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Special Report: Super Yachts

Special Report: Super Yachts

As a way of measuring the global economy, this has got to be the coolest. From Abramovich’s Eclipse to a simple $250,000 a week charter, Kipp looks at the industry.

August 8, 2010 12:36 by

Tom Perkins, a venture capitalist who got in early on the phenomenal success of Google, unloaded a super-yacht last year called the Maltese Falcon – the largest sailing craft in the world, and considered by some the best designed. His asking price was $165 million; the sale took place at $100 million. This discount is extreme, but since boats in this category are typically highly personalized, they can be tough to unload.

They are also tough to keep, if your fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. Wooten says that a rough rule of thumb is that it costs 10 to 15 percent of the build cost per year to operate a vessel. So, if you plan to spend $100 million on your dream boat, you should count on laying out $10 million or so each year just to keep it afloat. And that’s only the tab for crew, dock fees, insurance, and other necessities. In other words, you pay $10 million to sit still. If you actually decide to travel, the price tag soars. Add in fuel (these vessels are not exactly fuel efficient) and food (five-star chefs are considered essential), and you start to talk real money. This brings us to the legendary banker J.P. Morgan’s oft-repeated quote that if you have to ask how much one costs, you can’t afford one.

Although that advice seemed to have fallen on deaf ears a couple of years ago, it may have played a role in the sudden collapse in new orders. After all, there are other ways to enjoy a yachting vacation. For instance, you can always charter. Though most of the biggest and most renowned vessels are not available to the hoi poloi, there are hundreds of boats available from reputable yacht brokers like Edmiston, Camper and Nicholson’s, Burgess, and others. Cain says that charters are strong. “The charter business fell 30 percent off the boom years, but since has come right back.”

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  1. Ronald on August 16, 2010 11:42 am

    I Have worked on superyachts for a number of years, and was a first hand witness of the excess. some say it is irresponsible spending, i did at first, but then later on realized that thousands of smaller industries benefit, and incalculable amount of mouths get well fed in the process.

    but i would never buy one even if i could, and when asked by potential buyers, i advise them not to buy. Chartering is the best way to do it, it takes away the dirty costly side of ownership. Yachts always have a problem in them, it’s better to have someone else deal with the surprise costs. you just have fun

  2. Sam on August 17, 2010 3:08 am

    They have got so big they are now calling them
    Giga Yachts, super yachts are for the poor folk LOL

  3. Davids on October 16, 2010 7:47 pm


  4. Andrew on October 17, 2010 10:14 am

    Might I suggest starting with a dictionary first.

  5. Miss Anne Thropic on October 18, 2010 8:22 am

    Yep, if you can’t spell yacht, you’re probably in no position to own one…


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