The rise of the sharing economy convinced experienced yachting-industry executives to form a related company. AVYachts lets you acquire a one-fifth share of a superyacht, plus benefit from concierge-arranged private-jet transport and other services.
AVYachts (pronounced “Ave Yachts”) caters to individuals who want to indulge in the ownership experience without the full financial commitment. AVYachts’ CEO, Herb Postma, acknowledges that a few fractional-yacht programs have come and gone. He believes they failed for a variety of reasons, including timing. Studies show that the majority of younger consumers, particularly Millennials, prefer renting vs. owning. They own fewer vehicles, for example, than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. And, while they’re buying luxury items, they’re buying less-expensive ones on average.
Postma (at right, below) drew on three decades of experience in yachting to establish AVYachts. Among other things, he was the founder of Westship, the exclusive sales and marketing arm for Westport Shipyards in the 1990s. (All Westports were then known as Westships.) Joining him as COO is Kathy Kennedy (center). Most recently, she was director of sales and marketing for the yacht-membership club Fleet Miami. Michael Moore (left), the well-known maritime and aviation attorney, is an additional partner in AVYachts.
Here’s how AVYachts works. A 20-percent share costs $1.78 million. It affords you six weeks aboard a Westport 112 each year for five years. (Kennedy says the team is “actively looking” to acquire more Westports, in larger LOAs, too.) Should you so wish, you can exchange one or more of your weeks with another owner. This extends to yachts that may be in different regions. An annual $260,000 fee, billed monthly, covers management, maintenance, and related costs.
The same fee also covers concierge planning services. One tap of the AVYachts app connects you to the same concierge each time. The concierge ensures the crew puts out your photos, preferred linens, and other personal items, plus has the foods and beverages you enjoy. In addition, your concierge arranges private-jet transport to and from the yacht.
In recognition that some consumers may not be ready to commit to fractional ownership, AVYachts lets you try a three- or seven-day package first. Similar to the NetJets Marquis Jet Card, it’s called the Paradise Getaway Card.
Ultimately, AVYachts members will benefit from additional business relationships, too. The company is in talks with other luxury brands to offer exclusive experiences.