Gemstone Quality

I. Gemstone Quality

A client recently asked me if The Fog Warning had a specific theme. I quickly said: “Sure! On any given day I write about whatever yachts I like.”

But thinking about it later, that seemed just a little shallow. With this new year approaching us, and excited by some improvements you may have noticed to The Fog Warning’s format, I thought a deeper look might help me craft more useful posts for you going forward. So I went back and read the entire Fog Warning in one sitting, and then went on to do the same on my earlier blog, The Vicem Report. Then I spent a long day in front of my fireplace, tying up trout flies for next season. I tell people that’s how and where I do my best thinking! Two dozen of these later ….

#18 Beaded Pheasant tail

… I had my answer: The unifying theme that underlies all that The Fog Warning does is simple. It just seeks meaningful answers to these eternal questions:

What makes a yacht great, and why?

Who makes a great yacht, and how?

My plan for 2018 and beyond is to stick closely to this theme. It goes without saying, but I will say it –   I appreciate you coming along on the ride with me.

While it is not absolutely true, I realized the majority of the yachts I have written about are custom-built. There is a level of care in their design and build (not to mention the level of obsession with which they are dreamed up), that promotes real and enduring quality. Which brings me today to my latest listing:

Truant, this stunning Vicem 70 Flybridge, is available for your inspection in Connecticut. She is marvelous in every regard, but speaking as a Vicem specialist who has been aboard almost every one ever built, the design choices that went into Truant’s custom interior are unmatched by anyone, anywhere. Check these examples out:

I will have some new and terrific videos for you soon.

I was honored to devote eighteen months of my life to Truant’s design and build. Her first owner had a very clear vision of what he wanted. He loved the richness that mahogany offers, but worried that on cloudy days the effect could get a little dark. He told Vicem the entire approach to his interior should be guided by a single word:  “Effervescence” (it took awhile to translate that accurately into Turkish). So her interior became the first entirely high-gloss yacht they ever built. That got them close to the owner’s goals. But it was the stone choices that put them over the top:

The counter tops are made from a rare, gem-stone quality surface called Aphrodite Granite. It is quarried out of a single mine in Madagascar. It has a rare, emerald-like luminescence that is impossible to appreciate in photos. But in person, it almost glows in the dark. As you might imagine, it is rare, and expensive. Trust me, a stone large enough for Truant’s galley was even rarer, and more expensive. Her owner and I travelled through Europe and the US together to find just the right piece, in the right size. In the end it cost about what a new small center console fishing boat costs these days. When you see it, I think you’ll agree it was worth every penny.

In the years since she first splashed,  I have looked far and wide for other yachts that chose Aphrodite.  I found only one, on a large Moonen in Dubai. This makes Truant virtually a one-of-a-kind kind of yacht. You can find more details under my Brokerage tab, above, and on The Fog Warning’s new Yachtworld site, at Yachtworld

Please call me to schedule your own appraisal.

II. Love Me Tender

I walked more than a few miles of docks in Fort Lauderdale and Miami earlier this week. I was struck by the diversity of approaches to tender storage. I was reminded of many client conversations over the years about storing tenders on their custom builds. My answer has always been:

All solutions suck. Pick the one that sucks least for you! 

As an example, feel free to take a look at the yachts I have listed under The Fog Warning’s Brokerage Yachts tab, above. You’ll see an interesting range of tender solutions. I’ll take you through my personal and subjective pro’s and con’s.

A. Flybridge Mounted

First, some photos of Mahogany Rose, my Vicem 67 listing. It’s the owner’s second custom Vicem. He has an engineering bent, and that comes through in many of this yacht’s uniquely functional features. You’ll see here that her tender is flybridge-mounted.

As I see it, a flybridge mount provides these advantages:

  • It’s completely out of the way. The aft area of the extended flybridge is rarely used in a yacht of this size. There is very little impact to the owner’s entertaining plans.
  • The tender is easy to secure and cover.
  • The tender is twenty feet forward and twenty feet above any following sea. Or any following seas I want to see!
  • The added weight is in a good place, fore and aft. Trim tabs can always push the bow down, if needed, but they can’t add any additional rise.
  • It provides a wonderful “motor yacht” look.

The disadvantages?

