursory) investigation convinces me that I'd be equally happy with a whiteship or a commercial conversion, as some expedition-type cruising will be done.

Several factors:
How large a vessel do we need to be "ocean-going" (small as possible - we really don't need the space for huge groups of people)? How large a crew? (I know that I'll need at the very least a qualified captain, for awhile anyway, for bluewater travel). What are the expected rates of pay for the necessary crew? What should I expect in the way of expenses for fuel, dockage/berthing, insurance, provisions? Is it possible to one day become captain of my own vessel? It is possible to find yacht captains that can "become part of the family" rather than just hired professional help? Would I be better off chartering?

As you all can see, I am adrift in a squall. Any advice anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First I have to say I'm envious of your situtation!

Secondly, a piece of advice you'll likely see a lot is charter first. Spend time on as many types of yachts as you can. Different sizes, different types, different brands even. Then when it comes time to pick one for yourself you'll have a strong sense of what you want or don't want, what features and floorplans you find work better for you and your family, etc. Arm yourself with as much experience and information as you can, so when it comes time to pick your own dream yacht, you'll know exactly what you want.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good advice Kevin!

A more immediate alternative to chartering several yachts is to take a virtual tour of all the feature reviews on YachtForums... and there's a bunch of 'em! These are extensive walk-thru reviews with dozens of photographs on each yacht. The editorial within these features is the most complete to be found anywhere with details and specifications, including materials, lay-outs, features and more. It truely gives a feeling of being onboard...

http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/fo...play.php?f=142

Also, take some time to learn about the history and the capabilities of each builder. Follow this link to our "Yacht Builder History" pages and click on the builder of your choice...

http://www.yachtforums.com/yachts.php/

Also, click on the banners that line the perimeter of YachtForums. These are direct hyperlinks to each yacht builder's website. Here, you can gain more insight into their yards, people and past/current builds.

And finally, welcome aboard NewLotteryWinR! (and congratulations!)
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin
First I have to say I'm envious of your situtation!

Secondly, a piece of advice you'll likely see a lot is charter first. Spend time on as many types of yachts as you can. Different sizes, different types, different brands even. Then when it comes time to pick one for yourself you'll have a strong sense of what you want or don't want, what features and floorplans you find work better for you and your family, etc. Arm yourself with as much experience and information as you can, so when it comes time to pick your own dream yacht, you'll know exactly what you want.
Thanks very much for the advice, Kevin. We played the lottery as a gag... you know... what will we do if we win? One quickpick ticket a week when the pool was over 25Mill.

Sometimes, Ladyluck just lands on you. We are just regular folks: we have no wealthy friends/relatives to help advise us in matters like this, and our financial adviser has told us to be VERY careful with whom we do any kind of high-dollar business.

We are planning a barefoot cruise soon (small party), because I have always enjoyed small boat sailing, but I already know that I want a motoryacht. My problem is that I am wary of involving too many people in my plans, because of the obvious security concerns. That's why I came here for some initial advice - so I'd know if I was being handed a bag of b/s, etc., by unscrupulous people when I do go shopping. I considered hiring a broker to help me, but I don't want to get ripped off, or be sold more vessel than I need; one with prohibitive costs of ownership. That money has to last the rest of our lifetimes!.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Get yourself to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show at the end of October.

Find a trusted broker (mine is both a neighbor and personal friend) to get you on the big yachts, the only way you will gain access to them is with a broker, tag along with us if you like!

And do what I have been doing, Ask as many questions as you can, even if they seem simple and basic it is worth asking if you don't know.

While I didnt win the lottery I am new to this world of yachting and have all the same concerns you have listed.

I am going to have a yacht management company take care of the staff needs.
That way they can do the hiring/firing, salaries, deal with insurances, taxes and all legalities of employees, I will just have to write a check each month to one agency and they do all the rest I am going to hire 8 for a 50 meter yacht if that is what I end up with, A Captain, engineer, first officer, chef, a few deck hands and a Head housekeeper and assistant for her.

I was told a Captain is in the range of 150k give or take, engineers 75-100k, chef 75k, Head housekeeper 50k or so, Now those salaries might have some room for negoitiating but I am looking for a very skilled staff, It will mostly be for myself and a partner, maybe a child one day, few guests, used as as second home for world wide travel and exploration as well.

While I am not planning on 4 star meals I also am not going to pay a chef to make me toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch everyday either.
Food is one luxury that remains relatively affordable, and most likely will be the least of all the expenses you incur take advantage of your chef's skills, eating well shouldn't be considered a luxury but a necessity.

