SuperyachtNews.com – Owner – Bring the Marble!
When people think of buyers of Russian superyachts, the mind usually immediately turns to Abramovich, Usmanov, Melnichenko and other individuals who form the basis of the stereotypes associated with Russian owners. However, do such assumptions devalue the real impact of Russian buyers on the world of superyachts, and is yachting culture deeper in Russia than the stereotype of popular culture created?
If you Google ‘Russian superyacht’ the headlines that jump out at you read things like ‘Russian Billionaire’s Amazing £ 360million Superyacht with Pool and Helipad towers over Monaco Harbor’ or ‘The Russians the richest and their superyachts ”. When you think of Russia and superyachts, you could forgive the mind for bringing up notions of the over $ 100 million market, some of the most ostentatious and difficult builds in the world, and weird ones. stories of Russian-speaking owners demanding non-Russian-speaking crews as a way to keep their business relationships a secret. As enjoyable as these fireside stories may be, is it truly representative of the everyday Russian shopper? I doubt.
“The Russian boating market includes everything from four-meter boats that cost between € 1,000 and € 2,000 to superyachts over 100m built by Abramovich and Melnichenko,” begins Andrey Lomakin, CEO of West Nautical. “In Russian culture, we spend our childhood and our vacations on rivers, lakes and seas. Russians love to spend time on the water, big or small. When people think that the Russian buyers’ market is over 100 million euros, it’s not really a market, it’s just a series of purchases. Every purchase in this industry is a big event for the shipyard, the buyer and the seller. It is true that Russian, American and Middle Eastern customers are the most active players in this sizeable sector, but this still only represents a tiny proportion of total unit sales. Most of the sales with Russian customers are in the smaller size ranges.
According to Lomakin, and far from what people might generally associate with Russian owners, the vast majority like to operate vessels where they can operate as captain themselves, even down to the 50m mark. While this desire to control the ship itself does not necessarily extend to the desire to go to the engine room to check the oil, as is the case with the vast majority of superyacht owners, the desire to sail, and sometimes to captain, suggests a style of ownership that does not fit the stereotypes often associated with Russian ownership.
“Our company specializes in Russian property below the large customs limits of 70 m and above. Once you go over that limit, there’s a different set of owners, a different set of requirements, and a different style of ownership, regardless of demographics, ”Lomakin explains. “That being said, when dealing with Russian owners, some UK superyacht manufacturers like to joke about the ‘Russian specification.’ What they mean by that is it can often be assumed that Russian owners will be looking to apply all available options, as well as ask the best designers to work on their projects.
So it would appear that some stereotypes of Russian ownership are correct. Rightly or wrongly, when you think of Russian-owned superyachts and their designs, opulence, such as the inclusion of copious amounts of marble, usually tops the list. Perhaps this is why Europeans, who often see themselves as understated and ‘classic’, see Russian ownership and yachting culture as something inferior to traditional European standards and perhaps it is. for this reason some shipyards do not always find it easy to meet the demands of Russian buyers.
“When we talk about shipyards, it is important to distinguish between shipyards in northern Europe and those in southern Europe. When we consider the north we are really talking about the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. For the south, we generally speak of Italian manufacturers, ”continues Lomakin. “I think in some ways the northern European shipyards are stricter in their approach to construction, in terms of modifications available in the production and semi-custom sectors. Sometimes the North European vision of their own products is more important than the demands of Russian customers. In contrast, there is a deep connection between the Italian and Russian nations, and Italian shipyards understand Russian buyers incredibly well. Italian flexibility perfectly matches Russian tastes.
In many projects that The Superyacht Agency has carried out, for companies in northern and southern Europe, the notion of flexibility remains one of the most puzzling and controversial concepts. For some buyers, the supposed rigidity of the North European market is a real attraction, while the perceived flexibility of Italian manufacturers is perceived as a weakness. However, invariably, it does not take very far to have these notions overturned. Some argue that North European rigidity can be so extreme that it becomes a sticking point for potential buyers before or during the construction process, with them preferring the ‘never say never’ attitude of Italian builders.
Indeed, much of the rhetoric surrounding superyacht building practices has focused on developing an objective way to achieve the perfect build. However, given how much the market depends on the will of the ultimate beneficial owners and how different they can be, could it be that there is simply never one right way to approach building a home? ‘a superyacht? It would appear, however, at least according to Lomakin, that something about the Italian approach to superyacht manufacturing is of interest to Russian customers in general.
One of the major challenges for the superyacht industry in the coming years will be its ability to attract new demographics of high net worth individuals to the superyacht market, whether as guests or buyers. While I maintain my previous arguments that smart money would focus on converting already interested but not engaged UHNWI pools into customers (click here), the superyacht market needs to look into itself and determine if its messaging culture is as inclusive as it could be.
When people think of yachting culture, they see Breton shirts, beautiful sailboats and sunny owners drinking rosé. In short, they live the Riviera ideal. Anything that doesn’t quite fit this mold is often seen as crude, a vulgar misrepresentation of the superyacht ideal. Consider some of the comments that have been made about Sailboat A, or Motor Yacht A for that matter. A Russian owner dared to be different and was overwhelmingly nominated, even though the market regularly challenges the design industry to break away from aesthetic homogeneity. Builders, designers and brokers scoffed at Russian ostentation, regardless of whether it could be said to be a fundamental tenet of Russian nautical culture.
Russian owners are one of the most important buyers in the superyacht industry, in all size ranges, and yet the Russian yachting culture is often overlooked as not being as deeply rooted as that of its counterparts. Mediterranean. Yachting owes a lot to Russian customers and it is high time that we stop trying to fit the demographics of potential buyers into preconceived ideals of yachting and start listening to what the buyer really wants. The Russians have shown us the way, if only people had bothered to watch rather than sneer.
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