The nuances in yacht owner profiles can have a massive impact on the legal framework surrounding ownership, but during the life cycle of a yacht whether a new build or during its operation also needs skilful advice from those in the know
he need for expert advice surrounding the overall ownership of a yacht has never been more important. Yachts are getting larger and therefore the amounts of money involved in the life cycle of a yacht are on the
Ownership is also on the rise and whether private or commercial, the ownership structures and overall running costs are becoming more complicated but luckily the industry has teams of legal experts on hand to make sure all the ‘T’s’ are crossed and the ‘I’s’ are dotted. ONBOARD has hunted down the specialists in this field to ask them about the most common questions they are asked by those involved in the purchase and overall running of a superyacht. The list of questions is long and diverse and very dependent on who the initial question comes from.
Dominic Bulfin, Director at Bargate Murray confirms this, “As advisors to many superyacht owners and yards, we field a very diverse range of queries day to day. These might include queries relating to charter itineraries, crew issues and general operational support. Repair/refit is always a regular topic with many of our clients’ yachts undertaking some form of yard period most years as well as the more major periodic survey works. Of course the escalation of the war in Ukraine this year has given rise to a significant number of queries and concerns from clients of all nationalities.”
As previously mentioned, yacht ownership is on the rise and this is confirmed by Edouard Mousny, Partner at Gordon S. Blair, “Over the past twelve months, the most noticeable yacht market trend feature lies in the increase in the demand for the new build or second-hand superyachts due to the rise of High-Net-Worth Individuals and their increasing preference or predisposition to own such yachts for leisure and recreational activities or engaging in luxury tailored tourism.”
Naturally a hot topic at the moment is the impact of the Russian sanction. Partner at HFW, Jay Tooker amplifies this point, “A particular focus has been the way sanctions have affected EU shipyards building yachts for Russian customers. The contracts were signed perfectly legally before the Russian invasion but delivery of these yachts is now prohibited under EU regulations (although the interpretation differs somewhat between northern and southern member states). It is questionable whether these regulations are hitting the real target. Obviously, oligarchs with connections to the Putin regime should be and are being prevented from enjoying their spoils; but shipyards are also suffering as their production lines are blocked and their working capital is tied-up in yachts that they cannot deliver, and these shipyards have hundreds of employees most of whom have families. It’s a difficult balance.”
The intricacies of purchasing a second-hand boat are probably more complicated than one initially thinks. This is highlighted by Martin Malinowski, founder and partner of Upwind Legal and is a large part of their advice to clients, he expands on this with a recent case study.