Nicolas Harvey, president of Jeanneau America, has been deeply involved in the introduction of the French company’s powerboat lines to the U.S. over the last 13 years. He began with the Lagoon series of power catamarans, and more recently helped to bring us the stern drive-equipped NC yachts, as well as the diesel inboard and pod-equipped lines that include Prestige, Velasco, and Leader. Harvey’s market insights have helped first-time motoryacht buyers find the right model for their lifestyles.
What trends are you seeing among big-boat buyers?
Today’s motoryacht buyers are looking for the most versatile yacht available, a boat that can be operated by a couple while handling four to six guests in total comfort and luxury. Less is more for many owners this year, particularly for those looking for clean, contemporary lines and open-plan interiors that will hold their appeal and value over time.
Big, plush, high-backed seating has given way to comforable seating with low backs, along with lower built-in cabinetry. These design features maximize the amount of visibility available through larger side windows in the main saloon. Dedicated interior access is on the rise, such as a stairway to the flybridge from the lower pilothouse. It offers convenience and weather protection for those who don’t wish to climb an outside ladder. Another popular feature is a spiral staircase that leads down to the master suite as it ensures private access.
What are some of the exciting new features in the larger yacht segment?
Gyro stabilizers, frequent must-haves over the last several years, have become more standard—owners want their families to have a positive experience when conditions are less than perfect. Joystick-linked propulsion engines and thrusters, or independently azimuthing IPS or Zeus drives, are expected now more than ever before, and their convenience when docking or maneuvering in close quarters is vital and unquestioned.
Large boatbuilders with global customer bases will almost always offer crew’s quarters, or a space which can be converted into crew’s quarters. Hiring a captain, a chef, or a deckhand increasingly makes sense for owners who may want to relieve their workload when entertaining, passagemaking, or taking care of annual maintenance.
What advice would you give to someone shopping for a larger motoryacht in Miami?
Think fuel efficiency. Even though fuel prices have been holding steady at modest levels, that’s a condition that will not last. Fuel efficiency will play an even bigger part in the development of future boat designs, and builders will be working even more closely with engine manufacturers to help keep the costs of operating and maintaining a boat affordable. Don’t hesitate to compare fuel consumption on different boats with fuel capacity. Larger volume may seem beneficial, but it may also be the sign of a heavier boat that requires more fuel. (continued)
How do you help a new boater find the right boat?
As an owner goes up in size, the amenities aboard increase, but so do the systems, some of which are necessary, while some are just nice to have. We try to help the owner define just what it is they want to do with the boat. We’ll help a buyer determine if a certain model has the volume necessary to carry the people, food and equipment he is planning for. We’ll discuss whether one or two engines will get the owner to a specific destination and back in the time allowed, and whether one or two generators will be necessary to power the comfort systems needed for the area where they plan to use the boat.