Superyacht support companies: Logistics and troubleshooters

A yacht visiting New Zealand has guests aboard who have never seen live sheep and would like to. Solution: A farmer with two lambs is ferried to the dock. Mission accomplished.

A yacht cruising in the remote Southern Lau island group of Fiji needs replacement bearings for a watermaker. Solution: An aircraft is chartered and the parts are packaged securely and air-dropped into a lagoon for safe retrieval by the crew. The owner’s cruise continues.

Yacht support and logistics is an essential service needed by captains, management companies and owners to ensure the smooth operation of the yacht, no matter where in the world it is cruising. Companies in this low-profile industry provide a wide variety of services including, but hardly limited to:

  • Assisting with visas, cruising permits and port control requirements;
  • Cruise planning;
  • Piloting;
  • Fuel bunkering;
  • Berthage;
  • Provisioning;
  • Shipping; and
  • Refit, service and survey scheduling.

These companies typically offer a menu of services, but they will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure their clients have whatever they require for successful voyaging, including taking care of the personal needs of the owner’s dog.

‘Our key is to make the ownership of a superyacht as stress-free as possible,’ says Allan Jouning of 37South, a logistics and support company in New Zealand. ‘This means always going the extra mile for owners. Everything we do is personal. There is nothing we cannot find a solution to.’

The backgrounds and services offered by companies in this industry vary so substantially, it is difficult to pigeonhole them.

‘We are a yacht/ship’s agent in the eyes of the industry,’ says Captain Mark Drewelow, president of California-based C2C. ‘Land-based companies in traditional business would call us a non-asset-owned, on-demand, third-party logistics provider.’

Drewelow says his company typically is engaged by captains who are referred to him by management companies. C2C’s services differ from those of a management company, in part, on the basis of how it fits into the overall yacht operations puzzle.

‘We offer daily, on-demand support, while a management company is more focused on predictable, month-to-month, long-term financial and flag state solutions,’ says Drewelow. ‘Integration with C2C is minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, on issues tied to port state, i.e., customs, agriculture, immigration, visas, etc., in specific ports along the way.’

C2C is typical of logistics companies in that it has a menu of services, and its capabilities are extensive, but it specializes in some areas.

‘One specialty is our shipping and receiving solution,’ says Drewelow. ‘We move anything, anytime, anywhere. We do not own boats, planes, trains or trucks – that’s the “non-asset-owned” part.

‘Superyachts have a continual stream of cargo going to the yacht and from the yacht, to and from points around the globe. We evaluate the urgency and the cargo and design a solution that works. We usher the process along to completion and keep everyone informed along the way.’

C2C and 37South are members of group of more than 80 independent companies spread around the world called the Association of Yacht Support Services (AYSS).

The association is headquartered in the UK and its affiliates subscribe to a code of ethics. It forms a de facto network of similar solutions providers for yachts anywhere. Some of its member companies operate in the style of an off-site concierge, while others are geared toward technical support or refit and repair.

Jouning’s company organised the sheep and the parts air drop, but it also has performed a sombre duty: arranging the funeral of a fallen yacht crewman.

‘We work for the yacht and the owner to supply the most cost-effective solutions to their requirements,’ says Jouning. ‘We make it easy.’

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