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The legacy of a Legend: Nobiskrug’s 92m superyacht Tatoosh
September 2022

The legacy of a Legend: Nobiskrug’s 92m superyacht TatooshThe yacht that launched both a shipyard and contemporary yachting

The turn of the millennium marked a pivotal moment in the history and heritage of superyacht design. It was a period when a swath of groundbreaking models were delivered and precisely in those few years that wrapped the moment we moved into the 21st Century. Nobiskrug’s 92-metre superyacht Tatoosh is one of the giants that stands proud as a definition of change – and has only grown in prestige since her launch. Her delivery was monumental not only for her builder Nobiskrug, which rebranded itself following Tatoosh as a leading superyacht builder, but for superyacht design more generally.

With Tatoosh now back on the market, SuperYacht Times caught up with Stuart Larsen of Fraser Yachts and Matt Emerson of Burgess who are co-representing her. Having sold her to her current owner, Larsen remembered the project well.

Nobiskrug delivered Tatoosh in 2000, during an era where we flirted with dial-up modems and became aware just how impactful the internet would be in shaping the future. A collection of tech entrepreneurs was driving this future and, more aware than most of how technology would enable them to spend time almost anywhere and continue to be productive, were in search of new frontiers. Many of them turned to superyachts which, thanks to IT, enabled them to combine work, adventure and entertainment. The first wave of US tech moguls were not only new clients to the industry but came with a series of ideas, demands and the finance to drive them. It was the dawn of a new era of superyachts.

One such client and his project manager Claus Kusch approached Nobiskrug – the German shipbuilder with a century worth of boat building under its belt – to construct a custom-built superyacht. This was a pivotal moment for Nobiskrug as, until this order, the yard had only built commercial and cruise vessels; Tatoosh was its inaugural entry into the superyacht sector. It was a large vote of confidence from the owner, but Nobiskrug’s vast portfolio was enough for him to entrust them to build one of the world’s largest superyachts.

“A lot was vested in her success,” Stuart Larsen reflected. “Nobiskrug was a skilled commercial shipyard interested in a new market. They started big and built on that experience gaining a reputation for full-custom new constructions and ingenious building methods. But Tatoosh was instrumental to that process.”

“Claus Kusch, Tatoosh’s exterior designer, was also absolutely pivotal to the project,” Larsen continued. “Kusch pioneered some of the most ground-breaking yachts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. So, when the client decided to build a yacht, he went straight to Kusch. Claus was hugely experienced, a tough negotiator, chain smoker and workaholic, client-centric and absolutely brilliant.”

“Nobiskrug had the skills, expertise and organization but needed an interface, someone who could guide them through transition to the new yachting market. Claus Kusch was an inspired choice – although he also rode the yard very hard. He excelled at managing the armies of skilled subcontractors, which are part and parcel of all yacht construction, yard and he knew yachting. Nobiskrug got the best of both worlds.” Kusch was a naval architect and project manager by trade but brought a unique approach to his craft. What raised Kusch above a number of his contemporaries, Larsen and Emerson agreed, is that he “would design a yacht from the initial concept, including naval architecture and styling, and then go on to manage the project to the end of the warranty period. Kusch yachts were 100 percent custom made.”

Tatoosh, of course, is testament to this. But then so also is the classic 48-metreLady Georgina (ex Katalina) by Amels, which he oversaw the project management of in the early 1980s. The 75-metre superyacht Meserret III (ex Leander G) by Peene-Werft GmbH, delivered in 1992, was another Kusch-designed predecessor of Tatoosh. Notably this was a similar story to Tatoosh, as Peene-Werft GmbH was a commercial shipyard that worked with Kusch on its first superyacht project. However, unlike Nobiskrug, Leander G was the yard’s first and last new-build superyacht project before it was acquired by Lürssen in 2013.
During the year 2000 another of Kusch’s designs hit the water, the 112-metre superyacht Le Grand Blue, which had proved instrumental to the construction of Tatoosh. Kusch didn’t just pen the naval architecture of Le Grand Blue though, as her exterior designer, Stefano Pastrovich explained, “The control of the entire construction and management was done not by a shipyard but by one man, Claus Kusch”. LGB didn’t look like a yacht on the outside but she’s 100 percent yacht inside.

