A chat to Nicolas Valin, partner at EYI, Yacht Broker and Marine Arbitrator. 49, based in Monaco, Nicolas is a veteran in the field with more than 25 years in the yachting business. We talk about his life, his career and his vision of the future of yachting.
How did you come to be involved in the yacht brokerage business and how did you come to be one of the founding partners of EYI?
I think I was programmed for this job! My parents built a 12m steel ketch in France, crossed the Atlantic and decided to settle in Martinique, French West Indies. They pioneered yacht charter in the late 1960’s and this is how I was brought up! My entire career was dedicated to matching my passion for the sea with my work.
25 years ago, I met Corrado and Alessandro. I was marketing manager for The Moorings; I was young and my duty was to help them sell more yacht charters… thinking of the situation now, they were helping me learn about yachting!
When they approached me in 2018 with the project of Equinoxe Yachts international, I did not hesitate one second!
Tell us about some of your most memorable sales and how they impacted your career.
62m Icon & 30m Libertus. Icon is the largest yacht I have sold; it was not the most exciting but I learnt how important it is to manage a large number of parties to reach the objective: closing!
Libertus is the perfect yacht: I sold her twice in a 3 year period, both buyers were great people, a high level of trust between all parties and the transactions took place in a perfect cycle “charter first, then buy, enjoy and charter your yacht to third parties”. This yacht just confirmed that our approach and strategy was the right one!
How do you create enduring relationships with your clients?
A straight and honest speech! I also believe that being able to advise my clients on all aspects of yacht management, insurance, charter operations and more… help them trust my advice. This comprehensive approach is in my opinion the only way of selling a yacht, a very complex and expensive asset.
Most of my clients appoint me for the management of their yachts or their charter inquiries. That’s the key to a long and agreeable relationship.
The future of yachting will be… Share with us your thoughts on how the superyacht
market is changing.
The future of Yachting will be bright! In periods when quality time with your loved ones, access to nature and slowing down are important, owning a yacht makes a greater sense. The “bigger/faster is better” concept will not be as popular. Clients will be searching for greater comfort, access to leisure activities and pushing the boundaries of where they can travel to.
Sustainability with an increase of wind powered yachts or hydrogen propulsion will slowly replace the diesel engines.
I also believe a lot in the refit of classic yachts: some great units have been built and can be largely modernized. It does not only makes financial sense, it also reduces the carbon footprint.
What advice would you give to young brokers starting out in such a competitive field?
There is no school to become a yacht broker other than gaining experience. Be passionate, be patient, think outside of the box and with a broader approach to your brokerage job. Understand that under the glittering varnish, Yachting is a very complex world involving workers and their families, safety aspects, innovation and nature.