Super Yacht Chartering during 2009

It was the great American writer, Mark Twain who said: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

He could have been talking about the chartering of superyachts. Rewind to January 2009 and remember the pessimism and negativity expressed by the world at large from bus drivers to businessmen. So grim were the forecasts that even buying organic fruit felt forbidden.

As she pondered over her January spirit-lifting mail-out along the lines of book early to avoid disappointment, Rebecca Pattinson, a top charter broker with Ocean Independence came to the realisation that her charter clients would most likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Those who would be hit hard by the ‘crash’ and not in a position to commit to the luxury yacht chartering.
  • Those hit less hard, still keen to charter and hoping to negotiate a good price, happy to wait until the last minute to make the decision
  • Those less affected and ready to commit but who suddenly became aware that dropping a deposit on a summer holiday costing double a bus-driver’s annual income might not be the trendy thing to do.

So like most providers of luxury products she faced the prospect of challenging times ahead. She quickly realised that the challenge would be both refreshing and exciting, and would also open doors to some very interesting opportunities.

It was, she thought, time to shift gear, not pull up on the hard shoulder.

Looking back, she can honestly report that the summer of 2009 was one of the busiest and most demanding summers, but it was also one of the most rewarding proving completely that the actual facts and figures told a different story to the gloomy forecasts of January past.

Pattinson believes the end result was a combination of factors. Most obviously was the opportunity for potential discounted charter fees (or at least well worth asking!) but, she says, “Perhaps values have changed so that it has become harder than ever to put a price on the experience of time spend in privacy with family and friends.”

What ever the causes she booked a total of 265 charter days an increase of 10 days over figures for last year and while total revenue was not quite so significantly increased she was witness first hand to lots of satisfied clients who were happy they had heeded the words of Mr Twain.

None of this would have been possible without the invaluable support of the Ocean Independence team of which she is a part. With 17 offices worldwide and brokers in every port from Antibes to Antigua, she is seldom short of a friendly colleague to call upon for support or advice. She might not know the current weather in Mykonos or the fuel prices in Mexico, but she knows someone who does!

It was the singer Bryan Adams who sang Summer of 69 in which the lyrics read: when I look back now, the summer seemed to last forever. Perhaps he had Mark Twain in mind when he used those words.