Following Tatoosh, Nobiskrug has delivered a further 11 superyachts, including the famed 80-metre superyacht Artefact, and the world’s largest sailing yacht, Sailing Yacht A. The yard currently has two projects in-build, the 70-metre Miza which will be delivered imminently, and the highly anticipated 77-metre  Black Shark, which is slated to hit the water next year. But this whole dynasty is based on the Tatoosh bedrock, which grew from the US tech boom and the conversations that spurred on the construction of this 92-metre superyacht.

“Nobiskrug has embedded much of Claus Kusch’s approach in their DNA,” Emerson explained. “The yard is still ‘known for pushing the boundaries and for not being a mass builder, able to embody the unique vision of the owner combined with innovative ideas and advanced technology’. Tatoosh set new boundaries and Nobiskrug became a serious new player in the yachting industry almost overnight.”

Larsen continued, “This fruitful partnership was not coincidental. The owner who built Tatoosh was very well acquainted with Le Grand Bleu and certainly influenced by her capability and range if not her rougher exterior. When he decided to build, he approached Claus Kusch who was responsible for the naval architecture, exterior design and project management of the new build, including the yard’s selection process.” Kusch worked in collaboration with Studio Yacht, the Rotterdam-based studio, on the exterior design of Tatoosh – the duo worked in unison during later years on the design of the 110-metresuperyacht I Dynasty and the 133-metre  Al Murqab. As was in vogue during the period, Tatoosh was penned with long flowing lines which are punctuated by small windows that run the length of her superstructure and which tighten forward at the helm and pilot station.

“Unlike more recent platform yachts, where the exterior design is often driven by fashion trends, the design of Tatoosh’s exterior (and layout) was driven by function,” Larsen said. “Kusch’s ability lay in blending function and aesthetics to create efficient yet captivating exterior lines. The turn-of-the-century industry and billionaires were tech-driven, the first generation to appreciate the scope of cellular phones and the internet, which gave them an appreciation for capability and purpose over fashion for fashion’s sake. As a result, Totoosh’s exterior has not dated, she has simply become a classic.”

Spanning five decks and boasting 3,229 GT of interior volume, Tatoosh was the largest superyacht, by volume, to be destined for waters outside of the Middle East. A superyacht of such grand statute needs an interior that carries her grace, and the highly acclaimed UK-based Terence Disdale Design studio was enlisted for the job. Tatoosh can accommodate up to 19 guests in 11 guest suites, each brimming with that Disdale charm, while her owner is graced with an ingenious twin-level private apartment that occupies the forward section of the yacht across two decks. The owner is offered the same level of privacy as if the suite spanned a full, single deck; however, by offering a split-levelled space, guests don’t feel overlooked as they can still access all decks, without encroaching on the owner’s privacy or feeling that large sections of the yacht are off limits.

The apartment itself is striking and split into daytime and nighttime areas. The former includes a gym, a private study and a large forward-facing observation lounge designed for family use. While the latter, situated on the main deck, is home to a massage room, two VIP or children’s staterooms and the master suite itself. The suite is full-beam with large windows. The central sleeping area has a small salon starboard and a study portside. Access to the large bathroom can be found through his and her dressing rooms.

“Disdale was at the top of his game and the master of the GA at the turn of the century. Trained by Bannenberg, his ‘beach-house not pent-house’ approach was perfect for 21st century yachting. Disdale focused on ensuring yachts were not only beautiful and elegant but livable and efficient,” Matt Emerson said.

Tatoosh was built for ocean-going cruising and long-distance voyages, and Disdale fed this essence into her design-DNA, ensuring that there’s entertainment for all those onboard. To name but a few, Tatoosh has large swimming pool that doubles-down as a dancefloor when not in use, an impressive screening room decorated in rich, red velvet, a wellness suite that’s spread across a number of decks, an arsenal of tenders (all of which are original) and not one, but two helipads, one of which has a dedicated helicopter spares store, a helicopter refueling station and an approved fire station – allowing the yacht to be used like a small heliport.

