Back when working as a yacht manager outfitting a 70m new build I spent a lot of time searching for the best tenders to meet an owner’s brief. The brief was simple: a 9m beach landing RIB, required for trips ashore with ample guest seating; a classic ‘owners’ tender, practical yet beautiful; and then a watersports boat for wakeboarding and towables.
This would seem pretty simple from the outset, however the range of choices I found from every manufacturer was overwhelming and there was a huge amount of time that went into factory visits and specification changes.
It would have been entirely possible to research this for months, taking me away from all other yacht management responsibilities for the other boats in the fleet. No supplier could really give me what I asked for without compromises and every manufacturer, of course, claims to be the best.
What I wanted was a company that I could go to with a brief and get a proposal outlining the relevant tenders available across the board that I could review with the owner to ensure he was getting the boats he wanted at the best possible price. I then wanted someone to oversee the build to ensure it was the most well built, reliable tender which would not let the owner down and would be delivered on time.
That person did not exist so I saw a gap in the market and decided to leave my position as a yacht manager and set up Superyacht Tenders and Toys (SYTT). With my previous positions as a captain and running an RYA training school dealing with all manner of powerboats and sailing yachts, and with a degree in business management, my background was instrumental to being qualified for this role.
In the first few months we sold a number of boats, predominantly to captains and owners who were acquaintances, but quickly realised that when offering a new service to the industry we needed to educate clients about our USP: not only do we spend time doing all proposals and spec reviews for no charge, but clients can also buy these boats from us for less than the manufacturers' direct pricing – a win-win situation which some thought too good to be true, questioning how this could be the case.
Quite simply, as a dealer or distributor for the manufacturers, and due to the large numbers of boats we sell, we have greater purchasing power that enables us to get the best possible prices so we can pass on huge discounts to our clients. Our team of in-house project managers then manage the builds and keep clients informed to whatever level they desire. Owners and captains are invited to attend at any stage of a build, or can simply rock up for sea trials – whatever works for them.
One of the key things SYTT does is remain independent. This means we are not specifically working with only one or two brands, but can offer all. For example, if an owner is after an 8m tender we can offer all options from Zodiac, Novurania, Ribeye, Cobra, Pascoe and others to name but a few. This gives the client huge choice in terms of build quality, budget, options, looks and functionality.
On large custom builds, such as limousine tenders which are designed individually for clients to match the mothership, we work with all well-known brands such as Windy, Compass, Yachtwerft Meyer, Hodgdon, Vikal and some lesser known brands.
On projects like this there is an increasing trend for owners to purchase directly, as the discounts available on the more production models are not always available and the sums involved are often much larger, so SYTT offer separate contracted project management of the builds. This includes the choice, specification, contracts, build management and then aftersales and warranty handling.
Whether it is carbon, composite or aluminium in any shape or style we have been there before and have gained a lot of experience with each type of tender and each manufacturer. We ensure that the client has the best possible experience and receives a boat that is delivered on time and budget.
Our build management services have been particularly well received by owners and management companies who use us to oversee all builds on their behalf.
With 16 custom projects in build at this present moment it's clear the industry values this input. Manufacturers such as Compass, Hodgdon and Vikal all say they appreciate the positive contribution in terms of build planning, design, production and reporting because it significantly reduces their costs and they can concentrate on the builds leaving us to update owners.
One of the key items builders often struggle with is reporting and SYTT provide monthly written and photo reports to ensure everyone is kept informed and key decisions are made in a timely manner. As well as owner reports we also provide the builder with a separate version to ensure that all items identified on a visit are fully addressed.
As the superyacht tender market matures it is evident that more and more companies who manufacture production leisure boats are getting into the superyacht sector as they see huge potential for their boats at a higher price. This can be a good thing to keep the old timers on their toes as the cheaper alternatives coming onto the market encourages competitive pricing.
However, quality needs to be closely monitored. The increase in options does make the marketplace even more confusing for owners, captains and build managers looking to order new tenders since with greater choice comes greater divergence in quality.
Recently tasked by an owner with reviewing the small RIB market we found nearly 100 manufacturers who could build a boat to the size and specs required. Out of those we would probably only recommend around 15 as a starting point for the project, with realistic options being six or seven. Cutting through the noise by offering owners only relevant options for their brief from day one is where we excell.
I strongly believe that the service offered by the yacht tender specialist is required by the industry more than ever. With transparent, competitive pricing and excellent customer service, engaging a yacht tender specialist such as Superyacht Tenders and Toys for any project, at whatever level, adds significant value and peace of mind.