“Well, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one” (Harry Callahan)

 

2nd of August 2017

When Will LVMH Try to Takeover or Buy the Feadship De Vries Group?

LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault does not seem like a man who is happy owning less than half of the Feadship brand

(Royal Van Lent). I don’t know if the De Vries family has any intention to sell. But if so, LVMH seems the most logical

choice. Provided Mr Arnault makes them a very attractive offer

Feadship orderbooks are full. The company is doing well and Royal De Vries wants to expand their Makkum XL facility

with a second large covered drydock.

Better to sell ones company during a hausse, than during a recession

 

2nd of August 2017

Amazon.com Valuation

I know, the Central Banks policy experiment towards zero percent interest rates has created many investment bubbles.

One of them seems to be Amazon. The company has very low profit margins. Stock market valuation of Amazon is up

to an insane 500 billion US dollars.

Either the company will be extremely profitable very soon, or it’s a giant bubble

In Holland the market leader is Bol.com. Quite similar to Amazon. But: the concept of a website and sending customers

their ordered pruducts can be copied easily.

Dutch company Coolblue has done so, and is rapidly gaining market share. Leader Bol.com is often very expensive,

and their website mediocre with lots of errors and not enough information about the products they try to sell

Why can’t Amazon end up in the same situation? I think stock wise it will end in a financial implosion

 

2nd of August 2017

Taxi App Uber….

What is the hype all about? First: a very odd and unsympathetic company name, Uber. Sounds like Uber Alles, or

Ubermensch. Feels very negative

Second: the company loses money, and has very poor management. Their concept and software (App) can be

replicated quite easily

I tried the Uber website. A short taxi ride in my area would cost about 50 euros. Way too much for the average Dutch

person or family. Only affordable for a small group of people and companies

Investors value Uber at many billions of dollars. Seems like an extremely risky investment to me….

 

17th of January 2017

Superyacht Depreciation / Resale Value

Information / opinion published by Dutch business monthly Quote in September of 2014: they asked Holland Yacht

Partners broker Derk Rolff how much a new yacht would be worth upon sale. Even less than I expected  🙂

The used boat market changes with the Global Economy so it’s not mathematics but still:

Value of your new build yacht if you want to sell it: according to Mr Rolff it used to be “about half” of the new price,

but at the time of the interview he estimated it at “one third”. But only if the megayacht was built by a top quality yard

 

For lesser yachts if was even more terrible. a 2008 built Mangusta would not even fetch a quarter of the new price.

Psychology wise it appears similar to buying a new car: an emotion driven egotrip (Rare collector exotics excluded)

As we say in The Netherlands: You might as well throw your money directly into the water  😉

 

14th of January 2017

Keep It Simple Stupid

Spectacular and fascinating car, the Tesla Model X. But….although I am a Tesla fan and admire Elon Musk greatly….

why did he ignore the KISS rule? Elon often claims electric cars are more simple than traditional ones. Not so Model X.

Electric cars are supposedly more reliable. Not so with Model X. Just look at the Falcon Doors. Impressive and unique!

But probably a financial nightmare for the 2nd and 3rd owners….with normal doors Model X would be been on the market

much sooner;

And would have been lighter, much less expensive, safer, and far more reliable.

What about ergonomics? Imagine the salesperson having to explain how to open a bloody car door! If the sensors work

that is….could be a warranty claim disaster for Tesla. I really hope he stops making things unnecessarily complicated with

Model 3 and Model Y

As Toyota once stated: Reliability isn’t everything, but without it there’s nothing

 

14th of January 2017

Why Do Old Men Want To “Save” Rusty Rotten Boats or Cars?

Usually a complete waste of money: such people end up spending two or three times the market value on an old highly

problematic car or yacht. Why do they feel the need to “save” old junk? Financially it doesn’t make any sense, so some

psychological effect or disorder seems to play a major role.

Maybe they long for compliments once their project is finished?

Perhaps they think in the old days everything was better?

To prove the quality of the brand or model they are obsessed with is superior?

 

They often talk like the old wreck they have found is a live thing. As if it were a child. Some guys even refer to their yacht

as their “baby”. Go figure. Such boats mostly end up for sale within six months after the ship is completed. Weird.

Why not save people, animals or ecosystems? In short, save LIFE! Instead of an old piece of crap that should have been

recycled many years ago

 

6th of January 2017

Worst Motorists on Dutch Roads? Belgians!