It’s not only guests who’ll be aboard for those long voyages though, but also her 31 crew. Disdale ensured that their quarters are also generous and a pleasure to be in. “The standard of finish and materials used is high and all crew areas are in mint condition belaying the yacht’s age,” Emerson added. “Crew quarters were not an afterthought to be squeezed in before the days of stringent classification requirements. And in terms of longevity, Tatoosh current crew complement is a testament to her design.”

While Disdale was busy with bringing the comforts for long-range exploration, Nobiskrug had the challenge of actualizing the demand – and the shipyard went above and beyond. When launched, Tatoosh was one of the quietest yachts afloat and she’s since cruised in waters all around the world (name a place and Tatoosh has been there!). Thanks to twin DEUTZ-MWM diesel engines with Visco Masse rubber mounts, she boasts an impressive 7,000 nautical mile range when cruising at speeds of 12.5 knots.
“The choice of Deutz engines was driven by their proven design which ensures high reliability, long engine life and extra-long TBO’s. Maintenance work is required only after many operating hours and can be done quickly without extended downtime. Low fuel consumption makes for low operating costs and low exhaust emissions make for a cleaner environment,” Emerson explained.

Tatoosh has been meticulously maintained and systematically upgraded and refitted over the years, her most recent appointment was an extensive 12-month refit with Kusch Yachts in Germany, completed April last year. Some of the highlights of the works include a 20-year Lloyds Class Survey, a full repaint of both the hull and superstructure, a plethora of mechanical services and the refurbishment of the crew areas. Tatoosh also had a new Audio-Visual system installed and her tenders were serviced and repainted.

“Today, after 20 years of exploration yachts getting more and more hype and exposure, we forget how extraordinary Tatoosh was when she was delivered in 2000,” Larsen concludes. “She not only set a new benchmark for construction, but also opened yachtsmen’s eyes to the boundless possibilities of global exploration prompting them to rethink how they wanted to use and build their yachts. She marks the beginning of contemporary expeditionary yachting, and her influence is still felt 20 years later.”

Tatoosh is on the market, listed with Stuart Larsen of Fraser Yachts and Matt Emerson of Burgess acting as co-central agents. She’ll be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show 2022.
By Alexander Griffiths
August 2022

NEW CENTRAL AGENCY: FOUR JACKSInstantly recognizable with sleek lines, exceptional seakeeping and a distinctive open deck layout, FOUR JACKS is the ultimate summer sports yacht

Stuart is pleased to announce the Central Agency for the sale of 45m I 150’ FOUR JACKS. Described as “a breath of fresh air in a sea of sameness” when she was launched, Four Jacks still stands out today. Nuvolari Lenard outdid themselves and were certainly ahead of the curve when they designed the semi-custom 150 Sports Yacht for Palmer Johnson in 2008. In addition to her spectacular flowing lines, the open deck concept without a transom revolutionized the yachting experience, literally bringing the sea into the living areas.  Port and starboard balconies on the main deck, a master stateroom on the main deck and an open sky lounge make Four Jacks the perfect summer cruising yacht.

The 45m (150’) Four Jacks was built for speed. Her efficient, deep V hull integrated into the aerodynamic superstructure are in aluminum to ensure performance. Powered by twin MTU engines with 3,650 HP each, FOUR JACKS can reach a top speed of 28 knots and has a 20-knot cruising speed while, at a more leisurely 12 knots, she has a 1,450nm range. She is equipped with stabilizers at anchor and underway for additional comfort.

Designed for outdoor living, FOUR JACKS’s main and sundeck, equipped with large sun-pads as well as dining and conversation areas, are and intelligently laid out. The styling of the open skylounge is reminiscent of automotive design with sleek lines and rounded surfaces painted in a bronze finish. The sundeck features a whirlpool and a gym area that is protected from the sun. There is also a large sun-pad forward on the bow. The flybridge, positioned above the wheelhouse, is set up as an observation area with control stations and guest seating. In addition to the inside/outside living areas, FOUR JACKS has a formal salon with dining on the main deck with fold-down balconies port and starboard and floor to ceiling windows throughout.   

