Monday, June 23, 2008

American Superyacht Forum

This week I will be attending a conference on Superyachts which is run by The Yacht Report, one of the preeminent journals of the industry.

I will be on a panel discussing "Doing the Deal vs. Making the Market", which is basically about the standards of conduct expected or desired of yacht brokers. Not so different from what is expected or desired from travel agents really; even though the job description is a bit different. I, of course, will be discussing in it from the yacht lawyer's perspective...or should I say this lawyer's perspective. (Do any lawyers actually agree without reservation?)

This is sort of a follow-up to an article I wrote in the April 2008 issue of The Yacht Report entitled, "Brown Paper Bagging It...Not Allowed", which addressed the issue of the impropriety of brokers giving "gifts" to yacht captains that were helpful in bringing about a sale of their owner's yachts. (Some would commonly call these gifts "kickbacks"!)

I should digress as you probably are asking, "What the heck is a Superyacht?" It is, by brief definition, a yacht which is over about 150 feet. As with the cruise industry, the definition of a yacht started out as "You can put a boat on a yacht, but not a yacht on a boat." Then there were "megayachts", which dependent on who you ask, range from over 80 feet. But, not being out done, there had to be "superyachts"...and now there are those that push for yet another term: Gigayachts, for those over say 400 feet.

There are many remarkably similarities between yachting and cruising. The larger superyachts and (dare I use the term) gigayachts have cruise directors, a variety of activities available during the day, different dining venues, extraordinary (and I mean extraordinary) service, itineraries to visit unique ports, water sports (expanded marina days), etc.

To be sure I will write more on this subject after the conference; as I will about the crossover between these two industries.