Charter and brokerage manager at Floating Life
Yacht Class n°18 (sept-oct-nov 2019)
Having opted for fractional ownership and timeshare since its creation, the Swiss company Floating Life has gone much further than the mere management of pleasure boats. It has created a range of Expedition models, named the K-Series, and will launch at the Cannes Yachting Festival the K42. Manuel Maiano, in charge of "charter and broker" departments, explains the success of this concept.
By Alain Brousse – Photos : D
Spring 2002, Andrea Pezzini and Barbara Tambani founded their company and set up their headquarters in Vacallo (Switzerland). Their ambition was to find a solution to make the use of a yacht over 30 metres significantly less expensive than a classic purchase. To this end, they drew their inspiration from a fairly common practice in the private aviation sector: shared ownership. They soon realized this method had also its raison d'être in high-end yachting. And of course, they knew this "fractional ownership" would work all the more easily if they manage themselves it to release the co-owners of most obligations: management, crew management, proposals for cruise routes and, of course, the maintenance. Each unit thus have maximum eight "co-owners", who must obviously agree on an operating schedule. And, according to Manuel Maiano, this time allocation works out just fine. A veteran of the yachting sector (Picchiotti, Tecnomarine & Amico), Andrea Pezzini immediately saw the benefit of creating his own units, which he did with famous architects and designers such as Norman Foster or Studio Sculli. With the latter, he created a yacht family, the K series and opted for lengths between 35 to 47 metres. And this, notably to remain below 500 gross tonnage, since beyond this limit design and manufacturing standards become more complicated and therefore more expensive. If the Commander C415, the K40 and the K43 have modern, even trendy yachts profiles, the K36 and K42 are Explorer. The latest, presented by its creators as highly innovative, will have its world premiere at the Monaco Yacht Show, in September.
Is it true that today the most important part of your activity remains the design and construction of new units, according to the "fractional ownership" method?
Floating Life was born in 2002 as Yacht Management Company, this remains our core business. The team is formed by expert and prepared managers, due to this we have been appointed as project managers for new constructions (not always designed by us). Further we developed the fractional ownership in 2009 with famous Ocean Emerald, Ocean Pearl and Ocean Sapphire. Now we are focusing on our new captivating project: building a 43 m Explorer vessel. The Management department has 16 yachts under its management (pleasure and commercial vessel) and it takes care of all the administrative, technical, fiscal and logistic aspects Worldwide. We have offices in Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Ireland and Turkey.
What are the main advantages of this method? Isn't it too complicated to establish an annual schedule satisfying all the eight co-owners of a same yacht?
This ownership structure has been appreciated by a large number of clients who have different habits and commitments, so the rotational calendar permits to all owners to be always satisfied. Someone prefers to sail during the peak season others use the boat during the low season. We collect owner's expectation in order to be able to provide them a calendar and a preliminary itinerary. Our office, working well during the winter period is able to manage all owners' enquiries avoiding surprises during the summer. This type of ownership is a good compromise to have the benefit of a big yacht monitoring the yearly costs.
Does "fractional ownership" interest the majority of international yachting centres ? Or is it best welcomed by some continents, and in this case which ones?
Fractional Ownership is quite new in the yachting industry, little by little it is becoming an interesting way to own a super-yacht. Our clients come from different areas of the world: UAE, United Kingdom, America and Asia, mainly. They choose the Fractional Ownership in order to own a bigger yacht, minimize the running costs, spend holidays with a professional crew and also have the chance to invite a large group of friends, business partners and often clients. The main aspect for all of them is to not be personally involved in technical or crew issues that a management company like Floating Life can easily manage. The Fractional Ownership may be also considered the starting point to own a yacht before deciding to purchase or build a personal one.
Do you think you will be able to exhibit your brand-new unit, the K42, at the Monaco Yacht Show? In your opinion, what are her strengths?
Yes, of course, the yacht will be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show and we are proud to present this unique yacht. There are many technical novelties. The yacht has a bottom deck which permits to have access to all technical areas, two cranes available to upload car and tenders. The absence of the flybridge is definitely strange on a yacht but the private owner's deck is something not common on a vessel of this size. "Audace" features two entertainment areas, a 44 sqm beach-area, two guests cabins with terraces on the lower deck, two VIP cabins with external doors on the main deck and the owner's flat formed by 54 sqm inside and 76 sqm outside including the jacuzzi. She is also available to carry on a Land Rover Defender, two wave runners, and two tenders. Thanks to her hull, developed and projected by Floating Life, she can cross Atlantic and Pacific.