Shopping for a superyacht? Answer these six key questions first: Heesen Yachts

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones August 5, 2019 12:12

Shopping for a superyacht? Answer these six key questions first: Heesen Yachts

Consider these six questions before shopping for a superyacht, advises Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen Yachts.

So, you’re thinking of buying a superyacht? Then, it will pay to consider the six points on this check list before talking to your financiers. Who better to offer advice than Arthur Brouwer, CEO of top superyacht shipyard Heesen Yachts?

1. What will the superyacht be used for?

How do you intend to use your shiny new superyacht? Deciding what capabilities you want your vessel to achieve should inform the choice you make. Is your plan to cruise the azure waters of the Mediterranean or Bahamas? Or do you favour more-adventurous voyages: transatlantic crossings and exploration visits to the Arctic Circle? “Anything is possible, but different types of hull design and the amount of space inside – often referred to as gross tonnage or GT – will be preferable for different types of voyages,” said Brouwer. “This is probably the first question you’ll be asked by any broker or shipyard.”

2. How many guests do you wish to cater for?

How many guests do you want to entertain on board? This will depend on factors such as the size of your family and friends and how many people you want to be able to accommodate overnight. “The answers to these questions will impact the size of the layout of your boat, in addition to the size of outdoor decks and dining spaces.”

3. Who can help you make the key decisions?

Heesen recommends that you, the would-be owner, find a good sales broker to guide you through what can be a long but rewarding process – particularly if this is your first boat.

“More than 70% of my company Heesen’s boats are sold through brokers and we work closely with all the top brokerage houses. Your broker will have a good understanding of the market and will be able to connect you to the right designers to suit your requirements,” said Brouwer. Brokers also play an important role in keeping all parties happy and managing deadlines. For example, selecting the type of on-board TVs two years before launch may seem ridiculously premature. But, such information influences everything from the layout of the room, to technical space required.

Other key players in the superyacht planning process could be your lawyer, your future captain and, not least, your family who will be using the boat. “When it comes to choosing a captain, the best way to do this is via reference from your friends or broker; brokerage houses often run crew agencies too.”

4. What’s more important: supersize or agility?

What is more important to you: supersize or agility? Talk about superyachts is typically prefaced by their size – for example 55m Vida or 50m Home. But if you prioritise agility or speed, a big yacht may not be the wisest choice.

“If you want to be fast and nip into tiny beautiful ports along, say, the Italian coast, a smaller yacht, up to 50m, typically gives more freedom. You don’t need a pilot for operations and you can access more places,” said Brouwer. “A bigger yacht however gives more space for entertaining guests – home cinemas, bars and party areas, bigger pools and a helipad or two. At Heesen, we’ve found the sweet spot is between 50-60m.”

5. How should I pick a designer?

“I’d recommend chartering a number of yachts to figure out which type of yacht you like, which style and which designers you like. Test the waters, so to speak,” said Brouwer. A good plan is to visit trade shows, such as Monaco Yacht Show or Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to compare various designs, to see what you like and what fits your plans and to meet the designers in person.

The safest option is to choose a superyacht designer who knows about the tricks of building on a boat, rather than simply external design. Heesen can make recommendations, based on its work with internationally acclaimed designers, including: British Winch Design and Harrison Eidsgaard, Espen Oeino, Clifford Denn, Cristiano Gatto from Venice and our home-grown Dutch talents, such as Omega Architects and Sinot. Read some of the latest trends in yacht design in the box below.

6. How long will it take and how much will it cost?

The answer depends on how much you want to customise your yacht. It can take more than three years for a full-custom design, including building from the ground up.

Since no one wants to wait that long, Heesen operates an on-spec business model. This means the builder has already started building a yacht without a client. “That means you can swoop in halfway through the process and pretty much reduce your delivery time to one-to-two years by choosing to just customise the interior decor.”

Heesen yachts are valued above 30M euros. The precise price depends on size, specifications, and materials used. It is important to realise that the running costs of a yacht are about 8-10% of the total cost upon purchase. Total costs include: fuel, crew, port fees, maintenance, insurance, food and services on board.

What to expect next

Once you have confirmed your preferred design, the life cycle of yacht construction involves five key stages. These are: the keel laying, the joining of the hull and superstructure, the launch, the sea trials (Heesen tests boats in the demanding North Sea) and, finally, delivery to the owner’s preferred location.

“Your involvement is key to designing your yacht. It’s a golden opportunity to plan your investment and ensure you receive exactly the superyacht you had hoped for,” concluded Brouwer.

“Your involvement is key to designing your yacht,” says Arthur Brouwer .

Top superyacht trends

• Hybrid technology and Fast Displacement Hulls – more fuel efficient and ecologically friendly with the option for a silent mode

• Indoor-outdoor spaces – people are looking for winter gardens, swim platforms and any spaces that give them direct access to nature and the ocean

• Explorer yachts designed for adventure

• Toys and toy carriers: submarines, helicopters, jeeps, jet skis, seabob submersible devices and fly boards among others

• Special features: nemo rooms or family suites, snow rooms, spas and gyms.

What you need to know before buying a superyacht

1. What will the superyacht be used for?

2. How many guests do you wish to cater for?

3. Who can help you make the key decisions?

4. What’s more important: supersize or agility?

5. How should I pick a designer?

6. How long will it take and how much will it cost?


Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen Yachts: “More than 70% of my company Heesen’s boats are sold through brokers and we work closely with all the top brokerage houses.”

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones August 5, 2019 12:12

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