There is no question that as yacht size has increased so have the demands on the purchasing team. To outfit a 50m yacht or larger is not a case of just popping to your local chandlery and great care needs to be taken to select the right equipment and suppliers at the best price for your owner. Looking back when I worked on board yachts and the manner in which people purchased items fills me with horror. Yachts now need to be like a business with clearly defined roles and approval processes for purchasing. Build teams on the larger yachts (excluding crew) are often well more than 10 people. Walking into a build team office when crew start getting involved a few months from launch there are often 50 people all working up quotes, handling suppliers and working on procedures for drills and equipment.
Superyacht Tenders and Toys specialise in new build outfitting, and are currently involved with 9 of the largest yachts in construction up to 188m in length. Recent clients who have trusted their expertise include MY Ulysses, MY Faith, MY Cloudbreak, MY Cloud 9 and many others. These purchases being from build teams, management, shipyards and owners.
The time taken to get quotes, of which 3 are often needed by management and all the associated back and forth can be a large job for a team. The larger the boat the more equipment and the larger the team needed to stay on top of this. SYTT offer a go to contact specialising in the garage equipment to include tenders, toys, safety equipment and deck gear. As with anything the earlier this can be thought about the better to allow for stowage and securing on board. That said as we all know in yachting almost anything is possible and we have provided full tender, toy and deck inventories delivered on board in a manner of only a few weeks on occasion as owners seek the latest possible equipment available.
There seems to be a wide variety of attitudes to purchasing from build teams, and for those owners who think ahead undoubtedly, they get a better result with less compromises. That said, many items such as loose deck equipment such as jetskis this does not get purchased until much closer to the delivery date when budgets are finalised and more junior officers get involved. Having an experienced build team makes a huge difference to the supply as items can get purchased in good time avoiding potential issues.
For SYTT we get involved at various stages. As a very rough guide for a typical 60- 140m these could typically be defined as per below:
- 18 -20 months prior to launch tenders getting discussed and ordered. Full custom limousine and open tenders take approx. 18 months to build. If not going along the custom designed tender route then this could be later around 6 months prior to launch. Garage and crane details become key criteria here for the specification
- 12 months prior to launch gym equipment, deck gear such as whips, cradles, safety gear, cranes, ropes. We are often involved in designing garages, racking, storage, power requirements for charging items
- 6 months prior to launch yacht toys, inflatables, watersports, Seabobs, jetpacks, kayaks, SUPs etc. This seems to be the point owners start to get interested!
- Delivery to the yacht around 2-3 months prior to launch so they can be checked by the crew, trained and then exported with the yacht on delivery
- On export handling all customs and paperwork to satisfy VAT and import responsibilities
Whilst the superyacht industry is still very much based on relationships there is an increasing amount of noise in the marketplace online and in print. For instance, if you are looking to buy a new 8m RIB for a yacht how many companies offer this? 50, 75, 100+? In the latest spring 2017 Onboard Tenders and Toys supplement I read through the list of builders advertising, it was very interesting to read and to be brutally honest very few were recommended. Now move onto SOLAS tenders, Limousine tenders, Chase boats and Landing Crafts. For inexperienced owners, this can be overwhelming and very confusing as everyone offers the fastest, best built, and most awesome boats on the planet (according to them). For tender manufacturers, the superyacht market can be viewed as a lucrative avenue, which they can potentially raise pricing and margin on boats previously offered in the leisure market. Knowing who can walk the talk, as well as talk the talk is a tightrope. One where we have been burned in the past, and passing on this knowledge is invaluable. Many new builders are entering the market place and on occasion these are excellent, and where you can get a very good value boat as they are eager to get into the industry and build up market share. An example in the fully custom tender world, where a boat is designed exactly to your or the yachts designers requirements could be Cockwells. Previously building classic boats in the UK they now offer excellent value custom superyacht tenders compared to some of the more well-known brands with comparable quality. Every budget and brief has a suitable builder, and matching this can sometimes be an art form. The expectations of owners however are often far beyond what tender builders are used to and there are so many examples it is hard to narrow a single scenario down of issues witnessed during build inspections. This therefore becomes an area where you need a company who handles daily purchasing, contracts, specification and on site supervision of builds knowing who is most suitable based off previous experience to quite simply cut through the crap.
There are two clear attitudes we witness to purchasing managers, build captains and managers when using companies for purchasing. These could be summarised as one of the below:
- Buy everything direct, handle direct with the factory and seek the best price
- Use an agent or specialist as you are aware there is a lot which goes into this and the details of supply
Increasingly everything is price driven as almost anyone can buy anything if you try hard enough, and no-one likes to spend more than is fair. For SYTT we expect to have pricing scrutinised and other quotes obtained by the yacht and we seek to make this a simple choice. Not only do we supply at the very best discounted rate, less than you can buy direct from a manufacturer, but we offer considerable added value in the knowledge when specifying, providing options, and then backing all products up with after sales, training and assistance. Assistance is given at no charge for the lifetime of the goods whether this be repairing your Freestyle yacht slide, spare parts for a jetski, organising warranty repairs on a tender, or replacing cushions from that oh too familiar guest wearing stilettos. Toy packages can have equipment from over 100 manufacturers and handling all is a large task with purchasing running into the hundreds of thousands in this area alonex. This is therefore a win-win for the vessel and invaluable for a busy cruising yacht. The modern world of purchasing suddenly begins to make sense to even the most subborn. As any good manager will tell you to delegate and increase efficiency, utilise purchasing power and using the most knowledgeable people only makes for a better result.
Images – Project management, tender build sketches, lifting boats into garages, Ulysses overall image etc.