Purchasing his first superyacht, the 30.9-metre Azimut Goga Migoga, in 2010 upon the launch of his digital marketplace business which was later sold to eBay, Turkish entrepreneur Serkan Borancili has spent the past eight years living out his yachting dreams. Selling Goga Migoga after a couple of years of learning exactly what he wants out of his next superyacht, it was in 2013 that Borancili set eyes on Alumercia. The 37.7m Heesen-built yacht was ideal, he says, but with a good refit project, she would be perfect - and substantially more valuable. 100 days later, Borancili and his family were cruising the waters of the Mediterranean in perfect style. Selling Alumercia (now named Unexpected) in January this year following her exhibition of the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show, now, he’s looking for something bigger and better than ever before... and has some words of advice for those in the same game.
Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesWas 30m the most suitable size for your first superyacht?
I’ve always been connected with yachting - my father actually built six Turkish gulets in the early 90s. I also worked on our yachts in the summertime while we were chartering them. 30 metres is usually not a starting point for yachting as people tend to go smaller first, but for me, it was the right decision.
After cruising with Goga Migoga for two years, I realised that a planning yacht would not allow me to do all the things I wanted to do with the yacht. Yacht ownership requires a steep learning curve. But learning from Goga Migoga, I made a deep dive into the world of displacement yachts and started exploring!
The refit of Alumercia was an interesting project, taking just 100 days to complete. Was it an enjoyable process?
I was looking for a displacement yacht for over a year before I finally saw Alumercia on display at the 2013 Monaco Yacht Show. I met Marnix Hoekstra - Creative Director at Vripack, who designed Alumercia. I told him my thoughts for a refit. He said if I could get the refit done to a high standard, the value of Alumercia would soar. I agreed, and we started the project together following the purchase soon after.
It was a very stressful but incredibly enjoyable journey. There were more than 50 men working on her day and night. We were seeing progress right before our eyes, like a time-lapse movie! In our case, the stars were aligned. I studied architecture myself, my captain is a very experienced guy in refit projects, and we had Vripack on our side. It can be a much more intense refit process, so we were lucky.
You see so many places together - and you don’t pack! Everybody is kind of captured on board for that small period of time, in a good way. You eat together, you talk together, you visit beautiful places together. It’s priceless. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on the yacht before and found my family still on the bridge, excited for the next day and making plans. It’s fantastic to be so connected.
What are some of the most special cruising moments you have experienced on board?
I have many great memories. Cruising into Venice was special. Everybody was on the sun deck and we were all excited and sharing photos - what a day! Crossing the Corinth canal also was impressive. When I told my mom that it was a man-made canal from the 1800s, she actually started crying she was so amazed. Oh, and of course, I have some memories of partying and cruising on the Messina Passage... It was an incredible night!
Are you currently in search of a yacht?
Yes, I’m looking for a bigger yacht in the 40-50 metre range. When you can get more family and friends on board, the joy of yachting only increases. As the yacht goes bigger it also becomes more stable and more spacious. Everyone can have more privacy and the most important part is, you can spend more time on board without ever wanting to get off!
What advice do you have for first-time buyers?
I always look for pedigree, layout, and capabilities! But it’s all about your ‘program’. What do you want to do? How much time can you spend on board in a year, and where do you want to cruise? Do you want to charter? Stay in the Med, head to the fjords? These answers determine what you really want in your next yacht, and should be at the forefront of anybody’s decision-making process.
What makes you go for a brokerage yacht over a new build project?
New builds are always exciting and it’s definitely in my future plans. Building from scratch takes a minimum of 3 years and if you’re not experienced in yachting… well, I wouldn’t dare do it without experience. Brokerage is much better in terms of getting experience in the yachting world, and of course for your budget.
There is a lot of talk regarding the younger generation steering away from yachting. What do you think?
I have a lot to say on this. Disruption is in every industry, and that is what drives innovation and change. We see disruptors in the car industry, communication sectors, accommodation, transportation - everywhere. So why not yachting? We want more sophisticated yachts than ever, and to do that, we need younger owners with fresh ideas. I mean, you wouldn’t expect them to build yachts similar to those being built 20 years ago: we need more eco-friendly yachts, more unique designs, and vessels with improved capabilities. The younger generation can deliver that and should be encouraged to do so.
Let’s be honest: Monaco and the Monaco Yacht Show is the sacred land for yachting by all means. If you’re selling/buying a yacht above 35 metres, your destination is the Monaco Yacht Show. There’s no doubt. I found my yacht there and also sold my yacht there. This small country is so magical for the yacht owners, and I believe this relationship will continue for many decades.
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