Updated on October 20th, 2023
Do you think that the tendency to buy bigger and bigger yachts is some kind of dogma? While it is indeed typical in the small fleet when an owner sells an old boat to add some cash and buy a bigger boat, the opposite is increasingly happening in the big boy world. We have spoken to several former superyacht owners who have switched to a smaller size and are quite happy with their decision. Here’s what we found out.
The most common reason for such a decision is the desire to be completely alone. Or, more accurately, alone with the sea. And that means you’ll have to get rid of the crew. Therefore, the choice automatically falls on yachts up to LWL 24 meters.
“Despite the unprecedented privacy that superyachts offer, our family has never felt truly private on a big boat that needs a crew to steer,” says Alessandro, who sold the 40m Sunseeker to buy a Pershing 7X instead, “Now I can go out to sea even alone and rush through the water surface with a breeze, which gives an absolutely incredible feeling of freedom and completely relieves the stress accumulated during the week of doing business.”
The desire to steer your own yacht, rather than just lie in the sunbathing area with a cocktail in hand, is also dominant among former superyacht owners.
“After a boring doing nothing that gets boring very quickly, laying a route on your own and feeling the helm in your hands really turned out to be what I missed so much in yachting,” says Sofia, owner of the new Riva 76, the yacht that replaced the 50-meter Baglietto, “It’s a completely different experience for me, so exciting that I’ll probably only go back to hiring a captain when my husband and I are quite old.”
The financial question, of course, is always taken into account, even in such irrational things as buying a yacht. Modern “pocket superyachts” and small explorers can be no less comfortable and luxurious than huge floating palaces, but cost several times cheaper, both when buying and when servicing. It would seem that a charter allows you to maintain superyachts almost break even, but many owners do not want to give their boats for use to strangers.
“If you don’t charter a superyacht, you’re wasting too much money,” says Mikael, owner of the recently purchased Numarine 22XP, “But I don’t want to let strangers on my boat. It’s a second home for my family and me. This feeling is shared by all my friends who own yachts. Modern design, materials, stabilization systems and equipment make small motor yachts extremely comfortable and seaworthy, so I see no point in owning a superyacht any longer. I have saved an incredible amount of money by lowering the bar, but not losing any in comfort, and the holiday became really exciting when I myself became a captain.”
We also know several people who have moved from the world of superyachts to the world of solar catamarans in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
“My broker has put my company’s superyacht up for sale,” says Grigori, “She has two huge diesels, a total of several thousand horsepower. I am fully aware of her environmental impact. However, I am not ready to part with the sea. But I am also not I’m ready to switch to sailing yachts, this type of boat has never caused me any positive emotions. At the moment I’m looking towards electric catamarans from Silent Yachts and the like. But I’ll be happy to return to superyachts when they become more environmentally friendly.”
Among other reasons for the decline in the size of yachts is the desire to have a faster boat. And in some cases, the owners were able to significantly increase the range of the yacht, while reducing fuel costs by several times, switching to relatively small, but very seaworthy trawlers. Of course, this is true only for those who spend much more time on board than a couple of days off a month and, in addition, want to actively participate in navigation.
Two other former superyacht owners told us that in the process of becoming involved in luxury yachting, they became connoisseurs not of size, but of beauty and elegance. Therefore, “just another big white boat” was replaced by a classic gentleman’s motor yacht.