I was told to figure for a 50 meter yacht in spending 1.5 million dollars a year for expenses, that should cover most everything on a level par with what I am buying and planning on using her for. Scrimping in areas of maintenance, staff, materials or travel range is not wise and will end up being a negative expierence soon where selling the yacht becomes your only concern.

I have owned boats also in the past, sailboats, and I would rather overdo then undo anything when it comes to safety, enjoyment and fun! Afterall it is a pleasure boat so enjoy!

But like I said what do I know, this is a big learning curve for me too... Search for my posts you will read the answers the forum members have been so kind to help with.
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Old 09-22-2005, 09:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, YF.

I'll look at those links you provided.

Any size recommendations? My first thought was in the 100'-120' range, but it seems a little ... large for our needs/wants, and if I go that large I'll likely be stuck with a professional captain indefinitely. However, I don't want to be 1000nm at sea in a rowboat without a clue, either.

99.5% of my boating has been done in protected waterways, and my "bluewater" experience was in perfect weather with the most careful human being on the planet in command. I can steer a heading, and do simple dead-reconing nav, and set an anchor in shallow, calm water; but that's about it.
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Old 09-22-2005, 09:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YachtForums
A more immediate alternative to chartering several yachts is to take a virtual tour of all the feature reviews on YachtForums... and there's a bunch of 'em! These are extensive walk-thru reviews with dozens of photographs on each yacht. The editorial within these features is the most complete to be found anywhere with details and specifications, including materials, lay-outs, features and more. It truely gives a feeling of being onboard...
D'oh... yeah. I thought of that after I'd hit "submit" but then got busy and forgot to come back and edit what I wrote. My bad.
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Old 09-22-2005, 09:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you very kindly, L_c. I appreciate the great advice.

I would love to come to Ft Lauderdale in October, but we have already booked a European "cooks vacation" for most of the month. We will be going to England, Ireland, and France - so I don't know if we'll be home in time, or if we'll feel like traveling again so soon if we do. However, I had already planned to tour some builders there, just to get an initial look around. I appreciate your kind offer, and may yet take you up on it.

As for the BIG yachts, I just don't think so. I'm really thinking in the 30-30m range, with a small crew; maybe 4. However, I do want in excess of 5000nm range and 45 days independence: I may HAVE to buy larger. I want to learn to competently conn my own vessel, and I'd really like to find longterm, loyal employees that become more like family. We are planning for this to be our nearly fulltime home - and we really care naught for opulence - so we'd like to keep the staff small and as informal as possible. For that reason, we may find our staff through an agency, but we plan to assist in all aspects of vessel operation and maintenance, and I want total yea/nay on the crew. I'm thinking, at least initially, about a highly experienced, professional captain; a hands-on ChEng/Bosun; a crew cook/steward(ess); and possibly a deckhand. Maybe a tutor for our child - but I'm not sure about that yet as we were considering homeschooling before our lucky day arrived. Anyway, those salaries you listed are tolerable.

I cook for my family now and always have; from cheese sandwiches to gourmet fare, so I see no need for a professional chef. Parties I'll have catered; who needs the trouble? As to maintenance, I'll spare no expense where that and safety are concerned. Any needs will be attended immediately; onboard or in a yard.

Maybe, If I can keep to the size I'm thinking and the number of crew I'd like to have I can keep expenses at a reasonable level. Your example didn't seem prohibitive, so I'm beginning to think this is doable. I was thinking 5.5-7m for the ship, and 1m/yr for upkeep. Your numbers seem in line with that.

Again, I very much appreciate your advice and information.
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There are, of course, different flavors of yachts. You may already have a strong preference for one style. But if not, then the thread linked below is a fun discussion of these basic choices -

http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/general-trawler-discussion/3395-expedition-yacht-discussion.html

Please keep us posted on your search
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCook
There are, of course, different flavors of yachts. You may already have a strong preference for one style. But if not, then the thread linked below is a fun discussion of these basic choices -

http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3395

Please keep us posted on your search
Kelly Cook
Thanks, Kelly.

Will do.
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewLotteryWinR
I'm really thinking in the 30-30m range, with a small crew; maybe 4. However, I do want in excess of 5000nm range and 45 days independence
Based on those 2 stats, you're quite likely looking for an expedition style vessel. However, "expedition" can mean a lot of things. The variety available in that segment right now is amazing. From contemporary to pure classic, you can find just about any look to suite you. Expedition yachts are also the far better choice for full-time living aboard as well in that they have (generally) have far more living space.
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks again, Kevin!

