There is arguably no more exciting purchase in the world than deciding to buy a custom yacht. In terms of both options for personalization and capital outlay, the event is nearly unsurpassed. And the plot only thickens when one decides to build a yacht in Italy, a Mecca for some of the world’s most glamorous boatbuilders, but also a culture that can seem a bit of a maze to the uninitiated. Of course, with such a large investment at play, and with so many variables to consider, you’ll want a subject matter expert—like those found at the Italian Yacht Group—to act as a seasoned guide or sort of yachting Sherpa on your journey.
Your first few meetings with the professionals at IYG will be focused on sharpening your vision for your new yacht. The focus will be on forming a plan for exactly what you want out of your boat. Do you need a transatlantic range? A shallow draft for the Bahamas? More than five staterooms for a large family? Or maybe you’d like your boat delivered by a certain date? All of these questions and more will need to be fully understood to help you envision your end goal.
Once the IYG staff knows what you want, it’s possible we may recommend a semi-production builder that already has a platform that fits your needs. But if not, your custom-yacht journey has begun in earnest.
An important early step is picking a designer. IYG will help you select a designer based largely on your aesthetic principles. Do you want modern and sleek or more traditional? Is an axe bow design attractive to you? These are things to seriously consider as your custom yacht’s appearance announces your own concept of style and taste when you enter a port. Once a designer with experience drawing yachts similar to your liking is hired, IYG will deliver them technical specs outlining how big the boat should be, how much it should draw, etc. The designer will use this information to create a general arrangement (GA). Assuming you approve of the GA, the next step is to shop it to different Italian shipyards. Some custom builders IYG may point you toward include Tankoa, Cantiere delle Marche, Rossinavi, or CRN, among others. All of these builders specialize in full custom builds over the 40-meter mark, and have long, unblemished records working with IYG and Custom Build clients.
Some factors an owner should take into account when choosing a yard are: Value or the “bang for buck”, prestige, time until delivery, market reputation and more. Your IYG specialist will walk you through all the iterations in this regard to ensure that you are satisfied.
When the most appropriate shipyard is chosen, the builder still must come back to the potential owner with a quote. It’s important that due diligence is done on the quote, to make sure that everything requested is included and all details considered. Italian boatbuilders are famous for working allowances into their quotes—that is, some flex as to the specificities of the onboard features. Oftentimes, the initial quote comes in low, with more expensive iterations of the owner’s request tacked on later in the build process. Nobody wants to be told their boat will cost $10 million upfront when it actually ends up at $11.5 million. This is where IYG comes in. We employ our expertise to do a full scrub of the yacht’s technical specifications. We comb through each detail of the shipyard’s contract and other documents to make sure that everything our client wants is properly accounted for before the build process begins. Our years of experience allow us to know exactly what is needed to build and run your boat properly. We use that experience to ensure that you will be completely happy with the end product (and price).
At the same time, we will help you find a maritime attorney and a bank for financing. The maritime attorney will liaise with the shipyard’s attorney setting up ownership entity, delivery dates, bank refund guarantees, and other important legal documents. We will also point you toward certain banks that will loan you money to build your boat.
Now your custom yacht is starting to become a reality. IYG will find a project manager to be your eyes and ears on the ground in Italy while the boat is being built. These project managers may be American or European, but they will be on-site often over the two to three years it takes to build the boat and be intimately familiar with every detail of the proceedings.
As your yacht is about six months away from completion, things really get exciting. It’s time to hire a captain. IYG will help conduct interviews with qualified candidates to find an appropriately knowledgeable captain that also clicks with the owner’s personality. Once hired the captain will begin building out a top-tier crew and also outfit the yacht’s interior with everything from fire-safety equipment to pots and pans.
Soon enough, your boat will splash. Pick out a nice bottle of bubbly for this occasion, because it’s typically when one is smashed on the bow to christen your new baby. But we’re not quite done yet. Typically three to four months’ worth of shakedown cruises come next, to ensure that everything on the yacht is in the right place and in working order. And then, voila, your boat is ready for you. The yard will typically host a closing celebration in Italy, and then you are set to sail off into the proverbial sunset aboard your brand-new, fully custom yacht.
Visit our Custom Builds page and contact us to get started on your next yachting journey.