  • In a roily harbor, without zero-speed stabilizers or a Seakeeper, launching and retrieving by crane on a rolling boat can take a couple of people to do safely.
  • That much weight up high will affect rolling motion, to some degree. The heavier the boat, the less a consideration this is.
  • The support post for the crane has to run down to the keel of the boat. Good designs run this post through closets and behind bulkheads to hide it (don’t get me started on bad designs). But no one likes to give up valuable closet space.
  • If you are berthed in a narrow slip, there’s no room to load or offload the tender until you pull out.
  • Crane’s are hydraulically powered by a PTO from your main engines. If your engines won’t start, neither will your crane. This is why a liferaft is the best solution to real security offshore.

B. Transom Mounted

Keeping your tender on an hydraulically mounted swim platform is a very common solution. You’ll see that in my Vicem 72 listing:

Or this Vicem 85 listing:

Advantages include:

  • Launching and retrieving is easy, even in a roily harbor, at the touch of a button.
  • The additional weight is in a good spot, if your trim tabs have full play.
  • You can launch and retrieve in any bow-in slip, no matter how tight.
  • Transom hydraulic’s  have a manual crank, so at the very least you can launch the boat if you lose power.

On the other hand:

  • Docked stern-to? You’re stuck unless you turn her around to launch,
  • It’s impossible to cover it securely enough offshore. At 11 gallons a pound, a breaching wave will add a huge amount of weight to your stern. Nothing good ever comes from that.
  • You don’t often see it in the sexy industry photos, but best practices are to add restraining straps from the aft end of the platform to the transom. These take time to set up and take down.
  • You lose access to your swim platform, and, most commonly, the boarding ladder underneath it. Recovery of a swimmer (planned or not) can range from difficult to impossible.
  • Boarding the boat from the rear can be very difficult from most docks. It can take some real gymnastic skills, especially when you are carrying bags, or have a dog.
  • The hardware is corrosion prone, and you really have to keep up with your zincs.

As an aside, I saw a lot of boats this week with Freedom Lifts:

They certainly provide full swim platform access. But they are aluminum (see corrosion, above), and you have to be neurotically careful backing into a slip. Also, I’m not sure I’d want to take one offshore unless I had a very encouraging marine forecast.

C. Bow Mounted

Check out Untethered, the 2016 Viking Skybridge:

Her captain tells me lauching and retrieving the tender (from this Seakeeper-equipped yacht) is effortless in most any seas. Now, the advantages of bow-mounted tenders include:

  • On sportfish, this space is almost entirely unused. You might as well use it for something functional.
  • It’s easy to secure and cover the tender in any weather.
  • On sportfish, at least, it does not obstruct visibility. I would not recommend it on lower helm boats, but for better or worse you do see that all the time.
  • You can (yes, I’ve done this) fill it with water to make a great  pool for little kids.
  • You never have to worry about following seas.

Disadvantages? Only two:

  • The pesky crane post must be hidden without sacrificing too much space.
  • Narrow slips give you no place to launch without nudging her out of the slip a bit.

D. Garage-stored

We’ve all seen this everywhere, particularly with Italian designs.

The advantages are obvious – presto-chango, your tender dissapears. Launching and retrieving isn’t quite as easy as you might expect, but its easy enough. The disadvantages?

  • Usually you are limited to a jet-drive tender, as shown above on this Azimut. These tenders are tough to steer at low speeds – exactly the speed you’ll need to approach the garage for hauling
  • Personally, I’m not a fan of storing gasoline vessels below deck. I’m sure that every application has been skillfully engineered. But having seen two explosions and one fire in my nautical career. Me? I prefer to sleep well at night.

III. Brokerage News

You’ll see on The Fog Warning’s new Yachtworld page  (here)  an inspiring variety of stunning brokerage yachts. You’ll be seeing more and more of these as we enter 2018. To quote Bobby D, “The times they are a changin’ ” And one change has been to The Fog Warning’s tag line. It now reads “Your Boutique Brokerage House for Fine Yachts.”

I see significant disruption coming to (at least) the brokerage side of our industry. The current, largely Yachtworld, model is beginning to break down. The proof is that even in this strong economy, brokerage powerboats over 60 feet long now take an average of 13 months to sell!  And big sailboats? Don’t ask. OK, I’ll tell you: It’s taking in excess of  600 days!  Everyone is frustrated, which means something has to change.