I live in an area with quite a lot of tourists: mainly Dutch, German and Belgian. German drivers? No problem. Disciplined

and professional. Belgian motorists? Total and utter cunts to be honest.

Usually they have no idea where they are, or where they are going. Not familiar with navigation systems. Never switch

on Daytime Running Lights. Often drink-and-drive. Unpredictable way of driving. Mostly doing 60 where 80 is allowed.

Or 75 when signs indicate 100.

Roads signs? Completely new phenomenon to them. Coming to a complete standstill at a roundabout to stare at them?

Check. Apparently they “learn” to drive by getting lessons from they aunts or uncles. It shows.

Border security: I’m all for it! Belgian tourists should only be allowed in Holland if they use Public Transport   🙂

 

29th of August 2015

Superyacht Build Quality versus Reliability

Audi A4 Lars Erik Skrefsrud 99pc

Flickr photo by Lars Erik Skrefsrud

I think there are many similarities between the car industry and luxury yacht building. Take for example Audi. One of the

German “Premium” brands. Inspect a new A4/A6/A8 and you will noticed excellent fit and finish and above average

materials used. But does that automatically mean a superior reliability? In Audi’s case, no. Usually a good quality gas

engined Honda or Toyota will on average give owners less problems and less repair costs than many cars costing

twice as much.

Now what about superyachts and megayachts? Extreme complexity usually means more maintenance and a higher

risk of malfunctions. Sure, building a custom boat is very different from car mass production. One yacht industry CEO

said about custom building that it is like creating a one off prototype.

 

The Toyota Prius has loads of electronics and is a complex piece of machinery. Yet at the same time highly reliable.

Some manufacturers design properly, test thoroughly and build meticulously.

In my opinion yachts with the highest price, most complex technology and best materials used aren’t necessarily the

most trouble free boats. Some yards can make it all work, others are less successful. Owners should accept that

asking for unproven complexity and new technology sometimes means more problems.

 

29th of August 2015

Innovation: Yard Driven or Client Driven?

Venus and KLM boeing 747 BW 50pc two

Some yachts are referred to as “innovative”. Yards are praised for the new materials used, or new technology on board.

In the car industry this innovation comes mainly from manufacturers with a lot of help from their subcontractors. And: car

builders sometimes innovate because they want to improve or stand out, but also because they have to meet new

environmental or safety regulations.

But what about yacht yards? Innovative ships, such as Feadship De Vries’ Venus, Oceanco’s Y714 Project Solar or

Royal huisman’s Hybrid Ethereal. I think it’s mostly client driven innovation. In contrast to car builders, these yards usually

don’t produce loads of boats and then hope to find buyers for them. They more or less have to wait until someone

approaches them with a request to construct something unusual.

After that it’s up to them and other specialized subcontractors to turn the clients’ dreams into reality.

 

27th of August 2015

Price Is What You Pay. Value Is What You Get

Procyon Loodswezen BW 99pc

Photo by Stan Muller shows the Dutch Pilot Service ship Pollux. L x B x D: 81.2 x 13.3 x 4.5m or 266 x 43.6 x 14.8 ft.

Gross Tonnage: 2,501 GT. Price / cost:  33 million euros

Accommodation for 35 crew and pilots. 16.5 kn max speed. Pollux was christened in September 2013. Diesel electric

engines. Double bow thrusters and double steering and propulsion systems for maximum reliability.

This ship has the same price as some (relatively) small 499 GT motoryachts.

Pollux was built by Dutch yard Barkmeijer Stroobos

 

27th of August 2015

Fantastically Ground Breaking Amazing Superyacht!

Exaggeration blog photo

Ever noticed all the superlatives commonly used by glossy yachting magazines? “Sublimely”, “Masterful”,

“Boundary-Pushing”. Since they describe about every megayacht they review in such a way, those words have little

meaning. But does all that ass kissing work? Are owners who read such stuff really naive enough to believe that nonsense?

I’m afraid so. Many owners long for glamorous media attention. They enjoy reading all praise of “journalists” sucking up

to them. Why? It’s an ego trip I think.

 

They actually seem to believe their yacht is really something special. And could only be created by “an experienced

yachtsman” like themselves. Usually they take their flashy luxury toys very serious and have limited self-mockery.

What carefree lives they must lead if they can afford to worry if their megayacht has a 99.8% perfect paint job instead

of a 99 percent one! Imagine being over forty years of age and still thinking such stuff is important in a human life.

Amazing indeed.