Spacious for 395 gross tons, FOUR JACKS can accommodate 12 guests in five staterooms; two twin and two double on the lower deck in addition to the master on the main deck, all with en suite bathrooms. FOUR JACKS carries 8 crew in five cabins.
FOUR JACKS is Cayman flagged and classed by Lloyds. Although she was built to MCA, she has never been chartered by her original owner.

FOUR JACKS is currently in Palm Beach and the asking price is $15,950,000. SHe is the only 150 SPorts Yacht currently on the market. Contact Stuart at +1 954 328 6553 or for more information. 
May 2022

SAMAX SOLD 55m I 180' Feadship with styling by Andrew Winch

Stuart is pleased to announce the sale of SAMAX, his fifth sale in 2022. The 55m (180’) Feadship, was built at Royal Van Lent in 1996 with naval architecture by De Voogt and exterior styling by Andrew Winch who also designed the well laid out interior. Beautifully maintained by the longstanding crew, the entire yacht has been routinely refurbished but not altered since her delivery.

At 881 GT, SAMAX is very spacious for a 55m yacht and has a flexible layout with two master staterooms, the first forward on the main deck with a forward-facing salon and the second midships on the upper deck, essentially converting this deck into a private owner’s apartment with a private salon aft.

SAMAX accommodates up to 14 guests and, in addition to the two master staterooms, there are six staterooms all with en suite bathrooms on the lower deck for up to 12 guests. Samax also carries up to 16 crew. The well-thought-out layout includes separate entrances and staircases for crew throughout the yacht to ensure discreet service.

All guest decks are all served by an elevator, which is encased within a fireproof glass structure. SAMAX has good sized decks with al fresco dining on the main and bridge decks as well as a formal dining area on the main deck. The sun deck has a hot tub and bar and two tenders are carried aft.

Built in steel with an aluminum superstructure, SAMAX is powered by twin Caterpillar 3516 engines and can steam at an economical cruising speed of approximately 15 knots, giving her a range of around 5000 miles. She can reach a maximum speed of 17 knots.
SAMAX recently completed her 25-year Lloyds class surveys and was asking €17,750,000.
May 2022

SCOUT II SOLDSteady demand in the US for well-maintained yachts

Stuart is pleased to announce the sale of the 40m I 130’ SCOUT II built by the British shipyard Brooke Yachts in 1993. Stuart acted for the seller. SCOUT II is his fourth sale in 2022 and brings his total LOA of yacht’s sold this year to over 200m or 656’.

While the war in Ukraine and consequential sanctions on Russian owners has shaken up the market with fewer large yachts now available for sale or charter, Stuart says demand from the US market has remained upbeat and inventory is still low.

Scout II is one of the first purpose-built exploration yachts. Built to a tough specification and only used privately, her interior, exterior and equipment underwent multi-million-dollar upgrades over the past four years. She was extended by 5m aft and 1m forward. A new mast was installed and the bow was reshaped. All key machinery and systems were either replaced or remanufactured including new zero speed stabilizers, generators and air conditioning. Some interior fabrics and furnishing were replaced with an eye to maintaining the original Disdale style and blue and white color-scheme.

SCOUT II feels larger than her 397 GT.  Thanks to her 9.2m (almost 30’) beam, she has huge outside deck spaces and large interior volume. Her well-laid out interior offers a high degree of privacy with crew and guest areas cleverly separated. There are two Owner’s staterooms on the lower deck, the ideal location for reduced motion, both with showers and tubs. Overall, SCOUT can accommodate nine guests in four ensuite staterooms and can carry up to 9 crew members.

Remarkably stable and seaworthy, SCOUT II has cruised extensively around the globe. Powered by two 507 HP Caterpillar engines, she has a max speed of 11knots and at 9knots her range is 4.200 nm. Scout II was asking USD 9.900,000.

tintin SOLD
April 2022

tintin SOLDThe trend for swift sales continues strong

Stuart is pleased to announce the sale of tintin the 34 m (112’) first offered for sale at PBIBS. Her rapid sale confirms the ongoing enthusiasm for quality inventory in the 30m to 40m market segment.  This is Stuart’s third sale in 2022.

tintin is the newest of the new W 112’ series. Her exterior design and styling are by Westport that also completed the naval architecture and interior layout.  Delivered in 2021, tintin is literally better than new.

