I recently had the pleasure of being the first superyacht journalist to interview the owner of the beautiful Clarity, built by Bilgin Yachts. An excerpt was published on the new SuperyachtNews.com website - http://www.superyachtnews.com/owner/a-bit-of-clarity Read the full article below
A Little Bit Of Clarity
Ellie Brade sat down with the owner of 48.7m Clarity, in his first interview with superyacht media, to discuss the importance of crew, undertaking a hands on build and wanting something different from the norm.
When the time came to upgrade in yacht size the owner of 48.7m Clarity – let’s call him Mr C – wanted something a little different. Having first got into yachting with a Sea Ray 38’ his next yacht was a 26.52m Johnson 87 but after ten years of ownership and wanting to spend more time on board with family and friends, that yacht was no longer big enough. “When I started the search for something new I was looking at the regular boats that everyone considers, but to be honest they all looked the same,” he says. “When you buy a yacht you’re spending a lot of money, but then you pull into a harbour and every yacht is identical. That’s not to say that they’re not good boats, because they are, but I just wanted something a bit more unique, so that’s when we decided to find something a bit more one off.”
Searching around the 40-45m mark Mr C was drawn to the design of the Bilgin 160 Classic model, from Turkish yard Bilgin Yachts, thanks to her classic styling that made her unique from other yachts. “I always had a tendency of liking the 1930/40s style, like the old glory days of Hollywood, and that’s what drew me to the design,” he says. With the yard having already delivered the first model in this line, Timeless (ex M&M), this proved an invaluable reference point for the build of Clarity. “I visited Timeless and although I really liked the exterior design, we wanted to change a lot of the interior layout and design.” Mr C worked closely with the yard team to reconfigure the layout, moving the crew quarters aft, adding a split level master suite forward and changing a lot of the engineering and wheelhouse. “That work made it a completely different yacht and although M&M and Clarity look alike from the outside, that’s where the similarity ends.”
During the search for a new yacht, there were several other options that Mr C considered but in the end it was the fact that Bilgin had already completed the hull of the yacht that influenced the final decision on where to build. “They had an eight-month time advantage over all the other designs we were looking at and it made the decision an easy one.” This example is a good demonstration that if a yard is confident that it will sell a model then pre-construction of the hull, ahead of sale, can be a very beneficial exercise and a strong selling point for potential owners.
Throughout the build Mr C was focused on ensuring he was hands on, keeping a team, including a build engineer, on the ground in Istanbul. “If you are undertaking a new build then supervision, and having the right people to do that, is key,” he says. “If you leave everything to the builder, no matter who they are or what they say, at the end of the day they are there to make profit and no supervision means that by human nature they are going to take shortcuts.” The end result was well worth it and, considering it was his first custom new build, Mr C feels it was a positive experience. “I don’t think boat building can ever be described as easy but it was a reasonable build and Bilgin were very co-operative with what we wanted to do.”
On top of remaining hands on during a build, the biggest lesson Mr C has learnt from ownership, both during and prior to owning Clarity, is the importance of getting your crew right. “Above anything else one of the most common themes I hear from other owners is the subject of crew, it seems that crew are either really great or really awful and when it’s the latter it turns a very expensive hobby into an unhappy experience,” he says. “When I first started owning a yacht one of the things that I often heard very early on from other owners is, ‘we don’t talk to the crew or get familiar with them,” and I really feel that you are spending so much time with them you should get to know them and that will result in them caring and you getting a better result,” he says. “Once you’ve found a great crew it’s really imperative that you have a great relationship with them but that you also have your boundaries too, and keep it professional.” Mr C is very happy with the captain and crew he has on board Clarity and says that this, above all else, is what ensures that his time on board the yacht is time well spent. “You are trusting your crew with a very expensive asset. If you had a company that was of similar value to that asset you would have a very professional team managing that business, so I don’t see the difference when it comes to yachting,” he continues. “The better people you have, the more you will enjoy that asset.”
Clarity has just been placed on the charter market, debuting at the Newport Charter Yacht Show in June 2016, and Mr C is hoping to secure at least four or five charters a year. “We’re not going to be a heavy charter boat as it’s always nice to have so many weeks of charter to alleviate some of the costs, but I didn’t get into ownership as a business, I got into it because enjoy it.”
Spending enough time on the yacht is always a challenge when paired with running a business, but Mr C has enjoyed several stays on board since taking delivery. “I would have to say that my biggest luxury is time, it’s something we all never have enough of, and a yacht ties in perfectly with that,” he says. “Advances in technology mean that I can spend much more time on board than I could in the past as I can properly keep in touch with work – five years ago I could never have spent a full month on board the yacht, but now I can.”
Since the yacht was delivered it has spent time in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and north east America, with Greece a particular favourite with Mr C. Future plans include a return visit to the Mediterranean as well as time around the Caribbean, where Mr C is based. “If we go back to the Med we aren’t going to do the milk run again,” he says. ““I’d quite like to do Venice because I think Clarity would look absolutely spectacular in Venice, she would be a real showstopper.” Being able to take the yacht to such a variety of destinations is, for Mr C, the best part of ownership and something he intends to keep making the most of. “A yacht is, essentially, a fantastic mobile home and the freedom of being able to go anywhere and wake up in some incredible places means that when you own a yacht the world really is your oyster.”