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Yacht Stalking

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Loren Schweizer, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    One indication of YF's popularity is... when that august group is mentioned, as well as having at least one of it's activities identified, by none other than The Wall Street Journal.

    The Friday (October 19) edition's 'Journal Weekend' section, page W2, contains the article "Stalkers of the High Seas", by Robert Frank, which goes on to decry the business of 'yacht-spotting'.

    Seems that some of the high-end owners--whose yachts appear fairly regularly on this site and which include "Lady Moura", "Tatoosh", "Octopus", and "Rising Sun"--are miffed by the (gasp!) stalkers among you. The article mentions revealing "intimate details of the yachts--from the size of their engines and upper deck Jacuzzis to their mishaps."

    "More than a dozen sites carry some form of yacht-spotting information including...yachtforums.com."

    It gets better: an editor of a popular yacht mag says,

    Gosh Ms. B, I belong to that world and so do a lot of others here as well.
  2. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Loren…

    I received a copy of the article yesterday and found myself in a quandary as to whether I should speak up, or shut up. As politically incorrect as this may be, I think the time has come to say something…

    1. Privacy & security are paramount at YachtForums. We've made every effort to create a comfortable atmosphere for owners. We don't discuss owners or their businesses, unless it is otherwise public information published in other forms of media. This is one of the reasons our membership is approaching 10,000 now.

    2. A yacht's location ranks in the top-10 of the most useless topics on the internet! Although we have to keep in mind, for a lot of people that are new to our world, seeing one of our majesties in person is exciting and it instills a sense of wonder that often results in a Google search. There is no harm intended by enthusiasts who speak up to say "hey, I saw that boat too!", but they don't think about the big picture when posting their excitement. More than a few times, I have edited or removed content that seemed security sensitive, as have ours moderators.

    3. Some people have NO "write" to be in this business. One evening while I was seated with 30 of boating’s best known writers, one editor informs the rest of the group that Diane from PMY refers to her forum members as “Yacht Stalkers”, going on to say “it's a pain to baby-sit them”. And now, we have an exert from the Wall Street Journal confirming what Ms. Byrne thinks about her members...

    Which begs the question… what makes you think you belong to this world Diane? Have you ever designed, engineered, built, navigated, sold, owned or worked on a yacht...??? I think NOT. I'm sorry, but a literary degree does not qualify someone to write about our world... or pass judgment on those who appreciate it!
  3. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    I'm still trying to figure out how I can make some money from this.

    Sounds like this person is in the wrong business, and doesn't appreciate the "beauty and a sense of freedom" that yachts represent to onlookers and owners. Maybe admiring exotic cars is a form of "stalking" as well, not to mention Architecture, etc..
  4. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Carl,

    Funny you mention that. It really is nobody's business. But sometimes they are hard to miss, and at times you want to share not the location but the fact that it was spotted, or even get a photo (guilty).

    There are times when I post pics that I give a general area of where I was, and there are many photos I have not posted due to privacy concerns (especially my shots of Privacy, for example).

    But it is getting harder to hide, no wait, to not be found. Case in point, AIS. Yachts and ships many times now have to have AIS, which is essentially a transponder identifying the vessel. And looking at the system right now, I can tell you where at least a half-dozen yachts are in the Ft Lauderdale area since they have on, or recently had on their AIS system.
  5. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    What's Wrong With Voyeurism?

    I've been reading yachting magazines since I was 7 and used to refer to them as the "dream book". Heck, I'd rarely ever seen a yacht until I started running one! Those magazines and my voyeurism are what fueled my inspiration to learn more about the industry and become a part of the community. This is now my world which they are peaking into and I support them in doing so.

    I'm always very kind and understanding of people's curiousity when I'm approached on the dock. We don't give specific details about the owners or our movements, but are always happy to answer questions.

    BTW- anyone ever heard of and AIS. Those things belt out our position to anyone interested in paying attention!
  6. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    Yep, as a young person operating on this forum and yachting community, I often have wondered about AIS. People are crying out loud for the respect of their privacy yet there is a 'phenomenon' that literally shows you the exact whereabouts of yachts and vessels collectively. I too like to have an idea where yachts are but not necessarily down to their exact location.

