A PERFECT STORM FOR EXPLORER YACHTS
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I am sure all of you are aware of the meteorological event that occurred in on October 30, 1991. Labeled the "perfect storm" by the National Weather Service, it was the base for an international best selling book written by Sebastian Junger and a block buster movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen. If you would like to know about the true events that caused see the following website for full details of the storm (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/satellite/satelliteseye/cyclones/pfctstorm91/pfctstorm.html). Since then the term “The Perfect Storm” has become a metaphor for a single set of events that combine to create a greater over all impact then the separate entities would. If you do a search in Google or Yahoo you will find a great number of uses for the term. The news media and oil spectators and their proponents have now latched on to the term to describe their view of the world events that are purported to have cause and are causing the huge run up in oil and fuel costs.
As examples: The Perfect Storm That's About to HitThe Meteorological event was one of the greatest storms ever recorded, it lasted between 3 to 5 days depending on how you account for the build up and ending of the storm, it was at its peak between Oct 31 and Nov 1st.
So in the spirit of plagiarism, following the crowd of much more exalted writers then I and a bit of nautical flair, I am going to dub the combining world events that are occurring the reason for the “Perfect Storm” that is driving “Explorer/Expedition” yachts to the forefront of yachting.
What are these events and why are EXPORER YACHTS the lifeboat for the future of medium to large size yachting?
First: As discussed above the price of fuel is raising and in contrast to many other yachts, Explorer’s are relatively miserly on fuel. We all know the old saying for yachts “ if you have to ask the price, you cannot afford it” and all that it implies with regards to the idea that anyone who owns a large yacht can easily afford the fuel cost to move it from one place to the next. In most cases this has been true, even with fuel at USD$1 a gallon a vessel that burned between 75 to 150 gallons in an hour and runs 4 or 6 hours a day, a few months a year on average cost $2100 to $6300 a week in fuel and maybe as much as $50,000 a year. A relatively small amount in the over all cost of a vessel and most likely a very small drop in the expendable income of the owner. That was then and this is now, diesel is running between $3 and $4 a gallon unless you are living in a country that is a bit dusty or starts with a V, so fuel cost are between $150,000 and $200,000 a year, again not much to some, but keep in mind this is for about 8 weeks use in a year or equivalent to a seasons use in the Mediterranean OR the Caribbean if you want to use it both places then cost is going up and that raises the second point.
Second: A lot of medium to large size yacht owners are getting tired of the old tried and true “milk runs” of yachting, for the summer, a season in the med cruising increasingly crowed ports or the Northeastern US again crowed with very limited dock space, in the winter it is, over to or down to the Caribbean. Do not get me wrong these are wonderful, fun and stunning places to be on a yacht, but after the 5th, 10th 20th season and the huge increase in the size and number of boats in the areas many owner’s and crew are looking for new, less known and exotic realms to visit.
The down side to most of these exotic and undiscovered cruising paradises is the other adjective used so often to describe them “far flung” as in a heck of a long way off. The upside is there is a high likely hood that the owner will be aboard the boat more and travel with it more often. (Some crew may not see this as an upside, but the good will and they will enjoy the new experiences offered by the expanded cruising as much as the owners) The consequence of this new found enjoyment and experiences take us back to number one above and to the third element in the raising storm.
Ok some of you think I am going a bit far on this, but that is what Explorer yachts are designed to do, go far. Yes you are right if you are saying, I am not being fair with my numbers as most of the boats that burn the amount of fuel we are talking about do not have the range, reliability or hull design to safely explorer these far flung cruising areas. AH number 3 on the event list.
Third: Yacht owners today are more educated then ever before, as are the crew that operate them and I hope I can say the brokers that assist them in finding the right vessel to meet their requirements. As these requirements move from limited use the cost of operations related to fuel increase and the need to find vessels that are highly sea worth, fuel efficient and reliable increases. The vessels need to be designed to operate with limited shore side support, the exteriors need to be designed to limit the need for long hours of maintains by the crew, they are underway a greater percentage of time and so have reduced hours to spend vanishing hundreds of board feet of teak. The crew accommodations have to be comfortable and separate from guests. The crew will not be staying in their apartments on shore most of the year with a few weeks of living aboard when the owner is there or tied to a dock with easy access to shore services. This means for the owner to get the maximum use and enjoyment out of the boat, the crew needs good lounge spaces inside and out and good over all living arrangements.
Explorer yachts because of the full displacement design, high bows and large interior volumes are not only highly sea worthy; they have the room to allow the interior designers to create both excellent long term accommodations for the owner and his guests but also for the crew. This crew space is very important, it creates a very positive atmosphere aboard, decreasing the over all turnover of crew. This has a plus to the owner in he will enjoy his adventures more with cheerful motivated people around him and keeping crew long tends to lower over all operating cost.
Most Explorer/Expedition yachts do not correspond to the traditional styling of “Motor yachts”, by their nature and to accomplish their mission they tend to be more robust (Ok some will say down right ugly) in looks then most of the stylish fast motor yachts and even most of the standard semi-displacement yachts seen today. The fact is most of the hardcore explorer yachts look quite commercial in nature, following tried and true designs that have been developed over long years of reliable world traveling commercial use, whether that is North Sea fishing or worldwide freight transport. These explorer yachts look the part on the outside but have all of the luxury of a traditional yacht on the inside. Many people feel that because of their appearance alone (no one with good taste would own a yacht that looked like that, let alone dock it at the yacht club!) that explorer yachts will remain a fringe element in yachting. But please keep in mind the following, the yacht club the explorer yacht will be docked at is more likely to be “The Royal Suva Yacht Cub in Fiji” then one in a more sedate location. Also to paraphrase a exterior and interior designer friend of mine , taste is in the mouth and everyone tastes something a bit different when eating the same thing, so some will find the same boat very appealing while another does not.
One last point I will make regarding this subject, it has been my observation that captains, engineers and owners who have a good deal of knowledge tend to appreciate the style of the hardcore explorer yachts more then others. Now having said that, as a marketing person I would be greatly remised to not recognize the fact that a percentage of yacht owners will never want to own a vessel with the explorer styling but will need the qualities that explorer yachts have, just dressed in more traditional attire.
This has lead directly to the development of what I am calling the “Yacht Explorer”. These are not just yachts with a lot of fuel, they are vessels specificity designed and constructed to have all of the features important to a explorer yacht, great functional engine rooms, solid world traveling sea keeping abilities, volume to carry guests, crew and supplies to far off venues and exterior styling that looks in concert with traditional yachts but through the use of new or non traditional materials reduce or eliminate much of the “yacht” maintenance, use of stainless instead of teak, designs that allow easy access to the complete exterior of the vessel for speedy wash downs and so on.
So to recap, the barometric pressure is dropping below 1000 mb, fuel is up, and cost for cruising traditional areas is rising as is the number and size of the boats vying for slips and space in the harbors. Owners and crew are looking for options to reduce costs and extend their cruising agendas. They are educated about what qualities they need in a vessel physically in regards to sea keeping and living comforts to maximize the yachting experience for all. Owners and captains are plotting a course that will lead them to Explorer yachts and all astonishing destinations these vessels can take them through calm and stormy seas.
As always I look forward to hearing your comments and feed back.
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|Broker John DeCaro|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA|