Free advice from leading superyacht lawyers
Some free advice is not worth what you paid for it. But this is not always true.
Specialist superyacht lawyers get to see more transactions from different yards, brokers or buyers than any other group involved in deals.
We asked a selection of leading lawyers: what advice they would give to anyone considering buying a superyacht?
Get your own experience
“Don’t just listen to what people tell you; charter a few yachts and work out for yourself what are your priorities and preferences, and how the money is spent on operating a yacht,” Elinor Dautlich, partner, Holman Fenwick.
“Try before you buy, and always take specialist advice.” Panos Pourgourides, partner, Hill Dickinson.
Build a team of experts
“Do not listen to just one voice,” says John Leonida, head of Clyde & Co’s Superyacht team, “Before you take the decision to buy speak to as many owners, brokers and professional advisers as you can.”
“Be patient, find exactly what you want, and involve a team of experts from every part of the industry who can help you,” says Adam Shire, partner at Holman Fenwick Willan.
“Make sure you know and like those people, so that you can trust them, because you will need experts to make sure you make the right decisions.”
“Be sure about what you want, how you intend to use it and then make sure you surround yourself with the best people who can help you find and acquire it,” says Neil Noble, partner, Stephenson Harwood. “Make sure you know and like those people, so that you can trust them, because you will need experts to make sure you make the right decisions. Buying a large yacht is a huge investment, and big mistakes can be made. The yacht is pure indulgence and pleasure, so the last thing you want is for it to become a problem. Good preparation and research will never be wasted time.”
Choose the right builder and create a partnership
“Work with the yard. I’ve seen too many projects where the buyer’s representatives see their role as knocking money off the price and giving the builder a hard time on deadlines, building technique and inspections, instead of trying to build a good working relationship,” says Thomas Kelly, an associate at Clyde & Co. “All that happens is that both sides spend time dealing with complaints against the other, and attention is diverted from the project. It creates a very bad atmosphere and means that any requests or changes by the buyer are likely to be treated much less sympathetically than if the representatives had simply ensured a good working relationship with the yard. Building a yacht is very much a partnership, and if a buyer remembers that, it is likely to go much more smoothly.”
“Buy a yacht for enjoyment; buy the yacht you will enjoy; and build with the yard that makes you feel comfortable”
“Keep it in perspective and keep it straightforward. Buy a yacht for enjoyment; buy the yacht you will enjoy; and build with the yard that makes you feel comfortable. Give fiscal considerations their proper priority, which is rarely at the top of the list. Get these things right and your lawyer can help make the deal happen with all necessary protections; but don’t expect a contract to turn a bad deal into a good one,” Jay Tooker, partner, Holman Fenwick
For new yachts to pay attention to the reputation of the Builder, and for second hand yachts, engage a thorough surveyor, and then take a pragmatic view of his report,” Dan Tindall, consultant at Clyde & Co.