It’s not just the yachting industry, of course. We’re just a little late to the party. Every sector of American business has already seen that great steamroller of creative destruction roll down upon them, crushing the old ways and giving berth to new.

As for your trusted blogger and yacht broker,  “I hear that train a-coming”  (says Johnny C) and I’ve got some cool ideas about anticipating and shaping those changes in ways that can help you as sellers and buyers. I’ll be sharing these ideas with you on The Fog Warning soon, but for now just this little hint: Content is king.

Thanks for listening. It may be 14 degrees in the Hamptons tonight, but before I go out to the hot tub I’m sitting by the fire tying up next season’s trout flies. And waiting for your call on Truant – the call that leads everyone else to get one of my famous snoozagram. If it helps you decide to pick up your phone, let me say this: “Yes – her owner will entertain trade offers!”


Big Wave Dave

PS: Here’s you own personal Steamroller:


You Snooze, You Lose!

I. You Snooze, You Lose…

Go ahead, you know you want to! Punch The Fog Warning button:


Truant, my Vicem 70 listing (and one of my most-inquired about yachts) is now under contract! Her new owner, an experienced yachtsman who has previously owned some truly remarkable yachts (including the most stunning Lyman Morse I ever had the pleasure to board) knew exactly what he was looking for, and he found it. His successful search says a tremendous amount about his taste, the enduring brilliance of Vicem products, and the “blank check” stewardship of her seller.

But fear not, fellow yachtsmen! I present you with other wonderful and compelling choices. I have spent the last few weeks moving up and down the east coast showing these offerings:

Baron, my Vicem 72 listing:

Mahogany Rose, my Vicem 67 listing:








And Essence, my Vicem 85 listing:


If you are looking for fine yacht for this season, anyone who worked the Palm Beach Boat Show would tell you that quality yachts are trading hands right now. Sales velocity has picked up, and inventory is dropping. I looked at the data last night, and what I see is that older listings are [finally] finding new owners. It does take awhile, under normal circumstances. Almost 400 yachts in the 65 to 85 foot range sold in the US over the last twelve months. I did the (very tedious) math very carefully and found the average time-to-sale was 13 months.

By price, it breaks down like this:

Under $1,000,000 11 months
$2,000,000 to $3,000,000 13 months
$2,000,000 to $3,000,000 12 months
$3,000,000 to $4,000,000 10 months
Over $4,000,000 13 months

Feel free to contact me if you’d like this broken down by specific models, styles, sizes, etc.

I’ve been crunching all this data now to test a hypothesis of mine –  That the greater the gap between a yacht’s original listing price and its final contract price, the longer it takes to sell. I’ll have that analysis for you soon. But meanwhile feel free to call me for a discussion about how this can be managed in your interest.

As far as that interest, quality yachts are growing increasingly scarce. I am here to help you in diverse ways.

First, if you are interested in Baron, Mahogany Rose, or Essence, I suspect you may soon miss out. My boat goes in the water tomorrow. Time is flying by.

Second, if you would like to sell your current yacht so you can move up or out, I can put the full power and reach of The Fog Warning behind you. That power and reach has become industry leading:

  •  Readership just soared past 10,000 readers a year! And all indications are that they are exactly the right readers. As you all know, the focus of this blog is so tightly focused that I’m certain that anyone who takes the time to read is like you – a skilled and knowledgable yachtsman. Exactly the kind of boater you want to bring your brokerage boat in front of.
  • Constant Contact, the email system that regularly connects you to the Fog Warning. has awarded me its 2017 All-Star awardAll Star Award 2016 Winner

The reason? 94% of my recipients choose to click and read every Fog Warning posting. I am honored by your allegiance. Clearly you value what I deliver, and my 10,000+ readers mean you are in very good company.

My approach is to put this award winning content to work in front of my worthy shoppers Let me put your boat in front of their eyes, and I will make something happen. Always have, always will.


Third, even if your yacht is currently listed with a broker you are wholly comfortable with, I can help add velocity to that listing at no additional cost to you. Just launch a flare to hear the details.

Fourth, use me to find the next boat of your dream, no matter where she swims. I am currently helping one client find his ideal Fleming, and another client find her ideal Benetti.

In short, let’s push  The Fog Warning button together and sell or buy your fine yacht:






Thanks, and enjoy!

Big Wave Dave


PS: You knew this was coming….