In addition to interesting design features including the fiberglass composite hull, superstructure and shallow draft which make for increased speed, fuel-efficiency and low maintenance, tintin has a crisp, retro-minimalist interior custom designed by the in-house Westport Design team with detailed input from very knowledgeable owners.

At 207 GT she is larger than most yachts of similar length and offers excellent living space and outside decks, thanks to her wide beam 23’9” (7.2m).
The décor and layout are enhanced by the natural light from large windows along the superstructure and hull. The white palette with splashes of color includes new surfaces and materials successfully melding interior and exterior areas. Purposely designed for informal living on the water, tintin has an open galley with comfortable seating, a Westport hallmark.

tintin accommodates up to 8 guests in 4 staterooms including the full beam Master and VIP Staterooms on the lower deck and two guest staterooms (one currently equipped as a gym). All have en suite bathrooms.  tintin can carry 5 crew including the captain in crew accommodations in 3 cabins.
Cayman flagged, tintin is powered by twin C32 Acert Caterpillar engines and reaches an impressive top speed of 23.5 knots and cruises at 21.0 knots.
tintin was asking US$17,500,000.
February 2022

NEW CENTRAL AGENCY: CARINTHIA VIIA Tim Heywood masterpiece with a timeless, classic interior

Stuart is pleased to announce the Central listing of the 97m /363’ Carinthia VII built by Lürssen in 2002 and continually maintained by Lurssen Logistics.
Carinthia VII, originally Project Fabergé, features both exterior design and interior layout by Tim Heywood. The naval architecture was developed by Lürssen while her interior was designed by Ellerhorst and Kreuter. She is classified by Germanischer Lloyd’s AG (now DNV) and is Maltese flagged.

Built in steel with an aluminum superstructure, the six-deck Carinthia VII adds up to an impressive 3,643 gross tons. Her clean and uncluttered lines and powerful profile are a masterpiece of elegant understatement. Viewed from a distance, the main deck appears to have no windows but they are in fact concealed by darkened glass with black frames which are only visible close up. The deep blue color of the hull, which became known as ‘Carinthia Blue’, helps create this effect.

Rupert Mann of Rainsford Mann Design summed it up perfectly: “What makes the design of Carinthia VII so successful is the pure and elegant sheer line that draws the eye from the bow to stern so effortlessly. The clever trick of dropping the sheer line one deck down aft, gives her a dynamic and purposeful bow shape forward”.

Equally remarkable is her performance package: powered by four 10,060hp MTU diesel engines she cruises at 22 knots and has a top speed of 26 knots and a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 18 knots.
Carinthia VII was designed as a family yacht and has only been used privately by her original owner. Equipped with a ‘touch and go’ helipad, and a full spa and wellness area opening onto the water, Carinthia VII also has exceptional  deck spaces surrounded by glass bulwarks that not only protect from the wind but offer magnificent views over the water.

Carinthia VII can accommodate up to 14 guests in eight luxurious staterooms.  She has a separate owner’s deck with a private drawing room, VIP stateroom and a beauty parlor as well as six staterooms on the main deck and carries 40 crew on two deck levels.

Carinthia VII is in immaculate condition having completed her 20-year surveys in March 2022.  Contact Stuart at +1 954 328 6553 or for more information. 
March 2022

PLAYPEN SOLDStuart’s second sale in 2022 with demand remaining stable

Stuart is pleased to announce the sale of the 43m I 142’ tri-deck Playpen delivered by the Canadian shipyard Richmond Yachts in 2007. Richmond Yachts is known for its high quality semi-custom fiberglass superyachts, with recognizable classical silhouettes and traditional nautical interiors.

Built entirely in GRP, the naval architecture and exterior design are by Setzer Design known for their ocean-going and "bluewater-ready” yachts with good sea-keeping ability. A proven world cruiser – she recently completed a world circumnavigation, PLAYPEN’s shallow draft allows her to cruise in almost any location.

The design is a careful balance between contemporary and classic style ensuring PLAYPEN continues to be appealing more than a decade after her launch. The spacious interior is by Sean Pavlik who maximized interior volumes making PLAYPEN feel more like a 50m yacht.

