The superyacht industry may be small to some, but it is filled with a range of experts and professionals from around the world. In this series, we shine a light on some of the specialists working within the different segments of the industry to learn more about what they do for the sector. This week, we take a moment to speak with Antoine Larricq, sales broker at Fraser to learn more about being a superyacht broker.Photo: Fraser 1. Tell me a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a superyacht broker.
Well, it’s been a long one. I’ve never been one to stay inside. I love outdoor activities especially to do with the sea. When I was 19 years old I had a summer job servicing lighthouses and navigational aids. I discovered windsurfing and started teaching dinghy sailing and that led me to a job as skipper on a 14-metre Princess for over three years cruising France, Spain, Portugal & the Caledonian Canal. I loved it and I spent the rest of my 20's skippering sailing yachts and managing bareboat charter fleets around the Eastern Med. Aside from a slight interlude as the owner/manager of a beautiful perfume shop & cosmetic salon near Marseille in the South of France, I spent part of the 90s managing a fleet of crewed charter yachts of up to 30-metres.Around that period I was inspired to sign up for a brokerage training course organised by the YBDSA in England which I completed, and this naturally led me to Antibes where my career as a broker (albeit on small pleasure boats!) basically started from late 1995. It wasn’t easy though, and I was still doing temporary skipper jobs for short charters and deliveries as well as managing yachts whilst I cut my teeth on brokerage. I even worked as a night chauffeur for a Saudi family in Cannes for a while! I guess my real breakthrough came in 2001 when I started my own company and in 2003 when I created and opened the branch office of Simpson Marine Hong Kong in Monaco – which, incidentally, was exactly 20 years after I lost chain and anchor in the port of Monaco! In 2005 I decided to join what, even back then, was one of the most respected and most successful full-service brokerage houses in the world - that was the year I joined Fraser. Slowly but surely, I worked my way up to becoming a ‘superyacht’ broker. A career and a skill I am still learning today! Photo: Fraser 2. You have over 15 years of experience in the brokerage business - what have been some of your most memorable sales during that time and why?
I have sold almost 60 superyachts up to 74 metres in length, motor and sail, newbuilds and pre-owned, with clients of 19 different nationalities in the last 15 years. And as any broker will tell you, every sale is memorable in some way. In the summer of 2000, I remember selling a custom Versilcraft motor yacht that was being completed in Athens to a client who never went to inspect her until she was delivered to him in Cyprus! And the sale closed in the middle of the month of August. I remember the sale of a 32-metre classic Feadship we closed in 2002. We first inspected her at the time of 09/11, a very moving time for everyone, and eventually went on to close in May 2002. I remember managing her complete refit including passing her in class with RINA class and making her MCA compliant within eight months! That was a challenge and then some! Of course, I remember my first 40-metre+ motor yacht, my first sale in excess of €10,000,000! It was Gloria Teresa and it was to a repeat client in 2007. She is an incredible design by Reymond & Langton, with the best proportions and layout of any in her size category. I inspected her only recently…she still makes me proud!The sale of the 52-metre sailing yacht Kokomo (now Prana) in 2009 was a breath of fresh air after the 2008 financial crisis and I took immense pride in selling such a beautiful sailing yacht. In fact, I love that yacht so much, I sold her again in 2011! In 2012 I sold My Secret a new 47-metre yacht by Heesen. The Owner went on to complete an amazing world tour with her over a period of 2 years. And during that time, we worked together to secure a new 74-metre Amels for him which was delivered only last year. What was even nicer, was that we managed to sell My Secret one month before he took delivery of the 74-metre in 2017. I have to say, it gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction to negotiate and bring to fruition these two wonderful projects and work with Amels and the Heesen Shipyard.
I suppose I will not forget the sale of the Benetti Tradition yacht Carlamaria last year, not just because she’s a wonderful type and size of the yacht but also because the Owner agreed to follow my sales and marketing recommendations, something for which I am very grateful. We sold her in less than 5 months, representing both the Seller and the Buyer. Photo: Fraser3. You are presenting two stunning yachts for sale at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show – Lürssen’s 70m Saint Nicolas and the Benetti 52m Latitude. What is it that makes these two yachts so special for you?
