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Owning The Experience

Owning The Experience

29th August 2023

Yacht charters provide the holiday of a lifetime. Yacht ownership affords freedom and spontaneity. When combined, the result is a circulatory ownership cycle that gifts flexibility, personalisation and even fiscal compensation.

When Kypros Tsentas, owner of 164’ (50m) OURANOS, first dipped his toe in the charter market in 2006, it changed the course of his life. “It all began with a 75 footer that I chartered with my family in the Ionian Sea,” he says. “It was the holiday we had always dreamed of, and within three months I’d bought my own boat, a Falcon 100.

In 2010, he embarked on his first new build, co-designed by his wife and daughter. “I like fast boats and this yacht had a top speed of 28 knots.” He spent an average of 45 days aboard each year, chartering it out in between to cover expenses. “By then I was hooked, and a few years later I decided to go even bigger,” he says.

Tsentas took delivery of OURANOS in 2016. As before, the family took control of the yacht’s interior, designing it to the same standard as their family home. “We gave it high ceilings and used expensive materials. It’s been a love affair from the start,” he says.

While most owners choose where they wish to cruise, the ability to piggyback off destinations where the yacht is booked to charter is a valuable and cost saving option. The benefits of owning a successful charter yacht are, for Tsentas, a no-brainer.

“I can no longer compare charter with ownership, one is a holiday, the other is freedom,” he says. “That’s what ownership is to me – the freedom of choice and the freedom to spend more time with my family.”

It's a similar story for Luka Bubalo, owner of classic 1970s yacht LA PERLA, which underwent a major refit in 2023. He put his own stamp on the refurb but did so with a true commercial charter offer in mind. “You can tell from top to bottom the level of detail that the owner put into the design of LA PERLA,” says IYC broker Jamie Swaine. “Whether you're looking at it with the view to buy or as a potential charter holiday, you won’t be disappointed.”

Boasting large accommodation with versatile sleeping arrangements for up to 26 guests, plus further cabins for a professional crew of nine, LA PERLA is both a boat designed for corporate charters and a privately cherished yacht. “Everything you see on board represents part of my life or my business interests, and that’s important to its success,” says Bubalo. “My dream was to offer something new to the market and I believe we’ve achieved that.”

"Yacht ownership affords the spontaneity to do what you want, when you want, where you want, not to mention the satisfaction of not having to rely on someone else's asset", says IYC global managing partner, Michel Chryssicopoulos. “Chartering requires a high degree of flexibility or the foresight to reserve at least six months, if not a year, in advance to avoid disappointment,” he explains. “Ownership accommodates your own schedule, and in terms of costs, if you use a yacht for more than 35 days a year you're usually better off owning.”

In countries where operating expenses are lower than in other areas of the world, such as the charter hot spot of Greece, the incentive to own rather than charter is even greater. “We have a few owners who chartered before owning, and now enjoy owning so much they have a fleet of boats,” says Chryssicopoulos, citing one family who currently has a trio of 230’ (70m) Admiral GC-Force 70 yachts on order.

Around 80% of IYC owners choose to make their yachts available for charter. That includes the owner of KOJU, who decided to charter for the first time in 2019 and embarked on three charters – two in the Caribbean and one aboard GECO to cruise the Greek islands. His experience was life-changing. “I knew I had to buy a yacht,” he says.

With the help of IYC Sales Consultant and Managing Partner California Matthew Stone, he scoured the market before Benetti’s 121’ (37m) Motopanfilo stopped him in his tracks. “I thought it was incredible, from the 1960s design and open-plan layout to the large windows that fill the interior with natural light,” he says. “It was also the first hull and I wanted it.

Her owner took delivery of his Motopanfilo, named KOJU, in 2021 and quickly began reaping the rewards. “We’ve cruised the Mediterranean twice, including the Monaco Grand Prix, did some flyfishing in the Exumas and spent the past two New Years in St. Barts,” he says. “When we step aboard, it feels like home.

Making KOJU available to charter was central to her owner's plan. “Chartering taught us what we want from a yacht, such as an amazing crew and a customised beach club with a pool at the stern,” he says. “But I look at most things through financial terms. Matt knew the charter business and financial model cold and helped me to implement every step of our charter program. If KOJU books 17 charters or more a year – which it has so far – we are cashflow neutral, including my own expenses.”

For many owners the biggest benefit of ownership is the personalisation aspect – “I need only take a briefcase with me as the rest is already taken care of,” says the owner of KOJU. But factoring charter into the equation can give ownership an attractive financial framework.

When you have an owner who is committed to the development of a charter program, from water toys and activities to hiring the right crew, it’s possible to offset, and in some cases, even earn a profit from charter,” says Stone. “In any case, charter can help take care of a large portion of the operating costs.

With IYC’s professional team of brokers, managers and international portfolio of yacht services, the chance to own your yachting experience is yours to take.

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