Buying your first yacht isn’t something anyone should enter into lightly. Without knowledge or experience it is easy to find yourself led astray by the inspiring yacht concepts of boundary-pushing designers or talked into building a super-fast yacht with technical capabilities you’ll never use.
With this in mind, we’ve spoken to a number of experienced serial yacht owners who know a thing or two about the buying and building process. Here are their top top tips on what to look out for, what to avoid and how to make sure you get the yacht you really want.
Consider all your options
When Steve Sidwell, owner of 34 metre Ascente, began looking for his perfect yacht he had his dream vessel in mind - but couldn't find her anywhere. “I went to the Monaco Yacht Show and I came to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show maybe three years in a row. I looked at all the different boats and none of them fit,” he says. “It’s a million-dollar-a-year operating budget. I don’t want to spend that. It means one or two engineers on board as well and I don’t want that. A big crew, I don’t want that. I want my kids and me to be able to operate the boat."
Having done the rounds of all the turnkey yachts on the market it was time to consider a different route to life on the waves. “I wasn’t intent on doing a refit, but I never really found anything that was a good fit for me in my price range, and then I found this boat and within 20 minutes I thought, ‘That’s it.’” A lot of, admittedly, hard work and determination later, Sidwell now has the family-friendly yacht he'd always wanted and the memories of round-the-world adventures to go with it.