Equinoxe Yachts International brings together several of the international yachting sector’s most authoritative and respected yacht brokers in Italy and not only to provide technical assistance to future owners in choosing their ideal yacht. But the story of the men and women who live by and for the sea, and have always loved and respected it, began long before its foundation.
LET’S TAKE STEP BACK IN TIME
Equinoxe Yachts International owes its name to the Italian yachtbroker Equinoxe Yachts, an industry stalwart of 30 years’ standing, founded in 1986 by Corrado Di Majo and Alessandro Ussi. At 23, Di Majo became the youngest Italian to finish the single-handed Ostar transatlantic race and at 24, skippered B&B Italia in the first of his three Whitbread round the world races.
Turning his passion into a career felt like the only way to go for Di Majo and that lifestyle choice became a reality when he met one of Italy’s top athletes, Alessandro Ussi, in 1986, and founded Equinoxe Yachts with him. Alessandro Ussi, on the other hand, is a former Italian triple jump champion and luxury sailing travel designer, who creates tailor-made holidays to his favourite remote and unique corners of the globe. He has over 4,000 charter contracts to his credit and many major sailing and motoryacht sales.
These two inseparable pioneering yachtbrokers and holiday experts now deal with the sales and purchases of large yachts in the new EYI business in which they are joined by Alex Mazzoni, Aldo Tomasina, Daniele Botticini, Marica Lippa and Nicolas Valin.
So how has the yacht market changed over the last three decades and what is the outlook for the future?
We hear the advice and stories that yachtbrokers Corrado Di Majo and Alessandro Ussi want to share with anyone interested in buying or selling a yacht as well as individuals about to embark on this particular career who are looking for a few pointers on the right course to take.
What was your most exhilarating sale as a yachtbroker?
C.: Any large yacht sale to an owner I have been able to establish a relationship with based on a shared genuine passion for the sea and the oceans.
A.: I would have to say Dione Star, a stunning motorsailer of just under 45 metres that created such a relationship of trust, friendship and satisfaction that the owner is now one of our partners.
What is the secret of your success?
C.: I would say skill. The ability to choose the right boat, knowing exactly what a boat can do for you, is not as easy as it sounds. Far from it. The right help, consulting someone that has been working with boats their entire life, can make all the difference.
A.: Mostly, passion and dedication, a focus on looking for the perfect solution. Sometimes clients have a very clear idea of what they are looking for but in others, they are following their instincts. It is then down to the professional yachtbroker to take stock of the advantages and disadvantages of a particular choice. My greatest satisfaction? Hearing a new owner say thank you for having guided their final choice in the right direction and exceeding their expectations.
How has the yacht market changed over the last 30 years?
C.: The advantage is that it is much, much easier to find boats of all kinds in every corner of the world today. The internet helps, of course, the disadvantage is that there is so much out there that the risk of making the wrong choice is greater and it is more difficult to even get your bearings. More than ever today, it really is vital to get advice from trustworthy technicians and professionals from the sector.
Furthermore, the most successful area of the market is the 20-metre-plus large and very large segment, while the smaller boat segment is feeling the pinch. So clearly enough, you have to be more cautious when it comes to choosing large, expensive craft
and seek professional advice.
A.: The internet has obviously had an extraordinary impact: you have HD images, live virtual tours, which mean a potential owner can get a feel for the boat without having to fly from one end of the world to the other. The problem is that it is now so easy for just anybody to present a boat “for sale” that it is more probable they aren’t real professionals or entirely on the level. That is another reason why we founded E.I. – we have a very widespread network of professional contacts and that cuts the margin of risk drastically. The yachts we present to our clients are practically “certified”.
Sum up the future of yachting in a single word!
Which are the world’s most beautiful and unexplored places you’ve been to?
C.: I would say the Sea of Cortez, Baja California….
It is completely unspoilt. There is almost no-one there even though it is sheltered and not dangerous. It is probably the only place in the world with both volcanic terrain and seas – the kind of granite you get in the Seychelles or Sardinia – and very tropical, coral-type habitats. That means there is an extraordinary abundance of both marine mammals (seals, manta rays, dolphins, whales…) and all the various pelagic and tropical species….. a truly unique, unforgettable corner of paradise.
A.: In over 30 years, some destinations have really stayed in my heart and unfortunately many of them are now at risk. The changes and transformations brought about by globalisation have made them less authentic and definitely more influenced by consumerism and modern life. So that means that some of my favourite places are no longer accessible: the Yemenite Islands in the Red Sea, Kamaran and Zubayr, for instance, and also because of political instability, Los Roques and Las Aves in Venezuela, genuine unspoilt paradises that are now inaccessible in the former instance and not advisable in the latter. That leaves Indonesia which has given me some very powerful and intense experiences, particularly when diving. By which I mean the archipelago around Komodo and at Raja Ampat in Papua New Guinea.
How have you created enduring relationships with faithful clients?
C.: Well, maybe because when the conversion is driven by an unquenchable passion for the sea, everything else just fades into the background and you are talking the same language.
A.: The kind of trust you build up over a long journey of getting to know and respect each other. You can make mistakes if you are always ready to right them and improve yourself, if you have a strong sense of responsibility, being a go-to since 1986: I think all those things underpin our success.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give a potential client?
C.:To think it over carefully….
Not in the sense of giving up, but so that they are aware that this is a big step that if it is the right choice, can really make them happy but if it is impulsive, can end up being troublesome….
A.: I would stress to any potential new owner that if they haven’t done this before, they really do need to be very carefully guided and protected. You have to make it very clear that that enthusiasm of this early stage can very quickly peter out because there are plenty of unknowns. We can’t wave a magic wand but having over 30 years’ experience does reduce the risk of ending up with a dissatisfied owner to the minimum.