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Boat show was big on yachts and little on discounts

By Dian Vujovich

Being a value shopper, I figured by going to the boat show a few hours before it closed on Sunday would yield some attractive pricing on a floating vessel. For the most part, that wasn’t the case.


It’s clear that promoters of this year’s Palm Beach International Boat Show were overcome with joy at the response to this four-day event. In addition to who knows how much was racked up in the sales of yachts and ordinary people’s vessels, cocktails and food, Mother Nature did her part by adorning the party with perfect weather.


By the time I arrived, $20 parking could be had for a fraction less, no one was lined up at the ATM machines and few of the boat loan booths were beginning to take the brochures out of their tents. If this were an ordinary show, those might have been clues to the likelihood of picking up a little 100+ foot ditty for say  $500,000 less. Not so.


As much as I know how incredibly fantastic I would look whipping around the waterways in one of Ferretti’s oh-so sexy Riva’s, it was a bigger yacht I had my eyes on. And instead of picking the priciest, I decided not to spend as much and choose the Westport W130.


Similar to entering a Buddhist temple, all the yachts at the show required taking your shoes off and leaving them behind. You also had to sign in—-something you don’t have to do when entering said temple.


I hadn’t had a recent pedicure, so figured it would be too vulgar of me to go onboard. After all, all I was really interested in was getting a deal.


Priced at $21.1 million, the sales person I spoke with wasn’t about to budge on price. And even though only three of these yachts are made a year, and this model was considered “new” although it was built n 2013, I was more than a little disappointed in no price wiggle room. Particularly when you consider the fact that it’s probably going to cost another $1.5 million a year to maintain this baby when crew, insurance, dockage, etc. etc. are figured in.


All of which got me to thinking: How much money does one have to have to be able to afford a $20+million dollar yacht? Certainly a fixed nest egg of $50 or $60 million won’t do. Pay for the yacht outright and that would leave someone almost penniless in no time at all.


So I’m figuring that you’ve got to have at least a 9-figure sized piggy bank to be able to afford the super yachting life. Unfortunately, I don’t have that yet.


On the other hand, if you like the style and don’t have the big bucks, there is always Flextime yacht programs. Buyers here hand over a chuck of cash, or finance the chunk, for the right to use their yacht when ever they choose than lease it out to others when its not in use. It’s a no maintenance kind of way to go and one that could bring in maybe 10 percent a year.


Decide to go that route and as it turns out, Palm Beach isn’t the best place for doing so. Capt. James Fachtmann, of Florida Yacht Group told me that Miami is a better place for doing so if picking up some income from your lux toy is what you want.


So much for end of the day deals.

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