Yacht-Match is a yachtbroker, dealer and service provider that is founded on a fundamentally different way of doing business

Yacht-Match is a yachtbroker, dealer and service provider that is founded on a fundamentally different way of doing business

Yacht-Match is founded on a different way of doing business

Sailing boat

10/02/2024 - 11:51

Yacht-Match is a yachtbroker, dealer and service provider that is founded on a fundamentally different way of doing business.

Yacht-Match, Italia Yachts’ dealer for the UK, Scandinavia and Croatia, has a different philosophy from most. It was created seven years ago as a consultancy with the goal of better informing clients, in a transparent and informative manner. This process is intended to empower clients with the knowledge possessed by seasoned yacht owners. It’s a fundamentally different way of doing business from the manner in which most boats are sold.

The firm was borne of a growing frustration that a service better suited to the needs of prospective boat buyers was not available. This led two long standing industry professionals with different backgrounds to start Yacht-Match seven years ago.

Dirk Agter and Viktor van Savooyen originally met when one was working for a charter management firm, buying up to 100-150 boats a year, and the other for a large German boat builder. They quickly realised both had a similar vision for how things should be done and became business partners in an organisation that has grown rapidly and now has offices in five European countries, plus another in Doha. At the core is still a client centric consultancy that takes time to understand each client’s needs and aspirations. Once those are firmly established they can search for the right boat, with the right setup and equipment. ‘Our service is what we sell,’ says Agter, ‘and if your service is good clients will keep returning.’

The race-optimised Fuoriserie version of the Italia Yachts 12.98 is due to launch in spring 2024

Over time the firm's activities have widened with three additional branches covering Yachts and Brokerage, Sustainable Solutions and Charter and Management. In addition to Italia Yachts, it’s also an official representative for Nautitech and ItaCatamarans.

‘We have chosen to represent certain shipyards because they were the preferred choice of our customers, they produce yachts with best-in-class sailing qualities, and their values aligned perfectly with the principles upheld by Yacht-Match,’ says Viktor Van Savooyen. ‘This strong alignment led to a flourishing partnership that eventually resulted in these agreements and every shipyard we represent shares four fundamental values.

‘They uphold a well-organised and structured approach. They are relatively small businesses, ensuring our clients receive a personal approach with direct communication with the builders, allowing for customisations and personalised features. They also have a clear and promising vision for the future. The quality of their yacht construction is exceptional and they build their boats in Europe, adhering to rigorous environmental and workers' standards.’

The Italia Yachts 12.98 is a brand new design by Maurizio Cossutti that combines racing and cruising potential

From the outset Agter and van Savooyen also recognised that boat ownership is more complex than simply choosing the right boat with the right equipment. The yacht management side of the business deals with everything from berthing and registration to on-going maintenance and preparation of the yacht so that it’s always immaculately prepared before use.

It’s this philosophy that enables Yacht- Match to turn the regatta aspirations of amateur owners into a reality, thanks to the full-service support and resources it provides to overcome the challenges of campaigning in regattas.

A dedicated technical team, composed of experts in ORC and IRC regulations and regattas, assists owners and teams in their quest for regatta success. They can help train crew and fine-tune manoeuvres, sails, appendages and boat setup, reaching peak performance quickly while making the most of the available resources. The service package’s main features include a dedicated race team manager responsible for event logistics, crew coordination, and support during racing events.

This regatta management programme is a natural spinoff from Yacht-Match’s roots, facilitating and enhancing the experience for a wide range of raceboat owners. It also gives access to Squadra Corse, Italia Yachts’ technical and managerial team dedicated to supporting owners of Fuoriserie models configure their boats and providing follow up support.

The performance cruising version of the Italia 12.98 is a dual-purpose club racer and ocean voyager

‘Owners of racing yachts can encounter many hurdles that we can help them overcome,’ says Agter. This starts with identifying the right boat and configuration for each client’s programme. Then the boat is commissioned with the high level of attention to detail that’s essential for a successful racing campaign.

Yacht-Match can also help owners directly with their campaign, including advice on which events they may want to compete in, making sure the boat is ready to sail before each one, and finding crew. ‘These can all be daunting tasks for any owner,’ says van Svooyen, ‘especially if they live several hours from the boat.’

Agter points to an example of a firsttime owner with an Italia 9.98 in the Stockholm area. They recognised that managing the project could be seriously time consuming and stressful, with a risk of making mistakes while learning, so asked Yacht-Match to take on that role.

As a multinational organisation Yacht- Match is also well placed to facilitate participation in events overseas, without the downtime, hassle and expense associated with shipping a yacht to different destinations. ‘If someone owns an Italia 9.98 in Scandinavia, for instance, we could arrange a similar boat for events in other regions, such as Hamble in the UK and Split in Croatia,’ says Agter.’

After moving to much larger new premises in Fano, Italia Yachts now has the capacity to build up to 35 boats per year

Addressing the lack of a pool of talented and trained crew is potentially a more difficult problem to solve, but that hasn't stopped Yacht-Match developing effective strategies to tackle the issue. They work with the Swedish Sailing Federation, for instance, to create an Offshore Youth Academy that draws a broad spectrum of talented and enthusiastic boys and girls, men and women, including those from Olympic and smaller keelboat classes. It’s an inclusive programme with training costs mostly covered by Yacht-Match and other sponsors. Following meetings with local sailing clubs, Yacht-Match is also developing similar programmes for the Hamble and Split areas.

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