The Gentleman’s Journal guide to buying your first yacht

If you’re looking to weigh anchor for the first time, here are some top tips from the best brokers in the business

So you’ve made your first millions. You broke seven figures a couple of years back, and have added the ‘multi’ to your ‘millionaire’ since then. Now, you’re left wanting for nothing. You’ve bought a decadent pile, a luxury motor and can think of no other ways to push the boat out. Well how about literally? Maybe it’s time to turn your attention — and hefty bank account — to the task of buying your first yacht.

We spoke to the best brokers at Edmiston and Burgess to discover what you should be looking for in a vessel, and to ensure you don’t get caught off-guard by headwinds of knotty negotiation and indecision.

Charter before you buy

Inception that can be chartered through Edmiston today

“Try before you buy,” is the key, according to Charles Carveles, sales broker at Edmiston. “You have the option to try different shapes and sizes, different shipyards, and different features from helipads, to beach clubs, and different cabin layouts.”

It’s a tack that Matt Pinckney, sales broker for Burgess, agrees with. “Charter definitely gives experiences that will help educate you with regards to what different yachts and their crews are capable of.”

So, while you may not own the boat you’re aboard, chartering a selection of yachts is the best way to get a taste of what’s available and figure out what you like. Depending on what fits your lifestyle, this might add anything from a beach club to a helipad to your list of dream yacht must-haves.

Know what you can get for your money


Buying a yacht isn’t like picking up a suit or pair of shoes. There are many price brackets available — and what you can get for your money can differ wildly. It pays, then, to have an open and frank discussion with your broker about how to get the most for your money. And, although it may temper your excitement to talk about it now, it’ll also benefit you later down the line if you decide to sell.

One factor that causes variation in price is age. “You can have a 20-year-old boat that was £10 million brand new, that is now just £1 million,” says Carveles, who goes on to reveal that £1 or £2 million today will typically get you “something like a well-looked after 20 or 30 metre Sunseeker such as GEORGINA, the 28 metre that I currently have listed for sale.”


But what if you have a little more spare cash to splash — say, around £5 – £10 million? “You can expect to get into the 40 metre range,” says Carveles, “and, if you are advised well, you could find a good deal on something that offers good build pedigree and good space for a family.”

Of course, for those lucky enough to have over £10 million to spend, you may think the sky is the limit. And, to an extent, you’d be right. “You can, essentially, start looking at all shapes and sizes,” reveals Carveles. “For example, the 50 metre SEPTIMUS is for sale at €23.250 million, and probably one of the best all-round packages on the market.”

Buy pre-owned to take advantage of better prices

Galileo G

If you’re looking to get a great deal on your first yacht, then Matt Pinckney of Burgess Yachts suggests opting for a pre-owned vessel. “You can take advantage of asset depreciation as well as being able to get on the water fairly quickly,” he adds. However, the broker also recommends seeking expert advice when buying pre-owned; “Yachts from certain builders hold their value better than others,” he reveals.

If you do go pre-owned, you can expect the process to take anywhere between 1 to 3 months before you can push off for the first time. And, with in- and out-of-water surveys to complete, as well as all the legal paperwork, having a good lawyer and trustworthy surveyor can really cut down this red tape-cutting.

Bring your dream to life with a custom build

If you want an extremely high level of customisation and you don’t mind waiting, then designing and building your own yacht is the only way to go. “It can also be an amazing process, seeing a yacht develop from a concept in a design studio to a floating asset for you and your family to enjoy” says Edmiston’s Carveles.

But be ready for the price to go up, as many optional extras will do more damage to the final cost than others. According to Pinckney, it’s all about the complexity of these extras. “Large pools, folding hydraulic hull shell doors and the use of curved glass in large amounts will all up the final figure,” he advises.

Go to a yacht show — with a good broker in tow

A yacht show will likely be the best place to get a feel for the wide variety of yachts and specifications on offer, says Pinckney — who also points out that it is a great way to save time as all the yachts will be moored in the same place.

But, having so many options can leave your head swimming, so Carveles recommends you take your broker with you so an experienced eye can cut through the flotsam and find exactly what you’re after.

Now check out the 8 best sail yachts to blow you away this summer…

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