Buying a new motor yacht is a long emotional process. We found it very difficult to choose between so many models. It’s not like buying a new laptop where you have a specification on memory, screen size, or processor. Buying a laptop, for me, came down to price really. I bought a mid priced laptop that could do all that I wanted. Now buying a motor boat was a whole different kettle of fish. It’s like buying a house. We wanted something that suited our lifestyle and suited our personality. THEN, we would have to come up with the money to match that. Buying a motor boat was not a logical process. It also required visits to several marinas on the South coast of England and three visits to Italy to meet and get to understand possible “editions to the family. "
It was never simple. We had to really examine how we spent time on our old motor boat (Fairline Targa) and, more importantly, where we used it. We also had to consider how (in an ideal world) we wanted to involve the motor boat in our lives over the coming years. For example, propositions like having grandchildren on board next year would bring in safety issues that we may not have otherwise thought of. So buying a motor cruiser suddenly became a whole lot more complicated!
When looking at the different models, we could never compare apples for apples. There were always subtle differences that either enthused us toward a particular motor yacht model or turned us away from another.
All through the four month period of our search, an old friend always gave the same advice, “follow your heart! Follow your heart, and you will find the right motor boat for you. "
The criteria that I looked to meet when buying a boat was fairly simple. I looked at the overall design and line of the motor boat. If I liked it still, I looked at the performance figures. Then, I would finally look at how many people can sleep aboard. If any one or two of these boxes got ticked, I took a closer look. My wife looked at the interior and practicality of the motor boat’s design. A more logical approach, I have to admit. To her, “it’s just a motor boat and all that matters is if we will be able to fit everyone in. " This included allowing for a rather tall uncle who constantly bangs his head.
The final person included in our decision making process, our son, was mainly concerned about safety, but also wants to address the usual problems with motor boats such as noise levels and vibration, etc.
Although I lead the buying process, it was more than likely that I would have to make compromises to meet other people’s needs, but I still believed that if I followed my heart, my family would also make similar compromises on those aspects they found important.
We all knew the budget, and we all knew that we would be using it in the Mediterranean, and we all knew that we wanted three cabins. That was all we could agree on. So we looked at all of the alternatives. Firstly, with the usual suspects: Fairline, Sunseeker, and Princess, all offering options on this style of open offshore cruiser. We also looked at European Manufacturers such as Azimut, Mangusta, Windy, Conam, Cranchi, and Apreamare. All offered imaginative uses of their space. Some were well above our budget, some were surprisingly below our budget. Each manufacturer had their own line and design signatures. In my opinion, Azimut and Mangusta were well ahead of the others but fell short, in my opinion, in other areas such as space below deck, some safety issues as well as being out of our budget.
Fairline, Sunseeker and Princess all fell into our budget and ticked most of our boxes. But with all of these, there was always something not quite satisfying my criteria of design, line and style, namely the “Phwoar" factor. The other manufacturers gave imaginative solutions but seemed to fall short on build quality and finish. Another motor boat, the Conam 48, came substantially under budget whilst offering three cabins and good performance. This had me seriously thinking about it for a whole week and almost became a serious contender. My heart then told me that I would worry about resale value. More importantly, my own elitist views on owning a boat that I could be proud of and proud to be seen on. I wanted a Mercedes Benz not Ford Mondeo.
I found myself in a funny situation. I had three good options to choose from, all of them good with good customer care packages and good reputations, but none of them had the spark that I needed to ignite my passion in them. They were all good but no “Phwoar. " They were all good brands but none of them created a statement of individuality.
Then, soon after, my skipper called me from Italy. And told me that he had found THE boat that would satisfy me and my family’s needs—-style, line, within budget, build quality, safety, practicality and imaginative use of space. He gave me the website, www.gianettiyachts.co.uk , and advised me that we could have a sea trial the following week in Italy. He had visited the boat yard, had taken one of their boats out and fell in love. The boat builder was called Gianetti Yachts and had been manufacturing motor yachts for 30 years with an excellent pedigree. I was slightly dubious and asked him about the company because I had never heard of them. His answer was simple and clear: he had said they make twenty motor boats a year and did not spend millions on marketing. All of their sales come from word of mouth and repeat business. The line of the motor boat was uniquely beautiful. “Follow your heart, " he said, “you have to have a look. "
I found out that their 55 foot model had four cabins which not only fit our budget, but also handsomely suited all of our needs. I booked my £28 flight to Viareggio for the following week. Taking the time to see this very well kept secret was the best decision I had made during the whole boat buying process. I arrived in Viareggio to find that it was full of Italian designed boats and realised what the English built motor boats all lacked, the X factor. Italian design is in a separate league to British design as with most things Italian, for example cars, architecture, furniture, shoes, ice cream.
Upon arrival at the boat yard, I saw astounding images wherever I looked. I saw craftsmen taking pride in their product. I saw boats being built by hand with care and attention to detail. The three boats that were in production were the pride of everyone in the boat yard. Each boat had its own production manager, each with over twenty five years of boat building experience, overseeing every detail of the boat’s construction. I then was shown a finished 55 in the water and got a chance to see the high specification levels of the interiors. I was astounded by quality of the finish throughout. For instance, granite or marble worktops as standard instead of marble effect worktops. Solid wood units instead of laminates or veneers. Porcelain sinks instead of moulded plastic all done with Italian flair. We then took her for a spin. Then I realised that I had found The One.
At 30 knots, the builder then told me that the engine bay was doubly lined to prevent engine noise in the cockpit. I then realised that he didn’t need to shout this, he just spoke whilst doing 30 knots. In our Fairline at that speed, we would have definitely needed to shout.
Everything about the boat was ergonomic. From the chart plotter to the fridge, everything was where I wanted it.
I met the head of the company and realised that it was a family business. A very successful family business that was very happy with its product range, the levels of quality and its financial status. They did not aspire to be a mass producer of boats. They wanted to build as good a boat as they possibly could. I realised that these family built boats were stylish, immaculately finished and presented. They offered the highest standard of build quality with practical solutions to clients’ specific requirements. I realised that if I bought one of these boats, they would be building for me and only me all within my budget and my time scale.
Now I could have bought a Fairline, Princess or whoever but they did not give me 100% of what my heart wanted which is all of the things they I have talked about, 100% of what I saw that day to Viareggio at Gianetti Boat Yard. Take a look at their website and take the time to visit them in Italy.
I am not writing this to assert that they have the best boat in the world. I am writing this to say that they have the best boat in the world for me. So whatever criteria you have, you need to take the time to look at all of the options of motor boats. Some options you might not be too familiar with. They are out there and perhaps you can find a boat in a small boat yard that ticks more of your boxes than the usual brands. Buying a boat is a very important purchase and should not be limited to the usual options. After taking the time to find my magnificent motor yacht, I know that I have found the right boat for me. So follow your heart.
Peter Thornton owns a car hire marketing firm called Vroom Vroom Vroom and absolutely loves the boats built by Robert Gianetti , the owner of Gianetti Yachts.