 

27th of August 2015

Megayacht Design: Styling versus Safety

Railing less stern megayacht 70pc BW

Designers have to create something owners want. Otherwise they would be out of business very quickly. So I think it’s

the owners who are mainly responsible for relative unsafe superyachts. They seem to prefer a certain slick look over

better ergonomics and superior safety.

Examples: ridiculously small helicopter decks. With a very low railing, or no railing at all . Compare that to navy vessels’

heli decks…

Open steps of a staircase instead of closed ones. One side only handrail versus both sided. Or stern decks without

any railing whatsoever. Looks “clean” but unsafe for crew to work on, especially at in the dark after many hours on duty.

Some yachts look spectacular, but are extremely difficult and risky for the crew to clean.

Limited visibility from an “overstyled” bridge with restricted sight lines makes navigating and mooring troublesome.

 

It’s all within the rules and regulations, but I think safety on board yachts could be much better if owners would take

the matter seriously.

 

26th of August 2015

Superyachts and Prostitutes

Bikini A yacht

Yachting magazines and websites can’t always report on this subject. They would probably like to, as the combination

of sex and money usually results in more sales or clicks. But owners, charterers and builders aren’t happy when one of

their boats gets media attention because of prostitutes. And since advertisements and cooperation of yacht yards are

of great importance to such media, they have to be very carefull what to report. (Or end up getting sued)

 

Just some interesting stories I found online:

“A well known movie producer” beat up prostitutes on board a megayacht

(Not sure if motoryacht Octopus was actually involved)

Models and call girls in town for the Cannes Film Festival

International ring of prostitutes operating on classic motoryacht Savarona

Four prostitutes and a male gigolo in Monte Carlo

Marbella’s Puerto Banus even has a brothel overlooking the marina. How convenient

 

26th of August 2015

Why Build a Custom Motoryacht or Sailingyacht?

Feadship 690 Sleepbedrijf Bootsma BW

Photo by sleepbedrijf Bootsma

Suppose you want a yacht that really looks different. Such as Feadship De Vries’ Venus or motoryacht Savannah.

Then you have no choice but to have it specifically designed and built for you. This usually takes more time and is more

expensive them buying “off the shelf” so to speak. Some projects take half a decade from design to delivery.

 

But the majority of custom built yachts tend to look exactly like the the average motor or sailing yacht. Why go through

a more difficult buying process if the end result is so similar? To the average person having a look around a superyacht

marina nearly all motoryachts look the same: tri deck, white, same proportions, same layout (Crew accommodated like

factory farmed animals near the bow, and the cliche salons/dining rooms/owners suites etc) and identical styling.

So why do some owners insist on buying custom?

I think it has a lot to do with status and prestige (“You own a production boat, we have a Feadship/Huisman/Lurssen”…),

and the universal human desire to distinguish themselves from others.

 

26th of August 2015

Boat International Magazine promotes Sadistic Hobby Hunting

Ian Robertson flickr coral reef fish

Photo by Ian Robertson/Flickr

In this article Boat International Magazine promotes the hours long torture and killing of these beautiful sea creatures.

Such a lack of respect says a lot about people or a publication I think. Such a pity when people with loads of money

(And spare time) can’t think of anything better to do than travel the world killing and destroying as much as they can.

Would be so much more constructive if they had a positive attitude and respect all life on our planet.

As if these animals already didn’t have enough to endure from overfishing, water pollution, global warming, and all

plastic trash in the oceans.

Apparently the people of Boat International publication have no conscience, no morals, and no interest whatsoever to

protect sea life. They display a sickening mentality purely based on egoism, greed and sadism.

 

In my opinion hobby and trophy hunters belong in jail. If they consider themselves to be Christians, how come they

treat God’s creation with such total disdain and lack of respect?

Needless to say I never buy such magazines, and have doubts about companies that advertise in them.

 

25th of August 2015

A “Green” or “Eco” megayacht?

SAVANNAH side front port side BW 80pc

Some yachting magazines were jubilant about how “green” and eco friendly Feadship’s motoryacht Savannah would be.

But is this boat really as “clean” as the builders and their comrades claim? Yes a hybrid propulsion system and just one

main engine will reduce fuel consumption and emissions. But…the yacht is still full of toxic paint. and has many square

meters of exotic woods on board. How many tropical rainforest trees were destroyed for this ship? It burns less diesel,

but if the owner had been serious about setting an example he should have ordered a sailing yacht.

