Art of the Deal Page 3

Art of the Deal

Part 3: “Tiara’s at the top of the list every time.”

By Kim Kavin — February 2004


Photo: Courtesy Ken Olsen
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• Part 1: Tiara 5200
• Part 2: Tiara 5200
• Part 3: Tiara 5200

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He decided on a 55-foot Viking motoryacht, which he kept for three years before moving up again, to a 63-foot Viking motoryacht. Three more years passed, and he bought his fifth boat in 15 years, a brand-new, 60-foot Viking sport yacht. He’d come thisclose to getting an 80-footer, but decided to stick with the LOA range he felt he could handle easily at the helm and during cleanup at the dock.

After all, he was averaging two trips a week with clients after work, starting around 5 p.m. and ending after 8. “The owner of the company loved it,” Olsen says. “He was getting a long day out of me.”

A few years ago Olsen realized he was nearing retirement. He wanted to stay in boating but would have to support the lifestyle on his own for the first time in nearly two decades, so he made a list of the favorite qualities he’d found in his boats over the years.

Isinglass was a turnoff, as were biminis and canvas enclosures. “I wanted to pull into the dock, tie up, and walk away,” he says. “No rolling or unrolling.” Speed was important, too, in New York to outrun weather and in the Bahamas to zip among the islands.

Most important, though, was quality. For the first time in his boating life, he would be footing all the bills if things went wrong. That’s what led him to his new 5200. “If you want to protect your investment, see who loses value the slowest,” he says. “Tiara’s at the top of the list every time.”

He called a Florida dealer to buy the boat, and after some negotiations, at age 60, Olsen took home the first new boat he ever bought just for himself, Hull No. 3. Shortly thereafter he embarked on a two-week, 600-NM tour of the Bahamas. No clients, no business. Just some good old-fashioned relationship-building with his wife and a few friends.

After decades of trading into different boats every three years, Olsen finally seems content. “I think this is at least a five-year boat,” he says with a smile.

Well, at least as content as someone can be when the real fun is the art of the deal itself.

Previous page > Part 2: “I signed a lot of really nice contracts on that boat. It was a very effective business tool.” > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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