Superyacht ownership is a feat that many strive to achieve, but is only reserved for the few who can reach a certain level of financial success. That said, there are many choices to make once you get there. Type, size, production, semi-custom or fully customized – what to choose?

Image caption: Westport Yachts Nina Lu for sale on YATCO.com

Let’s start by defining what the differences are between semi-custom yachts and fully customized yachts. YATCO interviewed Ron Nugent of Westport Yachts, and Chief Commercial Officer of Baglietto Yachts Fabio Ermetto, to get down to what the main differences are.

What is a Semi-Custom Yacht?

A semi-custom yacht typically starts with a production hull – tried and true, much like Westport Yachts – these hulls have been gracing our waters for years, and are reliable, seaworthy vessels. They cost less, too. Because they’re production yachts, they’ve been tested over and over – and not at the owner’s expense. These yachts typically allow owners to select interior décor, and some builders will even let you move bulkheads so the layout is a bit more to an owner’s liking. The build time is shorter compared to a fully customized yacht, as the hull and most of the superstructure have been built time and time again.

According to Ron Nugent, Head of Marketing at Westport yachts, some of the benefits of purchasing and owning a semi-custom yacht vs. a fully customized yacht are, “Semi-custom production yacht builds are more dependable, as they are built on time and on budget. The predictability of semi-custom yachts is of tremendous value when building your superyacht, as there are few chances taken, which can save money in the long run. You can rely on shorter build times, and a more consistent residual with semi-custom builds.” When asked about the typical time period for a Westport build, he said 16 months is usually how long it takes from start to launch.

Of a semi-custom build, Chief Commercial Officer of Baglietto Yachts Fabio Ermetto says, “Usually a semi-custom yacht, if it is not a prototype, is built on a naval platform already tested and the characteristics and performance are very well known. This allows to greatly reduce the delivery time and to count on proven quality and efficiency as well as to keep a high level of customization for items important for the owner, like interiors, décor and, partially, the layout. Moreover, building a semi-custom yacht allows to start the construction on speculation, this is to say without a buyer, reducing this way costs and delivery times. To build a custom yacht is for sure more complex and riskier for the shipyard just because the project is unique. On the other hand, the possibility to work with different architects and to bring to life unique and exclusive projects represents for the construction brand a way to grow in terms of quality and image.”

 What is a Custom Yacht?

Baglietto Yachts,
Image caption: Baglietto 52 yacht for sale on YATCO.com

With a fully customized yacht, one can be sure that no one else will have it – it’s all about the owner. Of course, price makes a big difference in this case. It all depends on the level of customization, and what wishes the owner wants fulfilled. Building a fully customized yacht takes a lot more time – years, in fact – but everything down to the minute detail is up to the owner’s choice. For many, this process is just about as enjoyable as actual ownership, making monthly trips to the yard, working alongside the naval architect and designers, and actually creating something from nothing.

According to Fabio Ermetto at Baglietto Yachts, “Building a yacht for most of the Owners is the realization of a dream and this applies to both semi-custom and fully custom yacht owners; for a custom yacht, in particular, the owner is an integral part of the entire creative and production process, from the first sketch to the final delivery. Taking this into consideration, it is not the delivery date to be really important but the entire building process as the owner takes part in every step to create a product that will exactly meet his specific needs and will fully reflect his tastes and passions. Also, sometimes the requests are so peculiar that you can realize them only if you build a fully custom yacht.”

Reselling a Customized Yacht

When posed, how customization affects the resale of a yacht, Fabio Ermetto said, “In general terms, a custom yacht may be more difficult to resale just for the fact that it reflects the high level of personalization of its Owner that cannot be that easy to share. On the other hand, this can become an advantage for the resale in case someone wants those special characteristics he cannot find in any other yacht.”

Determining the Value of a Customized Yacht

Is a yacht’s value determined by its customized features? Fabio Ermetto replied, “It depends. The yacht’s value is the result of many different factors, from the technology fitted on board to the décor choices, from the architects involved to the brand value. An advanced level of customization represents for sure one of these factors, yet, sometimes, this can become a critical element as the yacht’s value cannot be recognized on a fluctuant market.”

Either way, semi- or fully custom, the owner will be able to participate in the build process, which is one of the more exciting parts about ownership – the journey. With a fully customized yacht, the owner(s) are much more involved. They may purchase a design that has been already created, or they might start with a naval architect and a totally blank slate.

What are your goals for yacht ownership?

If your goal is to own a yacht sooner than later, then perhaps a brokerage yacht is the way to go.

What is a Brokerage Yacht?

A brokerage yacht is another term for a pre-owned yacht, and there are plenty on the market today – in fact, as of press time, there are 5,775 yachts for sale on YATCO.com. There are 4,571 motor yachts, and 1,205 sailing yachts for sale. To help you decide what’s best for you, YATCO recommends working alongside a yacht broker. To search for a yacht broker in your area, click here for our broker finder.

If your desire is own something brand new and quick, then production is the way to go. However, if you’re patient, and want to thoroughly enjoy a longer build process and call something all your own, then full customization is the way to go.

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