There is a conundrum in yachting when it comes to effective yacht management support. When it is at its most effective, there are no problems. And yet that is precisely the moment some owners and captains start to consider letting it go. When it is at its least effective, when you are bombarded in problems and urgent ‘fire-fighting’ issues, that’s when those same owners and captains conclude they need it most.
Is this the ultimate reward for the ultimate in inefficiency?
“It's maybe not true to say there aren't any problems,” explains Nikolas Rabier, Fleet Manager with YPI Yacht Management, “but it is definitely true that most problems, whether they are operational, technical, legal or regulatory can be pre-empted and provided for in the planning and organisation of running any yacht".
For Stephen Heads, Captain of over 20 years' experience and Fleet Manager with YPI, that is essentially the role of any yacht manager. “Even the unexpected has clearly laid out procedures and actions to ensure optimum resolution so ultimately owners are presented with the solutions rather than the panic. One of the most rewarding comments we had from one owner this year was when he congratulated us on never having a reason to call us in a panic.”
So typically what types of problems surface when management support is failing you?
We asked some of our Captains and Owners to share some of their past experiences before coming to YPI – what they most disliked about their previous support. This is what they said:
- The Managers had an answer for everything and a solution to nothing
- I felt my Captain was still carrying the lion's share of the work
- When we needed parts they would sometimes take weeks to arrive when my Captain needed them within days, during a charter for example
- Everything concerning my yacht seemed to happen ‘unexpectedly' and therefore cost more to fix or repair
- I found too many elements or incidents which were not budgeted for
- My Captain didn't trust anything they said – and their advice would frequently conflict with his advice leaving me unsure what to do
- I didn't get regular reports and updates
- I always felt I never quite knew what I was paying for
- The Managers were nice people but they didn't understand the reality of how yachting works – often they had never even worked on yachts themselves
- It would take me ages to explain what I needed – I lost a lot of time doing this
- I felt they worked over me rather than with me. They were always competing for the Owner's ear instead of working with me as part of a team
- Their reporting was practically non-existent and their audits and checks were slapdash
- Their response time was not good – it was hard to get hold of them out-of-hours
- They weren't able to negotiate better rates or times with yards for maintenance or refit periods – I ended up doing it myself. Same thing when it came to parts and delivery
- I didn't agree with their planning for the yacht
- They rarely visited the yacht
- They couldn't think 'out of the box'
"'The Owner' congratulated us on never having a reason to call us in a panic."
Stephen Heads, YPI Fleet Manager
What makes YPI Management support effective?
For Nikolas Rabier it is relatively simple:
"We provide the same operational, technical, financial, statutory, insurance, payroll and crew services as any reputable yacht management company in this industry today. Our difference is in how we deliver those services and the level of support we offer. That changes everything."
YPI has learned many lessons over the 45 years of Management Support it has been providing generations of clients. Lessons that have resulted in constant refinement to result in the Seven Management Values below under which the team proudly operates today.
YPI'S Seven Management Values
We only recruit yacht managers with extensive previous yacht or shipping backgrounds, especially as captains or chief engineers. It ensures more efficient and effective communications with client Captains and Owners.
Our role is to work with the Owner, the Captain and his crew, to ensure the efficient and effective running of the yacht in terms of planning, spending and statutory compliance. We do not work over Captains, we work together.
This is the key to spending within budget, pre-empting problems, achieving the most competitive rates for parts and maintenance work, the best out-of-water periods, the best supplies and the best Human Resources management.
Economy of Scale
YPI maintains an extensive supplier and shipyard network through its Management, Brokerage and Charter Divisions to ensure the most cost effective rates and the fastest delivery of parts, specialists and human resources to wherever in the world they are needed.
Innovative Problem Solving
When problems or situations arise, the best solutions are found by tapping into an extensive, experienced network of minds. In YPI Management we not only have over 45 years of know-how but centuries of expertise through our parent shipping group, BRS.
No matter how technical management gets, it comes to nothing without clear, effective and regular communication between ourselves, the Captain, his Crew and the Owner. Regular reporting, yacht visits and important round-table discussions with all players, ensure we all share a common strategy, planning, execution and work-flow that results in the optimum running of the vessel.
The Devil is always in the Detail
All our yacht managers, yacht accountants, technical support staff, ISPS, ISM and MLC staff, crew placement and legal staff give ‘detail' the attention it demands to avoid future surprises for the Owner…and their wallet.
If you feel your Yacht Management Support is not working for you today, if some of the issues raised by the Owners and Captains above seem familiar, if your existing management support keeps fixing problems that never seem to go away, YPI may be able to offer you a different approach.
Here's just some of what Owners and Captains who changed to YPI Management had to say:
"I have never liked management companies. I have always seen them as just adding another level of cost and input that quite simply gets in the way of my role running the yacht. Truthfully, YPI may slowly be changing my opinion. The guys there know what they are talking about, they understand my role and they work with me. They are a natural and welcome extension to my team and they are making a difference to how we run this yacht.."
Captain Ewan Paterson, 62 metre motor yacht
"On my current yacht, YPI is involved in every aspect of the management from ISM, ISPS, MLC, Charter and crewing. Again, yacht management falls down in my opinion when there is no reporting, information share or a lack of effective planning, all these need total transparency. With the YPI team I get all the reports and updates when I need them and we work closely together. We might not always agree but I have a great respect and confidence in what the guys say, they have all worked on yachts and commercial vessels, they have worked for Lloyds or shipping companies and that experience means they approach problems and issues from all perspectives with an insight I find helps me do my job for my Owner. In short, YPI Management does what it says on the tin!."
Captain Mark Giblin, 72 metre motor yacht
"Having managed the previous vessel myself, with the Owner, we understand very well what it means to have shore-side assistance with management, accounting and ISM from YPI. We are a very busy charter yacht and don't always have the time to check all the safety/insurance and survey updates. Because of this assistance I have more peace and time to concentrate on our owners and customers for the upcoming cruises.
YPI's yacht manager for our yacht has always been a great help. Also when it comes to yard planning and budget assistance it saves us so much time. For our Owners it's good to have a very experienced yacht manager, who has been a Captain on yachts, explaining some of the maintenance and yard cost.
When things go wrong, we know that in any incident or accident we are backed up by a great team of people, professional captains with commercial and yachting backgrounds. We know this first hand when I have encountered medical and mechanical incidents over the years.
I have been working with YPI for 8 years and look forward in working together for many years to come ."
Captain Maurice Kouprie, 47 metre motor yacht
To find out more about YPI Management Support and Services, Contact:
YPI Management, or call +377 99 99 97 97