Firstly, I am very proud to be presenting them both at the Monaco Yacht Show this year. They really are both worth viewing. I could say all the usual things such as they are two of the best proportioned, best maintained and best value yachts in their size range on the market today. And it’s true – I really believe they are! However, I think for potential buyers it’s the stories behind these two that really make them special. For example, the current owner of the 52-metre Latitude absolutely loves his yacht. He has invested millions over the last 9 years in keeping her in top shape - constantly upgrading her well beyond what most owners would ever dream of doing. He wants her in pristine, almost new condition year after year. She has just sailed successfully through her 10-year Lloyd’s Class survey. For a potential buyer that is peace of mind wrapped up right there!!! Photo: FraserThen, of course, there’s her volume, 812GT, and her features – Latitude is more like a 60-metre yacht wrapped up in a 52-metre hull offered at a 50-metre price – and a very competitive one at that. The 70 metre Saint Nicolas has also benefited from an owner who, from the day she was delivered in 2007, has been meticulous about the yacht’s maintenance and upgrades. He is very proud of his Lürssen, and when you see what’s onboard and what she has to offer you can see why. She recently benefited from a complete repaint, completed her 10 years Lloyd's Class Survey and is turn-key shape ready to go. She has been operated by a Captain who has been onboard for 10 years. This yacht has been run with a level of consistency and crew longevity that’s increasingly hard to find today. Her interior volume is impressive, and she has a staggering headroom of 2.30/2.50m – no need for your Dutch friends to stoop on this yacht! Everything about her oozes the feeling of absolute safety and comfort at sea. She is like a floating castle! She is attracting a lot of visits from potential buyers now and we would love to see her go to an owner who brings the same level of passion and joy as the current owner. Photo: Fraser4. What words of advice would you give, if you could, to the next generation of aspiring superyacht brokers?
To begin with, I think you need to have a natural passion for the sea, yachts and for people. My advice would be to work on yachts as a crew member or for a summer position at least. The most successful brokers in the world all understand how yachting works from the perspective of working onboard, running a yacht and understanding how a good crew work together. Learn different trades associated with yachting. Participate in a brokerage training scheme (MYBA, IYBA…). Visit boat shows, work in the listing department of a brokerage house, read and edit plenty of specifications, visit plenty of yachts and shipyards and above all be patient! Start with small units and be generous with your time invested at work.
Let me share an anecdote with you.
I was looking for helicopter capable yachts with a multi-repeat client of mine - essentially conversion projects or a new build. For the first time in 15 years, he came to the MYS 2014. He only visited two yachts and got fed up with the crowd. So a couple of weeks later it was decided that we had to extend the range of our search to slightly more distant locations. It was 10 days before the Fort Lauderdale Show. I had a lot of deals going on at the time and not much time to allocate to visiting yachts all over the world. But he was a very good client and he trusted me and my opinion, so my client, his right-hand man, his Captain, Chief Stewardess, my Fraser colleague and Head of Technical Management and myself all boarded his 650 Challenger and we went on a tour. We ended up going to China, New Zealand, the Philippines, China again and then back in Europe. In six days we covered over 24,000 miles! For the full duration of the trip we screened the entire market, I was loaded up with GA’s, specifications and brochures. It was mad but brilliant except he didn’t buy any of the yachts we visited. We then spent the rest of the winter consulting shipyards and designers, before finally deciding on a stunning 74m Amels which was to be delivered in June 2017. In our industry, if you are not prepared to go the extra mile for your clients, to do what it takes to help them find the perfect yacht or the perfect deal (irrespective of whether it comes to anything or not), then in my mind you have no added value, you serve no real purpose and most times you will find yourself not going far either in distance or in your career! Photo: Fraser5. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to thank all the good people I have met and worked with over the last 35 years of my yachting life!
Fraser Worldwide S.A.M.
2 Quai Antoine 1er