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: