Buying A Boat? Meet With Your Designer Now!
That’s it, we’re buying the boat! This exciting statement is quickly followed by countless decisions to be made, including how you plan to use your yacht, what changes you want to make, and what is needed to transform the acquisition into your new home on the water. Whether the yacht you’re purchasing is brand new or previously owned, or if you plan to build your own, the most important part of the deal doesn’t end when you get the keys. Now more than ever, the most critical step in buying a yacht is to meet with your designer as early as possible.
Timing Is Everything
Consulting with your yacht designer at the earliest stages of the transaction involves so much more than choosing fabrics and window treatments. Your yacht designer will oversee the space planning of your yacht. He or she not only knows the intricacies of each space and the yacht’s optimal layout, your designer understands the order in which things like flooring, lighting, furniture, tile and entertainment need to be installed. Like the conductor of a grand symphony, your yacht designer should work with you from the earliest stages of the project to ensure every aspect of the design – whether it is simple outfitting or a complete interior refit – is scheduled, delivered and installed on time.
Any delay – whether it’s a preferred stone that is out of stock, a late installation or a staffing shortage – will cause a domino effect in any project. But now more than ever, unforeseen delivery or manufacturing delays and shortages brought on by the pandemic, can have an impact on some of the most basic and essential items, which can wreak havoc on and even completely stall your project. Planning ahead and allowing for time to address surprise hiccups is critical. We cover some of the delays we’ve experienced during the pandemic in my blog post: Uncharted Waters: How the Pandemic is Affecting the Yachting Industry and Refit Projects.
Plan Your Space
How do you see yourself using your yacht? Want to gather the whole family in the galley? Envision romantic evenings on the aft deck by the fire pit? The more specific the vision for your new yacht, the more planning needs to go into its layout. With the 100’ Nordhavn Serenity project, we had the luxury of working with the client from the earliest stages of the planning process.
Serenity’s owner enjoys cooking for his family and gathering in the kitchen, so we enlarged the galley of his new build by moving the bulkhead further aft to make it as large as possible while still keeping enough space in the salon for a large sofa for lounging.
The salon had to be comfy for the family to spread out, with a dining table big enough to accommodate everyone.
Since the yacht was envisioned for spending time with family, the owners specified the area normally fitted out as a skylounge to be the master suite and designated the main-deck stateroom as the VIP.
Because we worked on these important layout requests at the earliest stages of the project, it allowed us to accomplish a lot in the layout before getting down to the nitty gritty design features
Aboard the Nordhavn Vivie Rae II, the owner wanted to turn the skylounge area into a convertible stateroom so we incorporated space to have a closet and installed a sofa with a pull-out bed.
This owner also wanted to do a lot of interesting things with glass and light – aspects that needed to be addressed very early on in the project!
Set Realistic Expectations
While projects can encounter delays and setbacks during “normal” times, the pandemic has caused a wide array of delays that has affected everything from labor to raw materials to the most bizarre and unexpected items!
Not only are all of the shipyards extremely busy answering to the explosive demand for new builds and refit work, a continued labor shortage compounds the delays. Every day something comes up that I would never have expected to happen in almost 25 years of working in yacht design. For example, for the first time ever there is a global shortage of the raw material that makes the Soundown IVF insulation barrier for floors and a shortage of the Treadmore carpet padding we normally use. Obviously flooring is an important part of the project! My trusted floor installer found an acceptable substitute for both, even though it’s not something we normally use but our choice in this situation is to delay the project indefinitely or make a compromise.
Then there’s the shortage or unavailability of materials – and it’s not just raw materials. From furniture to flooring the delays are random and at times inexplicable. I’ve started seeing a shortage of foam for mattresses and furniture, and we recently even had to stockpile shoe baskets!
For the interior refit of the 112’ Westport Wild Kingdom, we couldn’t get the flooring and furniture we wanted in time for the owners’ planned cruise, so we had to compromise and install carpeting and repurpose existing furniture and hope that everything we ordered arrives on schedule for Phase II!
112′ Westport Wild Kingdom
I will never compromise on quality, but there have been a lot of other types of compromises made over the last year and a half and with the ever-changing availability of inventory, deliveries and staffing. As we continue to navigate the effects of the global pandemic, it is more important than ever to plan ahead and meet with your designer as early as possible for the best outcome!