 

On the one hand it’s a step forward to see some owners (Still a very small percentage alas) to even think about air

pollution and climate change. On the other hand: it’s still a yacht full of environmentally unfriendly materials ordered by

an owner who is active in the oil and mining business. Both of which are highly polluting and destructive for the planet

and our ecosystem

 

25th of August 2015

Megayacht Lifestyle: Escapism from The Real World

Antibes Picasso DMY 80pc

Money can not only buy you a superyacht, but also an existence outside “normal” life. A boat with a crew that cooks,

cleans and entertains for you. Tenders to bring you to exclusive hotels with armed guards, and even more staff than on

the yacht. A helicopter to fly you to the closest airport, where a private jet is waiting. Lots of costs, lots of status but why

this desire to be outside the real world? Fear? Perhaps they want to avoid ordinary society and life?

Superyachts and their specific destinations are a safe and secluded world, but also artificial. No wonder some

“one percent” members appear detached from reality.

 

25th of August 2015

Superyachts and Privacy

Cannes port pcanto tender 50pc

Recently someone from Oceanco stated that their contracts nearly had more pages outlining all privacy requirements

than about the yachts themselves. On the one hand owners want to build ships that attract a lot of (media) attention.

Yet at the same time demand that their name and photo be kept secret or confidential. These two seems at odds with

each other.

Even more so than a private jet or a flashy expensive car, a megayacht probably is the most visible outing of wealth.

If owners or charterers really were concerned about their privacy, why be on board large gleaming yachts in the first place?

And have the boat moored stern first in small marinas with lots of tourists? It seems such people want to be seen,

or show off. Yet also remain anonymous.

Perhaps for some owners and guests their people (Or voters, taxpayers or customers..) would react in a negative way

if they found out about such extreme luxury spending?

 

30th of March 2015

Dutch yacht yard locations

Amels yard cr 60pc

Feadship recently got a lot of media attention for transporting two large yachts, Savannah and Symphony from the inland

located yards to open water. On the one hand an impressive logistical feat. On the other hand it once again showed how

unpractical the facilities at Kaag island and Aalsmeer are. Many draft/beam and length restrictions. Both for construction

and transport of yachts to sea.

Unfortunately this applies to many Dutch yards. Nearly everyone in the yachting industry was aware of the ever increasing

size of yachts. But many were surprised by the speed of this trend. If say in 2005 someone told you that in 2015 a 141m

(462 ft) sailing yacht would be under construction in Turkey;

Plus a 147m (482 ft) sailing yacht in Germany, and that designer Ken Freivokh would be working on a 150m (492 ft) sailing

yacht with an IMAX theatre on board, people would have said you were nuts

 

It’s not only the new construction orders that are missed because of inconveniently located yards, refit projects of large

yachts often cannot take place in Holland due to draft, length and beam restrictions.

Refit work is essential during times with few or no new orders. In my opinion only AMELS, Oceanco, and ICON have proper

and ideally located deep water accessible facilities. (De Vries XL Makkum is nearly as good location wise)

The other builders have to be very creative or lose customers

 

30th of March 2015

High End car factories vs shipyards

McLaren building air BW 30pc McLaren factory aerial photo BW 30pcMcLaren technology centre BW650 factory production BW

Photos courtesy of McLaren   Manufacturers of very expensive cars, private jets and superyachts often have the same

clients. What surprised me is how different many shipyards are from, for example, a top quality brand like McLaren.

It doesn’t look romantic, but I think Ron Dennis’ approach is the only way to go. No one wants to go back to the days

when TVR almost litterally threw cars together in some farm shed.

I’m not going to mention names, but the are quite a few yards where everything seems to date from the seventies or

eighties. I know, its the proper engineering, craftsmanship and experience of the people who work there that really make

the difference. But still. The contrast between the shiny new very complex high tech yacht and the often old and neglected

looking facilities is remarkable.

 

30th of March 2015

Designer’s logos or signatures on large yachts

Madame Gu Feadship logo BW 40pcFeadship Tim Heywood signature BW 30pc

This has been a trend for several years now. What’s really surprising is that it hasn’t happened sooner. In the car industry

logos from Italian designers such as Pininfarina, Ghia, Bertone or Giugiaro have been on sportscars and GTs for decades.

Yet I wonder who in the yachting industry came up with the idea: designer, owner or yard?

