Whether you are looking to buy a yacht which is brand new or a pre-owned vessel on brokerage there is a lot to consider before committing to what most people consider as the second-largest purchase after their house.
When buying a yacht in the UK there are no hard and fast rules and naturally, everyone’s individual circumstances are slightly different. In our Dufour yacht buying guide, we have highlighted some of the key areas you should consider when making your initial choices about which yacht is right for you. Universal are the UK agents for Dufour Yachts. We can offer guidance on the purchase of their full range of yachts including the Dufour 360, Dufour 390, Dufour 41, Dufour 46, Dufour 530 and Dufour Catamaran 48.
Factors affecting any purchasing decision are wide and varied and inevitably some compromise is necessary. For the first time buyer it is sometimes hard to know what features are important but whether this is your first yacht or not it is really important to understand how you want the yacht to work for you, both in terms of sailing as well as how you live on board.
There are hundreds of makes and models of yachts to choose from and narrowing down your options can be quite a minefield. Differentiating between yacht designs is a challenge.
It is really important to never underestimate the real pleasure and emotion than can be created from owning a yacht.
For most there is a real sense of pride and excitement when you walk down the pontoon towards your yacht.
Recognising the early signs of this emotion during your research will give you a really good indication when you have found the right boat.
When questioned most purchasers cite the layout and living arrangements as the most important influencing factors in their decision making, over and above sailing performance.
When looking around at various yachts make sure you take all the decision-makers with you. It will save you a lot of time if you can gauge the reaction of anyone else involved straight away. You will quickly find out the key features that are important to all of you.
Attending a Boat Show is a great way to see a large range of the most popular boats all in one place. There are numerous Boat Shows throughout the year around the world. However not all the shows are supported in the same way and there are only a few key boat shows where you will be able to see a manufacturers full range of boats. Around Europe most consider Southampton Boat Show in September, Paris Boat Show in December and Dusseldorf Boat Show in January as being the key ones to attend.
So hop on a plane and take the opportunity to see all the boats you are considering in one place. The cost of the trip is a fraction of the purchase price and well worth the effort especially if you can combine it into a mini-break.
As well as new Boat Shows there are plenty of local second-hand boat shows around the country organised by individual brokers and marinas.
Talk to a yacht broker, they are a great source of information and will happily show you the boats that they have for sale.
Tell the broker where you are at in the buying process. If you are just at the beginning of your search then make this clear at the outset. Don’t pretend that you are just about to make a purchase if you are on a two-year plan. A good broker will happily help you regardless and will appreciate your honesty.
There are plenty of great boat reviews available to read and videos to watch online.
Some are generated by the manufacturers themselves and others by yachting journalists.
Both will highlight the main features and benefits of any yacht and give you visual overview of layout and design.
You will always appreciate the extra space so within reason buy a yacht that has capacity for you to grow into. You will soon get used to handling a larger boat and certainly in the long run you will be financially better off if you don’t have to buy and sell in a short period of time. Unless you are downsizing of course !!! Choosing the size of yacht which is right for you is influenced by many things
It is pointless buying a yacht that is intended for bluewater sailing if you never leave The Solent or thinking that you will be more comfortable in a gale on a certain type of yacht when in reality you will be tied up in a marina or preferably a pub when that gale occurs!! Buy a boat that works for you 90% of the time and not 10% of the time.
There are only so many layout options you can create out of the space available but here are a few to consider.
There are an incredible amount equipment options to choose from, some of which are there to help short handed sailing become more manageable or that make a larger yacht easier to handle. Other options are there simply to reflect modern living and how we live at home.
Sailing / Boat Handling Options ….
Onboard Living …..
This is very subjective and inevitably you can ask a hundred people and get a hundred different reactions.
Just like cars and many other products there is a perceived image or status associated with certain brands. It is important for you to decide what is important and whether you are prepared to pay a premium for one brand over another when in reality most will all do the same thing for you in their own way.
That said there is still a difference in build quality between yacht manufacturers that affects not only what you will pay for the boat initially, but also the resale value and importantly your own experience during ownership.
The key is to be as informed as you can possibly be. There is a boat for every budget and the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds in most cases. But it is often a case of compromise and it is important to choose the right boat that not only works for you but is also within your budget.
As you narrow your search down you can expect to find manufacturers offering similar boats at seemingly quite different prices.
Just make sure you are comparing like for like in terms of spec and equipment levels
Remember special offers are designed to tempt you in a certain direction but don’t let the offer off a headline-grabbing discount cause you to forget which yacht it is you really prefer. Long after any discount has been enjoyed you will still be owning that boat so first and foremost focus on which boat is right for you and then secure the best possible price.
There is always some room for negotiation on price but be wary of that “never to be repeated” offer, there is normally a reason behind it. Sometimes genuine, sometimes not.
Talk to your broker about letting them use your boat for a boat show or perhaps the odd test sail. In return you may be offered a better price in return.
Sea Trials…. Whilst it may seem back to front it is important to iron out all the other factors that influence your decision before you embark on a sea trial.
So don’t necessarily expect to be offered a sea trial unless you are a long way down the buying process. Most yacht brokers will not agree to a sea trial unless there is some serious commitment to buy. Usually a deposit and a signed contract.
At the end of the day if you like the boat for every other reason then the chances are that she will perform well within your expectations. No mainstream manufacturer will design a yacht that handles poorly, they have enough depth of experience to know what works. So whilst of course it is important to satisfy yourself that the boat performs as you imagine she will, there are many other aspects about the yacht that will influence your decision over and above how she sails.
So now you have found the right boat for you, it is time to talk contracts and everything else that involved in the next stage of the buying process.