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COMMENT


I guess it’s a case of horses for courses


I


f you are a yacht broker who manages your own client’s yacht, then I suggest that, in order to keep your blood pressure


down, you look away and stop reading now. Are you still with me? Well don’t say I did not warn you!


The reason I issue such a warning is because I would like to question why we need such managers in this industry? You see I have long believed that the real manager of the yacht is the Captain. It is the Captain’s job to manage the yacht and its crew. It is, in fact, an essential part of his job description. In the past, this was always the case and until the yacht broker decided to gate crash and become the manager, that’s how it always was.


Why do they treat


Captains with so little respect and so much contempt?


Brokers who buy and sell a yacht for clients do, in the most part, a good job and give value for money. They know the value of a yacht, they know who she might sell to and they have the contacts to make that sale happen. So they are very useful, if not essential, people to have on your side when you are buying or selling.


It’s with the bit in the middle that they get in the way. Let’s be honest, the only reason brokers decided to become managers in the first place was they needed a reason to stay in touch with their clients between purchase and sale. Remember, they did not make huge amounts of cash at the time of purchase but they could pay off their mortgage when you wanted to sell the yacht. What better way to stay in touch than to offer to look after the yacht in the meantime? Salesmen, and that’s what brokers are in reality, have mostly never been to sea, they do not know what the boss likes to do on his yacht and


they are mostly inept when it comes to hiring and firing crew. What is it that makes them think they can do what the Captain does while sitting in their offices?


Look what happens when a superyacht is involved in an accident. The so called professional manager spends the next few months batting away the blame hoping the enquiry finds them blameless. They fend off the angry and work hard to retain their fee. They do not worry that the Captain will lose his job or that his certificate and therefore his livelihood is put into jeopardy. They know that they can find another Captain soon enough. Finding an owner with a purse deep enough to satisfy a manager is altogether a different matter.


Why do they treat Captains with so little respect and so much contempt when they are the ones on whom they will be reliant to keep their clients happy and interested?


I mention this particularly because a Captain colleague of mine told me he had answered an email from a broker/manager inviting him to fly from London to Monaco in order to attend an interview recently. The Captain immediately responded positively, asking to know which day suited them best and with whom he would be talking. Forty eight hours later he had still heard nothing. So he sat around wondering whether or not he was going to Monaco the following week or not.


He told me, “I’ve never been a fan, nor understood why salesmen have so much clout in an industry like this. Having to suck up to Brokers to get a job really makes no sense at all if one looks at the levels we need to work and the people we are entrusted to look after.” I suggested they surely are not all as bad as he suggests and to his great credit he did concede that there are some great Brokers out there. “But,” he added, “They are in the minority. The Tim Wiltshires and Rupert Nelsons of this world are thin on the ground and they are massively outnumbered by shallow and hugely inexperienced idiots.”


Salty Seadog questions the interests of the Yacht Broker who decides to move into yacht management


ONBOARD | SUMMER 2017 | 7


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