    And it is not simply just down to location it also has to do with divulging information that should not be and I agree with Carl on that. I have come to learn that there is a level of professionalism that must be exhibited and then others will gain respect for that so... respect is paramount. I'm sure that we also like our privacy respected. So we could pass on the same gestures.
  7. foundrycourt

    foundrycourt New Member

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    Agree that owners privacy and security needs, need to be protected, but they get no sympathy from me on the idea of being 'stalked' :( . If owners want to remain anonymous then maybe they should purchase a standard production yacht that blends in with the countless others at marinas. Otherwise moor their yachts at the North / South pole instead of popular holiday spots where they are likely to be photographed.
  8. Time

    Time New Member

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    I"m not sure that is a valid point foundrycourt. The problem is not the photo's being taken, but the details published along with the photo's. Whilst purchasing a boat of significant proportions does scream some "look at me" factor, the enjoyment gained by the owners/users is most often the primary cause for the investment. Once that enjoyment is infringed upon then you seek to regain what you lost. Surely you must realize that whilst Most owners don't mind a few pictures being taken, once those images are published with the details of the location, date, time etc there is significant scope for unsavory types to capitalize on your "hobby" and can have quite a significant impact on the enjoyment experienced by those who use or own the boat.

    Regards,

    Time.
  9. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    D. Byrne wrote...
    I assume that D. Byrne is speaking about me here, although she got the location and job description wrong, most likely intentionally to confuse the actual location of a bunch of silly charter boats. Either way I’m flattered to have finally made “The Wall Street Journal”.

    As mentioned, the “stalking” article must refer to her Magazine’s sponsored Forum to which I haven’t contributed to for almost 2 years (sorry D.B) and is focused primarily on what some consider “famous” mega yachts.

    The sad thing is that these on-line forums popularity is also dependent on its member’s international photographs of Yachts and Sensationalism, the more the better (keep it fresh & exciting). And since both try to outdo each other by providing as much “color” as possible (with both principals contributing) it seems a bit hypocritical to assume that anybody is being fooled here, as taking this type of moral high ground is akin to shooting oneself in the foot, and rather senseless.
  10. brunick

    brunick Senior Member

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    erm - i think i got it wrong but - when these people buy those big yachts - DON'T they want some attention??

    so why don't they want normal people like me to glance up to their boat and maybe know a bit more about this "world i don't belong to" ??

    do these people know whether i get rich and build some big yachts?

    what're they talking about - privacy, hiding a 140m yacht from "normals" people viewfield?

    i guess the people that've complained they want privacy are some people chartering a yacht in some public waters and where overun by plenty of people in the marina how big this yacht is and what engines 're build in...
  11. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    As an owner of two boats, 57' (see avatar) and another larger boat I chose not to mention, I can say I only agree with you, spot on. Anonymity is everything in this world, and YF knows, respects, and validates that.

    On the same token, I believe that the WSJ is simply taking the current [media] frenzy [read: October / FLIBS] and generating news from it. Which, in all essence is pointless in the big picture.

    Perhaps there have been images or details posted on different Internet sites (YF of course picked out in the article as it is certainly a popular and reputable site) which had details about a boat which the owners or crew were not thrilled with. However, these were not (or I can't imagine they were) in explicit detail which put the boat, the owner or crew at any greater level of privacy intrusion that someone driving by in a nice / admirable car. People aren't wandering on boats. They are admiring from a distance. That distance being a mile, or perhaps from the next dock over.

    Success is a funny thing. However, that knife cuts both ways.
    You work very hard, and make your mark in the world. And with that, comes pleasures. Houses, villas, yachts, boats, call them what you will. You are doing what you do to enjoy that very success you worked so hard to create. Having your boat spotted, talked about, photographed, etc. in a harbor or marina is green on the course. It happens. You deal with it. People take pictures. It's a compliment to your success. Be gracious. You worked hard for it.
  12. mariog

    mariog New Member

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    Anyone that goes out and buys the biggest "look at me" floating palace and expects not to be inquired upon is nothing more than a pompous, arrogant fool...

    my .02
  13. Arniev

    Arniev Senior Member

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    AMEN !!!
    Arnie
    :(
  14. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    While those aren't the exact words I was thinking... that's essentially how I feel. If these people truly wanted anonymity they should buy a nice used Sunseeker or Lazzara. Buying the biggest, newest, flashiest, whatever is not the way to get it. It smacks of ignorance to believe otherwise.

    That said, privacy is still a paramount issue. I'm fascinated by all these yachts we regularly read about and see. That being said, it's the yacht that interests me... not usually the owner. I marvel at the engineering, the design, and craftsmanship that go into constructing one of these. Who paid the bill is generally irrelevant. The only time I'm ever curious about an owner is when I see something in a build that absolutely stands out and makes me think "that's exactly how I'd do it!" Then I can't help but wonder who it might be that has such impeccable tastes. ;) LOL

    When all is said and done though, knowing the exact whereabouts of any given vessel at any time isn't really important to me. I suppose if I were being invited aboard I should know where they're berthed, but otherwise it doesn't really make a difference in my world.
  15. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    For sure, over 99.9% of humanity don't at first glance belong to that world "they don't belong to", but we're not looking at how the other half live, we're only looking realistically at how less than 0.01% of the others live...?!

