SmartYacht: sharing is saving
Katie Milton spoke to CEO Gerhard Chemelli about SmartYacht’s luxury yacht service and its innovative co-ownership model.
By Katie Milton
What does SmartYacht offer the luxury leisure traveller?
SmartYacht offers three different yachting concepts to satisfy discerning clients who are in the market for exclusive private cruising and holiday experiences. Firstly, our club membership, which starts from A$49,900 and provides 18 weeks use over three years, is designed for people who do not want to own a yacht but occasionally want to use one for personal or business occasions. Secondly, our co-ownership model, which starts from around A$195,000, brings together up to a maximum of four international co-owners providing each co-owner with flexible and almost unlimited use of a yacht up to four times the value than their own personal budget permits. Lastly, we offer existing luxury motor yacht owners a complete management and first class concierge service, including the opportunity to generate consistent and highly secure income via our club membership program tailored around their specific usage requirements, as opposed to chartering yachts to unfamiliar and in many cases unknown people.
Tell me a little about the concept behind SmartYacht…
Our goal is simply to make luxury motor yachting more enjoyable, less stressful, more affordable, to reduce each co-owners ecological footprint by sharing our earth’s precious resources, and importantly provide the best value possible for any yachting aficionado. The concept of bringing together a small exclusive group of international clients means each will get anything from six weeks guaranteed use each year to unlimited use for co-owners made up of long term and short term bookings. Our clients will get at least four times the value for their budget, i.e. larger, more luxurious, and [with] better performance. Additionally, if co-owners opt into our multi-yacht, multi-location program they will gain access to yachts at multiple locations around the globe, providing them with an all-year-round yachting season. We want our clients to only concern themselves with stepping aboard and enjoying their precious vacation time, they simply have to decide where to go and where to drop anchor and we’ll take care of the rest.
What is the difference between co-ownership and membership?
We are proud of the fact that after seven years experience managing co-owned yachts around the globe SmartYacht has developed the most exciting yacht club in the world – with luxury yachts included. In the basic version, the vacation club membership, a member has access and the right to use a particular yacht class at two different global locations for eighteen weeks over a three-year period. However, our “Top 100 World Membership” provides access to all yachts in all classes on every SmartYacht service point in the world, including a first class concierge service that opens almost every door with a click of the fingers. Club members have no obligations or fixed costs. They only pay a fair share of the operational costs of the yacht used for the period they are on board.
The (co-) ownership model guarantees full ownership of a particular vessel to a single owner or a group of two, three or four co-owners. All co-owners of a particular yacht will come from different countries, and in some cases continents, ensuring as few overlaps as is possible in the annual holiday schedule. Our goal is to ensure no conflict of usage interest and subject to all co-owners agreement we pre-determine at entry into contract specific must have dates for each co-owner guaranteeing access rights to specific periods until a particular share or the yacht is sold.
Every single owner is automatically a Top 100 World Club Member and also has access to all other yachts around the globe in the multi-yacht, multi-location program. Given we have and will continue to expand an international fleet, we offer an all-year-round season; far more than a common single-yacht ownership can ever provide.
Where are your yachts located around the world?
Currently the yachts are located around the hot spots in the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf (Dubai), Seychelles, and Caribbean but we are currently planning to expand to other global hot spots in the USA, Asia and Australia.
What kind of services can members expect when on-board the yacht?
Members can expect luxury yachts in pristine condition, fully equipped with modern navigation tools, cleaned prior to each visit like one would expect from a five-star hotel, complete with fresh bedding and towels. However, we differ from our competitors in that our club members and co-owners can determine the level of service they desire via our first-class concierge service. We offer smaller sport yachts for people who prefer to pilot a yacht themselves, whilst our executive and luxury-class yachts come with a captain and are either already fully crewed or can be subject to clients specific requirements, i.e. stewardesses, deckhands, and cooks. All SmartYacht crew are trained to the highest levels of service as one would expect on a luxury cruise liner. Besides our typical first class services our Top 100 World Members can expect a full concierge service, including limousine airport transfers, tickets for events such as opera, concerts, film festivals, restaurant bookings, berths in hot spot guest Marinas, and will be invited to join us and our owners for international networking opportunities at special events like the Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
What yacht brands and models are in your fleet and how many are there?
Our co-owners advise us what their preferred or must have brand, type, and size of yacht is and we seek other co-owners who have the same exact requirements. However, given our large database of prospective international clients we also try to best match likeminded co-owners and offer the best and most closely matching immediately available alternatives. For co-owners who are new to the world of luxury yachting we can also provide expert advice based on budget, number of guests they wish to have aboard, and the kind of cruising they would like to do, i.e. long or short distance cruising. However, we always recommend that our clients purchase only well known brands of the highest quality in both design and construction, e.g. Sunseeker, Ferretti, Princess, Azimut, to name but a few. These brands represent the majority of yachts we currently have in the fleet and we are continually expanding the fleet as we attract more and more co-owners around the world.
SmartYacht claims to provide yacht ownership at one third of the price. How is this possible? Could you explain the financial benefits?
Our concept is actually not designed to save money - we are not a savings bank - except that with one-third co-ownership you get one-third of the ongoing costs of maintenance, crew, mooring, and management but more importantly our clients have access to a yacht three-times the value, i.e. size, performance, quality, and luxury, access to yachts at multiple destinations within the fleet, first class concierge services, complete management from purchase to sale, and offering ownership, co-ownership, or club membership with no hassles. Every client has to determine their budget and we can tailor an unbeatable value service package for them, surpassing that which would be available should they wish to purchase alone.
Is club membership a lifetime commitment? Can you sell your share if you choose to opt out?
Club memberships have a limited three-year lifespan, with a one-year extension option and can be renewed periodically. All co-owners are fully independent and can sell their share at any time they want and we will assist them to expedite this process to the best of our ability should this situation arise. We are also able to provide our co-owners with part financing with a buy back guarantee after a certain period, although we are certain that once you have experienced yacht ownership or club membership with SmartYacht you will not be leaving us for some time!