PLAYPEN has been maintained in pristine condition thanks to recent upgrades to the electronics, engineering systems and furnishings. She was fully repainted in 2019 and completed her ABS 15-year survey in 2021 including the generators rebuild.

PLAYPEN features five generously-sized staterooms including a full-beam master suite on the main deck, two doubles and two twins comfortably accommodating up to 12 guests. All staterooms are finished with high-gloss wood and burl paneling. PLAYPEN can carry 8 crew accommodated in four cabins.

Powered by twin Caterpillar C32 engines, Playpen cruises at 12 knots with a max. speed of 17 knots. At 11 knots she has a range of 3,000 nautical miles. She is also fitted with Quantum zero speed stabilizers for comfort at sea and in port.
PLAYPEN was asking USD 13,500,000.
March 2022

NEW CENTRAL AGENCY: tintin, WESTPORT 112'Better than new and immediately available

Stuart is pleased to announce the Central Agency for the 34 m (112’) tri-deck tintin, built in 2021 by Westport. tintin is literally better than new and available without the long wait. Her exterior design and styling are by Westport who also completed the naval architecture and interior layout.
tintin is the newest of the new W 112’ series. The fiberglass composite hull and superstructure make her a fast and fuel-efficient yacht. The non-corrosive composite construction requires less maintenance and maximizes comfort and performance, including excellent sound reduction and thermal insulation.
Thanks to her shallow draft, efficient hull shape and twin C32 Acert Caterpillar engines, tintin reaches an impressive top speed of 23.5 knots and cruises at 21 knots.

tintin has a crisp, retro-minimalist interior custom designed by the in-house Westport Design team with detailed input from very knowledgeable owners. The wide 23’9” (7.2m) beam dramatically increases the living spaces in the guest and outside deck areas. The décor and layout are enhanced by the natural light from large windows along the superstructure and hull. The white palette with splashes of color includes new surfaces and materials successfully melding interior and exterior areas. At 207 GT she is larger than most yachts of similar length.

The open galley, a Westport hallmark, with comfortable seating at the bar or on the settee. Large windows either side with a sky light above help create an informal environment. Overall, tintin’s layout for onboard operations and crew service is very well designed.
tintin has great exterior deck spaces, including a huge area on the sundeck aft of the raised pilothouse with hot tub and relaxation area. ‘Al fresco’ dining is on the main deck aft which also has a bar for informal eating or drinks.

tintin accommodates up to 8 guests in 4 staterooms including the full beam Master and VIP Staterooms on the lower deck and two guest staterooms (one currently equipped as a gym). All have en suite bathrooms.  tintin can carry 5 crew including the captain in crew accommodations in 3 cabins.

Beautifully maintained and immediately available., tintin is one of the best equipped and spacious yachts in her class on the market today. Asking US$17,500,000, tintin can be viewed by appointment in South Florida. For more information, contact Stuart at or +1 954 328 6553.
January 2022

HAS THE BROKERAGE MARKET PEAKED?Stuart Larsen on an exceptional year, the evolution of the market and his predictions for 2022

Stuart Larsen of Fraser Yachts has had a record year by anyones standards, with some of the most expensive superyacht sales having his name sealing the deal. SYT's Francesca Webster caught up with Stuart to find out a little more about his predictions for 2022, his life as a yacht broker and his recipe for success

How did you enter the world of yacht brokerage, can you give a bit of an overview of your career?
I fell into yachting by chance, like most of my peers. After graduating from law school in New Zealand, I took a year off to travel. I had a scholarship to Harvard University but I wanted to see a bit more of the world before getting serious about what I thought would be a legal career.  The era of cheap travel hadn’t arrived yet and Kiwis didn’t travel as much as they can now but, regardless, off I went.

After spending a brutally cold Christmas in New York, I travelled to Florida in search of the sun, something more like Christmas at home. Funds were running low and having done a lot of competitive sailing in New Zealand, I easily got work and accommodation on a boat in Fort Lauderdale.

Of course, with my Kiwi accent I met many people in the yachting business and made friends with a well-established yacht broker who had just started his own company. He decided he wanted to take me under his wing and offered me a sales position in his company. I didn’t know anything about brokerage, let alone that it could be a viable business, but I wanted to find out more. It certainly seemed more exciting than more law books. It was – and I  have never looked back.