In general the names of the interior designers are still missing on the outside of such boats. Considering the size of these

ships, room for more signatures and advertising shouldn’t be a problem   😉

 

30th of March 2015

Yard slogans…

Piazzale Michelangelo Firenze BW

Not all Dutch yards put a slogan on their website, or with their Twitter/Facebook accounts. But the ones that do usually

have chosen a decent one:

 

AMELS: “The Art of Yacht Building” and: “Excellence at Sea”

Feadship: “Royal Dutch Shipyards”

Claasen Shipyards: “High Up wind, Down to Earth”

Hakvoort: “Perfection in Aluminium and Steel”

Royal Huisman: “No Ordinary Custom Shipyard”

ICON: “Dutch Master Yachtbuilders”

Moonen: “Inventive by Tradition”

Jetten Yachting: “Built to Enjoy”

 

But some are a bit weird or awkward:

 

Acico Yachts: “From Holland with Love”

Sounds friendly but has little to do with yachting. For all you know they could be selling chocolate, tulips or contraceptives

Heesen Yachts: “Beyond Belief”

I wonder how many meetings they had before someone came up with such a strange slogan? If, on a beautiful sunny

afternoon, you were standing on the Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking the centre of Florence and the hills surrounding

that marvelous city. I’d say #BeyondBelief is quite accurate. But with motorboats, it sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

 

30th of March 2015

Yachts you can’t (yet) buy from Dutch yards

Princess V85-S motoryacht

Photo courtesy of Princess Yachts   The Dutch yachting industry offers customers a very broad range of custom

and (semi) production boats: sailing or motor, from say 15m (50 ft) up to 180m (590 ft). But: what types of yacht are not

being built in Holland?

First: catamarans or SWATH boats: apparently not enough demand and the extreme width is a problem for many

yards/sheds/drydocks/locks and bridges

Second: production GRP or carbon sailing yachts over 24m or 80 ft in length. This is a pity as for instance Finnish brands

Nautor and Baltic, and UK’s Oyster do offer such boats.

 

Third and most important category: sporty sleek and fast GRP motoryachts from 18m (60 ft) up to 45m (150 ft). This is

a very popular segment. Huge business. Not only the Italians but also the British (Princess, Sunseeker, Fairline) excel

in this part of the yachting market. It seems the Dutch yards lack the know-how, and/or are either unwilling or unable to

get funding for necessary investments and facilities.

In terms of costs the English manufacturers are probably quite similar to the the price levels in Holland.

Building such motoryachts in steel or aluminium is great, and a Dutch tradition, but why ignore such an important

(and huge) part of the market? Not everyone wants an expensive custom or semi production motorboat. Nothing wrong

with combining more flamboyant styling, GRP construction and Dutch quality and experience.

 

29th of March 2015

Yachting “awards”….

Fake boat trophy BW 70pc

In case you wondered why I never pay attention to the seemingly endless number of Yacht Awards being handed out:

It’s basically a classic case of “we-kiss-your-ass, you-kiss-ours”. The more yards advertise in certain magazines, the

greater the chance of them getting a lot of prizes. Whenever you see one of those cliche photos of men in tuxedos

holding trophies: they themselves paid for what they “won”.

Why do yards and designers like such awards? Publicity.

Why do magazines and organisations hold award ceremonies: they need content and publicity. A mag can report three

times about just one award: who is nominated, who wins, and “this is what the award show evening looked like!”

“My boat has won a prize!” Perhaps it makes some owners or charterers happy?

I think handing out such yachting “awards” is a load of incestuous horse manure, so I ingore them completely    🙂

 

29th of March 2015

Why did French luxury conglomerate LVMH buy Royal van Lent in 2008?

Van Lent yard BW 40pc

According to the Financial Times Van Lent was sold to LVMH for somewhere between 200 and 400 million euros.

Wikipedia states a sum of around 250 million euros. Feadship collegues De Vries smartly expanded their operations

by buying the former AMELS yard in Makkum in 2005. This enables them to build and refit large yachts in a convenient way.

The traditional locations of both Feadship partners, at Kaag island and Aalsmeer, aren’t the most practical for bigger ships

due to draft, length and beam restrictions. Looking at the ever increasing size of both motor and sailing yachts, why hasn’t

LVMH invested in a new Van Lent XL facility with proper deep water access?

 

In sixteen years, from 2000 up to and including the three launches scheduled for 2015, Van Lent has built 26 boats.

On average 1.6 yachts per year. Not a growth business. Perhaps LVMH thinks there are not enough new orders for

extra capacity? The French company is very profitable (Around 4 billion euros per year). Financially a (for them) small

investment in the Dutch yard shouldn’t be a problem.

It seems LVMH is satisfied with the current relatively stable situation and perhaps just bought the company

for reasons of prestige or image?