I was just starting to come to that realization when I saw your post. This site is amazing; the helpful people like yourself with such good information.

As funny as it sounds, I don't really care what the ship looks like; as long as she doesn't resemble a derelict scow.

I am much more about function than form, and my limited experience says the larger the vessel, the harder to handle, crew, maintain, etc.

Can anyone address the future ability of captaining my own vessel? Or are the training/licensing issues too complicated. Anyone have a recommendation as to Nation of Registry?
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Though running contrary to most Forum member views, BIGGER IS NOT BETTER.

I have owned, managed, operated, captained and now build/convert yachts and yacht support vessels. To have a great water and yachting experience you do not need a 100 footer. The super-rich on the 200 footers are having the same family problems, life frustrations and image worries that we all suffer. They thought a bigger yacht would be more fun, but that is not the case. The biggest headache in yachting are crew, so the fewer crew the better - which means a smaller vessel.

First, get a captain that you love and trust and let him manage your yachting program. This "yacht management" concept was devised by brokers to get into rich people's pockets deeper than they already do. Management companies will cost you more and cause more crew dissention than any other source. It is an unnessary and costly layering which filters the information that you need to get to your captain. If your captain cannot hire the crew, manage the accounts and balance his checkbook; you got the wrong guy!

The only management a qualified and conscientious captain requires is clear directions and instructions from the owner.

Second, take you comfortable and cozy 80 plus or minus footer everywhere in the world on Dock Express, i.e., ship it either in a well deck or deck loaded on commercial ships designed for transporting yachts.

You think you do, but you really don't want to spend three weeks at sea for a crossing - especially after the first one. It is the coast, the ports, the beautiful anchors that bring the joys and marvel of yachting. The macho folks might like rocking and rolling at sea day after day, but your wife and children will hate you!

I've been around the world three times on ships and yachts. It is the best way to see and appreciate our planet from the perspective that all civilizations started the great cities on the water.

Good luck.....as if you need any.

Stan
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Old 09-22-2005, 11:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks, Stan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow
Though running contrary to most Forum member views, BIGGER IS NOT BETTER.
I suspected that, perhaps instinctively. However, my primary motivation in that regard was not wasting money by buying more ship than I need. I'm glad to hear (see) an opposing view.

Quote:
The biggest headache in yachting are crew, so the fewer crew the better - which means a smaller vessel.
Again, I suspected that. Having been a manager previously, I can attest that most of my problems were personnel-related. I am going to be looking for specific things in my crew: genuine friendliness, love of kids, relaxed atmosphere most of the time but an ability to be formal on ocassion, etc.

Quote:
First, get a captain that you love and trust and let him manage your yachting program. This "yacht management" concept was devised by brokers to get into rich people's pockets deeper than they already do. If your captain cannot hire the crew, manage the accounts and balance his checkbook; you got the wrong guy! The only management a qualified and conscientious captain requires is clear directions and instructions from the owner.
Sage advice. I also want to find one that will take pleasure in training a newbie ship handler (the owner!). Maybe one nearing retirement? We got lucky: we can, with careful management, live extremely well for the rest of our lives and our child(ren)'s lives - super rich we ain't!

Quote:
Second, take you comfortable and cozy 80 plus or minus footer everywhere in the world on Dock Express, i.e., ship it either in a well deck or deck loaded on commercial ships designed for transporting yachts. You think you do, but you really don't want to spend three weeks at sea for a crossing - especially after the first one.
I didn't know you could do that! What do the owners/crew do during transit? Fly over and wait? I'm not macho at all - a fair weather sailor at best. Can you address the possibility of eventually being my own captain? Pros, cons, and issues, if you would.

Quote:
Good luck.....as if you need any.
Au contraire! We've use up more than our lifetime allotment already! That's whay I'm asking questions now. Before I stick ... something in the fan.
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Old 09-22-2005, 11:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to YachtForums,

You will probably be flooded with advice here, but I agree with Shadow in everything. I have spent five years living on a yacht this size and I would never buy larger than 100´ anyway.

As I am designing yachts I have my personal favorite in the 85-footer below.

A larger version with a raised wheelhouse, like a floor and a half, is here
http://www.YachtForums.com/forums/sh...&postcount=132

And another 85´ as a Trawler yacht is here
http://www.YachtForums.com/forums/sh...3&postcount=77

If you look at these three you will get a pretty good idea what you can expect out of a yacht this size.

/Lars
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