I joined Fraser Yachts in 1980 and have been with the company for my entire career, through five different ownerships. My parents, of course, were horrified. I do not think my father forgave me until I sold the new build project for Octopus almost twenty years later! He still wanted me to be a lawyer………….. 

How do you see the industry has changed during your years as a broker?
Apart from the obvious - the size, length and number of yachts and cruising grounds have increased significantly – the more interesting changes are less evident.  

It was the early days of the internet and I was lucky to count among my many clients a number of first-generation IT and tech entrepreneurs whose innovations literally changed the way we live. They were curious, creative, technically minded and fascinated by the natural world. Communications and IT meant that they were no longer tied to their desks. Now it was possible to travel and explore while still keeping tabs on business. The yachts they bought and built reflected their spirit of innovation and technical boldness. For example, Octopus with her integrated dock, dual helicopter landing pads and submarine, the tender capability of Tatoosh – Senses, Skat and many others, all come to mind. At the time, barring ships for warfare and rockets for space, yachts were the most sophisticated and complex craft man could devise.

The industry as a whole is just catching up now: helicopters, large tenders, spas and beach clubs, even submarines on the larger yachts, are more commonplace. But there is a key difference. The design used to be driven by the function, today most yachts are designer yachts, where design for design’s sake overshadows the functionality. There are a few recent, glorious exceptions - Artefact springs to mind, a rare combination of a visionary project, managed by a talented captain supported by a creative, design team and a yard willing and able to innovate technically.
The past twenty years has also seen the rise of production and semi-production yachts. They are more standardised since they need to appeal to a larger market segment. They take less time to build and the yard can manage the projects more efficiently – there are fewer problems to solve, less issues to go wrong. While the demand for custom yachts continues, only a handful of yards have the know-how or interest to build anything custom, bigger than 80 metres. But now we see the market maturing with yards focused on guiding demand and creating, rather than following, trends.

What are the biggest challenges brokers face in such a competitive market?
I don’t think the key challenges have changed over the years. Numbers have increased so there is more inventory to get to grips with. New yards have sprung up globally so it’s more difficult to track every new project. The internet has helped manage the overload and tools like the MLS systems have become invaluable but they are no substitutes for hard earned knowledge and experience. There are too many brokers who think it’s an easy and glamorous business. Everyone is ready to talk the talk but much fewer are willing to walk the walk. There are only a handful of companies that can offer clients proper advice, service and guidance and I am astounded at the lack of knowledge some brokers have when dealing with yachts over $20 million. I sometimes ask myself if I was a buyer or a seller, would I entrust my $20 million business to that person………….

But, essentially the role of a broker hasn’t changed over the years. The challenge is doing it right. We all talk about so-so having sold this or that yacht. A broker doesn’t sell a yacht; his (or her) job is to make the sale happen. This is achieved by smoothing out all the snags, hitches (and ruffled feathers and egos) that are part and parcel of every sale. Personalities are large, the stakes are larger and all parties want to be the winner. The aim is to enable the parties to reach an agreement that all can live with. This means having a clear idea of the outcome you need to reach and managing each step of the process. It is time consuming, requires a lot of thought, idea tossing, fine tuning and creativity. It’s a long-haul journey. Interestingly, while we have a lot more tools, they don’t necessarily make the job of a dealmaker easier. Like building a yacht - you can’t compress the process, it requires time, attention, a good blueprint, a shared road map and a thorough understanding of the yacht sale process in order to arrive at a closing.

You have had an exceptional year, with some major sales. What do you think are the secrets to success in the big boat market?
I am still surprised when I look at the numbers. I sold 14 yachts in 2021 which translates into more than three quarters of a billion dollars and over 800 metres (2,624’) in length. In terms of gross tonnage, the total volume of yachts I have sold is equivalent to the gross tonnage of forty-five 50 metre yachts!
More importantly, I have acted for young, first-time buyers as well as for clients I first dealt with 30 years ago. It has also been a great privilege to be asked to represent yachts Iike Skat and Octopus which I originally sold as new build projects, in addition to the other 12 sales this year. 

