YPI’s Asian Offices Salute Milestones
A rather unique full service yacht broker extending into Asia-Pacific waters over the last decade is Yachting Partners International. Founded 45 years ago this month, as the superyacht boom got under way, YPI has had a strong European and American presence from the outset, and since 2008 is backed by the 160-year-old French global shipbroker BRS.
None of the world’s leading private yacht agents have that sort of commercial experience and financial clout behind them. In the last five years, Yachting Partners International (YPI) sold 45 superyachts, which is a spectacular record. In 2016, for example, one YPI broker alone, Matt Albert, sold the 5th largest brokerage yacht, the 72m O’Pari 3 built by Golden Yachts of Greece, and the 10th largest, the 61.5m Russian-owned Amels Solemar.
Laurent Debart, YPI’s present CEO, spent 13 years with highly successful BRS Asia, which now employs over 80 staff and has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta and Mumbai. BRS Shanghai was handling 17 million tons of iron ore per annum soon after its inception.
Debart speaks Chinese dialects, French, English and Spanish, served in the French Navy, holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore, has sailed in a Trans-Altantic Double-Hander, and is getting a Private Pilots’ Licence.
Recently appointed YPI Asia Chief, Liz To, hails from Sai Kung on Hong Kong’s scenic East Coast. The daughter of a commercial captain, she herself had a pleasure vessel licence at 18, and enrolled for further courses at the Marine Services Training Institute. She worked briefly for BRS, and with YPI Management handled one of the first Feadships to arrive on the China Coast.
She too is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and commutes between YPI’s Hong Kong and Shenzhen offices, spending her spare time fishing, cooking and travelling.
A full service agent like YPI looks after all sorts of private yachting aspects, such as new builds, yacht management, sale and purchase of brokerage boats, yacht charters and crew recruitment.
Their principal offices are in Monaco, and YPI also has a very strong presence in London, Paris and the South of France. They play a prominent part at the European boat shows reviewed in this issue.
In China new builds include projects such as Heysea Yachts’ stunning 46m displacement offering, the Heysea 152. This leading Chinese yard has just sold two more 41.5m yachts, to Australian and Chinese buyers, and is one of the selected stories at the end of our Yacht Style’s Top 100 Superyachts of Asia-Pacific cover feature.
The Heysea 152 is an axe-bow design with a fully customisable layout for up to six well-appointed suites. Engineering, electronics and equipment are from well-known European and American suppliers, and the whole package is offered for sale exclusively with YPI Brokerage for a very interesting US$18.68m. Delivery is within two years.
Other YPI projects can be perused. A really exciting one at the moment is a 105m, but of course vessels this large come with a really exciting price tag, and are not for everyone.
Liz To sees yacht management as a prominent part of YPI Asia’s growing business, particularly because staff have a deep understanding of local and international regulations, and of Chinese etiquette. “Our management model is specifically tailored to Chinese yacht owners’ preferences and expectations”, she says.
Increasingly clients want to charter as well, to get a better feel for lifestyles afloat, or to try out vessels that they may be interested in buying. YPI offers custom charters in Asia-Pacific waters, and further afield in popular Med or Caribbean locations.
“Our team of charter brokers is devoted to finding the best charter choice for our Asian clients, and aims to develop a lasting relationship with them so that we can better understand their needs and preferences, both for charter now and in the years to come”, says Ms To.
“YPI Asia ensures client expectations are surpassed, and we offer an all-inclusive package. This covers the hire and insurance of the yacht, crewing cost, fuel and water sports equipment, guest catering, soft and alcoholic drinks, as well as harbour fees and local taxes.
“The package can include a Chinese-speaking escort, and a one-stop shop with Traveller Made agencies for related visa, flights and other arrangements. This approach differs from the traditional booking of charter yachts. YPI is proactively promoting Asia as a yachting destination, and is an early member of APSA, the Asia-Pacific Superyacht Association”.
Another service starts with career talks to students who want to study maritime or hospitality-related subjects. “Thanks to our close relationships with yacht owners and builders, we can provide advice on crew job opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region”.
When Alex Braden and Mike Everton-Jones founded Yachting Partners in 1972 – both have since retired, Braden only a decade ago – they wanted to establish a yachting company that, true to its name, worked as a partnership.
From the beginning they instilled a collaborative mindset, looking outward and viewing other brokerage houses as collaborators, not competitors.
Said Braden: “We always had the idea that we should become an international company, a company with no borders, and that business could be successful and profitable while also being honest and caring”.
This worked, says a latter-day spokeswoman. “YPI’s ethical approach has brought clients back again and again, in the knowledge that, whatever yachting service they are looking for, they can trust YPI to work openly and honestly with them to provide the best experience.
“And wherever they are in the world, clients also benefit from our relationship with the 160-year-old shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS). This in-depth shipping knowledge of everything from commercial law to building regulations offers owners a peace of mind that is undeniably necessary in today’s yachting world, as yachts are built larger and larger”.
Concludes CEO Laurent Debart: “I am very proud that YPI is celebrating this milestone. As one of the three oldest yacht brokerage companies, and the only one connected to a shipbroking company like BRS, our experience continues to set us apart.
“Yet while this is an opportunity to look back, we also look forward to embrace an exciting new phase for the company, and to finding ways to shape the superyacht stories of the next generation”.
For more information: www.ypiyachts.com
YPI Asia Hong Kong office is located at:
3/F, St George’s Building, Central. Tel (852) 6110 9970. London, Paris, Antibes and Monaco are other hubs. Regional offices, sometimes shared with BRS, are in Athens, Beijing, Dubai, Geneva, Hamburg, Houston, Jakarta, Luxembourg, Madrid, Mumbai, Oslo, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Singapore and Stamford US.