How to choose a shipyard to build a new yacht?

There are many considerations to integrate when selecting a shipyard for a particular project and a particular client. At TWW, we do believe that all builders, regardless of their intrinsic strengths and assets, aren’t right for all clients. As in any encounter, the match is of paramount importance.

Technical

The nature of the project, its size, complexity and the technology involved does determine to a large extent the choice of the shipyard. For example, an advanced sailing yacht project will narrow down the list of potential builders to a few names worldwide.

Marketing

The brand of the future yacht can be an important criterion for many owners. Both, because of the prestige and the quality standards attached to it and for the yacht’s foreseeable resale value it promotes.

Financial considerations

The builder’s price positioning is an important factor to many owners, as is the shipyard’s financial strength (the industry has seen several projects – too many actually –that have suffered from a builder’s financial struggles) along with the bank or other forms of guarantees it can provide to the yacht’s owner.

Timing considerations

Builders with a healthy order book may not always have a build slot consistent with the owner’s expectations in terms of timing. As an example, I am currently involved in a project where the choice of the builder is precisely largely determined by its commitment to deliver in a relatively short time. The ability by a builder to invest in semi-custom, “speculative” yacht projects (as seen routinely in Italy and Holland for example) can be a highly desirable asset.

Emotional considerations

Last but not least, a yacht project is often guided by considerations other than the rational factors previously mentioned. Not only a builder’s brand, but the builder’s management and team, the chemistry with an owner and his own team do make a difference in the end. Our industry trades in emotions and dreams, as well as trust and building a yacht, is – or perhaps should be – a labour of love as much as one of business.

This article was written by Jean Claude Carme, a TWW Yachts broker specialized in new construction. He oversaw the build of multiple yachts over 50m, including recently the 64m Atomic.

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