Cecil Wright Discuss Bespoke Brokerage With A Vision

By Ben Roberts

Cecil-Wright & Partners was founded with the vision to offer a bespoke but low key approach to yacht ownership and charter. In order to get a deeper understanding of what bespoke service truly means in today’s superyacht community, we spoke to Chris Cecil-Wright, Founder and CEO of Cecil Wright & Partners, about being different in a landscape of changing markets.

What is it that you set out to achieve with Cecil-Wright?
The business was established in London and Monaco in June 2012. I identified what I thought was a gap in the market - to offer a truly bespoke, but low key approach to yacht ownership and charter. Our clients value complete discretion and the fact that we tend to fly under the radar, with the emphasis on helping them achieve their dreams (whether just for a holiday or for ever) rather than creating a high profile around what we do. Our ethos since day one has been “Fewer Clients, Serviced Better” and that continues to drive the business.

How does your point-of-view represent something different?
As mentioned, the fact that we are extremely low-key and rarely advertise or produce lots of glossy brochures is unusual, together with the fact that our offices in Mayfair and Monaco are small and don’t have a shop front. We rely on building relationships with clients and growing the business primarily through word-of-mouth. Having said that, everything that we do has a purpose and is part of a carefully crafted brand message which subtly positions Cecil Wright & Partners in a certain way. Our newspaper (rather than a glossy brochure) deliberately includes articles about many things that are not remotely yacht related but are of general interest and often reflect a personal passion of mine!

In your view, how can change across the industry aid growth?
I think one of the key things that needs to change isn’t the yachting industry itself but the general perception of yachting as a past time and how it should appeal to more individuals. Some of the connotations associated with yachting are negative and I feel this is unfair. The truth of the matter is yachting is generally a fantastic family centric pastime and as a platform one can access the most incredible and secluded places in the world that would otherwise be experienced in lesser comfort, if at all. Not many people know you can heli-ski in the Antarctic for example!

What markets across the world are growing and which are providing the most activity?
The charter market this summer has gone extremely well relative to last year – demand has been so extraordinary our charter department has had to search high and low to find options and thanks to their wealth of experience and off market knowledge we have been able to provide options where others have come unstuck. The US sales market has certainly come on the strongest over the last couple of years. The strength of the USD vs the EUR is certainly something to do with this as well as the recovery of the US markets in general. The UK market is certainly picking up again and I would say the same is true of most of Europe too. Globally there has been a general increase in the interest and confidence in the industry and when we look at the figures we can see the deal flow is ever increasing.

The same can be said for charter destinations, are new areas attracting more attention?
We find that each charter client has completely different ideas of what makes the perfect yacht charter. The days of clients just wanting to spend time in The Med in summer and Caribbean in winter are long gone. Because of my own interest in adventure and extreme sports, we do get approaches from clients who want something different, perhaps combining travel to somewhere where they can also explore. There isn’t one particular area that is currently considered the place to go but we can tailor an itinerary to suit just about every activity. The other difference is that clients really do want to get away from other people (in the nicest possible way) so we are doing more charters to less populated areas.

Let’s talk about Siren, what makes this yacht a fantastic addition to the global superyacht fleet?
A mixture of fantastic Northern European build quality, a well thought out general arrangement and a very neutrally decorated interior means SIREN ticks all the boxes when it comes to looking for a brokerage superyacht. These attributes, coupled with her asking price of EUR 59,950,000 (EUR 37,823 per ton) means SIREN stands out amongst her rivals in the market as being the most realistically priced yacht of her size for sale. Some of her competitors are so ‘enthusiastically’ priced that they essentially discount themselves from serious consideration. As such she is a bit of a stand alone in her market segment.

What drew you to market the yacht for sale?
A long standing relationship with the owner was certainly a key factor. As I always say, yachting is all about the relationship with the client, part of this is understanding their needs & requirements and managing their expectations. In this instance our relationship is strong and the communication flow is consistent. As well as the yacht being fantastic in its own right, we know the owner is realistic about selling and that is what makes it appealing as a yacht to represent - trying to sell a yacht for an individual that won’t listen to market analysis creates a relatively testing position in which to find yourself! Listing yachts with massively overinflated asking prices for the sake of it isn’t our company strategy – our function is to sell yachts not to list them.

How do your fleet of central agencies reflect the ethos of the Cecil-Wright brand?
Each yacht we represent fits in with our ethos of only representing top quality yachts for sale that are competitively / realistically priced and that will actually sell. We are very much of the opinion that as a boutique company we need to focus on quality and our CAs are representative of that. Fewer clients, served better is our mantra and it applies to the CAs we represent also.

By Ben Roberts