The secret? Well, experience and business acumen are essential. Working with a well-respected company with an international presence is also important since our clientele is global. Marketing plays an increasingly central role, all the more so during the pandemic when buyers were not always able to visit a yacht in person.  Really it still all boils down to knowing your business, saying it how it is and building up trust.

What do you think 2022 holds for the yachting industry?
The 2021 boom was unexpected. I think most companies were bracing for a downturn, even as bad as the GFC. The onset of the pandemic was so fast there was no time to think things through and certainly no historical map to guide us.

Then, all of a sudden business picked up rather than falling off a cliff like we anticipated. It was an eye opener until we realised that yachting provided an escape from the constraints of social distancing and lockdowns. Coupled with a booming stock market and the availability of cheap money, the yachting market simply exploded. However, the sheer size of the surge in demand was astonishing, both in brokerage and new construction. I don’t think 2022 can be such an extraordinary year.

Good brokerage inventory is short, shipyards are full and, in many cases, over-extended. Some are not even contemplating discussions, let alone commitments with clients for new builds until their backlogs subside. A repeat of 2021 in sales is not feasible but, overall, the yachting market will remain upbeat as the inventory works its way through the various stages of ownership.  Interest in yachting will almost certainly remain high since the impact of the pandemic is going to be with us for a long time. Barring, of course, an increase in the cost of money or a significant slow-down of economic recovery impacting asset markets, yacht sales and prices should hold steady or firm up some more.

To date, the surge in numbers and asking prices should provide a springboard for new investment in greener, more sustainable solutions. Younger owners are more attuned to environmental issues and likely more willing to pay a premium for effective solutions, but green has a long way to go to become mainstream.

On the downside, there has been a lot of over-promising from many builders. We need to be ready for some disappointing and late deliveries from some yards, driven by not only Covid slowdowns but ongoing supply chain issues and some shipyards’ inabilities to scale-up fast enough and reorganise workforces to the new levels that are now needed.
November 2021

SKAT SOLDStill ground-breaking after all these years…

Stuart is pleased to announce the sale of SKAT, his 13th sale in 2021. Stuart acted for the buyer and the seller.
In my view SKAT was one of the most exciting yachts on the market this year. – said Stuart – “She was extraordinarily well built, impeccably maintained, and her layout and design are innovative and elegant. Her enduring appeal was confirmed by the extraordinary interest shown by buyers during the Monaco Yacht Show”.

What makes SKAT so unique is the seamless continuity between her exterior and interior in terms of design, layout and décor. Functionality sets the tone since living in comfort at sea, in hot and cold climates, was a key priority. The exterior is essentially a succession of flat surfaces, the only curve is the striking sweep of the bow. The grey paintwork highlights SKAT’s uncompromising lines.

The interior is as essential as the exterior. Built for comfort rather than show, the elegant, minimalistic interior by Marco Zanini looks as modern today as when SKAT was built. There are no superfluous lines or decoration. The construction brief called for as much natural light as possible. The glass conservatory on the bridge deck allows natural light to come in from above and below so one really has the feeling of living on the water. In order to optimize space, and cater for work and play, the layout is designed to be flexible: the dining room doubles as a meeting room, the main salon as a cinema, even the elevator can be used as a dumb waiter, with custom shelving popping out for dinner plates, when guests are seated for dinner.
In terms of performance, SKAT sets equally high standards.  She is one of the quietest yachts afloat. The floating floors are fixed on shock mounts to eliminate all vibration and, while cruising at 14.3 knots, 45dbA was recorded in the salons and 34dbA in the Owner’s stateroom. Two big, stainless steel-encapsulated exhaust systems reduce exhaust noise to barely audible levels.

SKAT is heli capable and can land and carry an EC135 or Agusta 109 in private use. The equipment to refuel and maintain the helicopter is located in the raised helipad which can be made ready for landing or departures in minutes.
Three years into the project, her naval architect, Espen Øino summed up the entire build team’s feelings by saying “SKAT is a yacht like no other”. This continues to be true almost 20 years later.
SKAT was asking Euro 49.5m.
© STUART LARSEN 2024 & Administration identification GEMEA Interactive