    It's only in the last 5 years or so after 2 decades where I've been involved with yachting that I've been confronted with the wider aspects of yacht ownership. As a male homo-sapiens, I admire inanimate objects, whether they be yachts, cars or something else. I also appreciate the sometimes breath-taking physical beauty of my fellow women, children and even men-folk, not forgetting everything that natural wildlife has to offer.

    But it has become increasingly difficult for me to assimilate the increasing numbers of yachts both modest and mega-sized, their owners and what I see as a wholly disproportionate redistribution of wealth today in the devloped world.

    I'm a moderate person, but what I fear is an over-reaction, something like a proletariat-uprising akin to what went on in the early part of the 20th Century. As soon as the middle-class majority realise that they're no more than peons in a wider sense, these beautiful inanimate objects and my "bread and butter" will become mere rusting relics tied up to disused wharfs that noone would ever dream of converting or rebuilding at some future date...?!

    I guess that what I'm saying is that if yacht owners today feel they should have recourse to using every available lawful subterfuge in order to preserve their so-called privacy rights, that this probably means that their day has already come, and almost gone. And it would be more advisble to remove themselves to their NBC bunkers, invest in gold and await a reversal of the current situation where 5% of the population own over 90% of the wealth - and the remaining 95% would consider being paid in a currency that does not automatically oblige them "to make good" irresponsible government expenditures on their behalf.

    Yachts, even megayachts can be beautiful. It's just a shame that anyone who owns one wasn't elected to benefit from ownership I guess...?! :D
  16. jsi

    jsi New Member

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    Yachtparazzi

    There's a hell of a difference between people who love yachts, design yachts, sell yachts, work yachts, build yachts, own yachts, and "yachtparazzi."

    I hope I've made my point.

    jsi
  17. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    I do believe that this so called "Yacht privacy" issues are misdirected and based on hypocritical BS, geared solely towards selling more papers and getting hits on the web.
    Shouldn’t the so-called concerned parties sue “Forbes” for publishing their annual incomes and other personal information? Now about the Government for tapping peoples phones? Maybe with their combined incomes they can buy and take off the market all digital cameras, but wait, that would spur another debate similar to “do people or guns kill”.
    As mentioned by others, true Yachtsmen marvel at the Yacht itself and share images with like-minded enthusiasts, the owners can jump in anytime at their discretion, if they crave recognition or want to tell us about their toy.
  18. Diane M. Byrne

    Diane M. Byrne New Member

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    Carl, I wish you had contacted me before repeating the story you relate. I do not refer to the PMY forum members as Yacht Stalkers, not have I ever said it's a "pain to baby-sit them." The forum members--enthusiasts, industry members, yacht owners, yacht captains, even people who've joined as a result of searching for info on a yacht they happened to see--know that I enjoy the give and take of information and learn as much from them as I hope they learn from participating. And Robert Frank from the WSJ knows how I feel about yacht spotting as well as his article.

    As to your own questions, my 14 years as a respected PMY writer and editor make me a member of the marine world. I invite you and your members to ask yard reps, brokers, etc. how they view me. If after doing so, you still believe that my work and journalistic credentials are not worthy, perhaps we're best agreeing to disagree. But realize that by extension, you're questioning most of the marine media--indeed, the media in general. Many marine journalists have not built/designed/engineered a yacht, just as many art critics have never painted masterpieces, finance journalists have not started multimillion-dollar companies, aerospace reporters have not built planes, etc.

    If you or anyone else wishes to contact me directly, I would be glad to explain what I did and did not say--to people in this business, to forum members, to the WSJ reporter, etc.
  19. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    I thought people bought big beautiful yachts to be able to show them off and to be proud of what they have accomplished in life.
  20. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Well, water under the bridge and all that... Diane M. Byrne. I suppose we're all a fairly proud bunch here at YachtForums... and perhaps a lot of us do feel a bit miffed... at the very idea of the 'extension' aspect of your reply.

    This YF grouping has a decided passion for what is posted here. Who would not feel denigrated by being considered as mere voyeurs by the "questioning marine media"? Heck, some of us are part of the marine media.

    And, as a little aside, this site has beat the crap out of the print magazines as far as timeliness and pertinent information is concerned. While no one here, hopefully, is going to make a 'mountain out of a molehill', maybe the "media", as you say, has progressed beyond what you have experienced in the new medium known as the internet forums.

    This is the new deal, honey.