Collaboration is a big buzzword in today’s economy. Three megayacht-industry companies are embracing the idea in the form of OneOcean Ventures. The goal is to provide yacht owners and non-owners alike with facilities and services that high-end clientele expect. It’s further focused on attracting more of the people who can afford the megayacht lifestyle yet have not experienced it.
The companies behind OneOcean are Salamanca Group, which owns Barcelona-based Marina Port Vell (above); the marina’s neighbor, MB92; and Rybovich, the refit yard in Florida. OneOcean started with a chance meeting in early April, according to Martin Bellamy, chairman of Salamanca Group and OneOcean. Carlos Vidueira, Rybovich’s president, was in the midst of global visits to discuss collaborating and raising yachting’s profile among more ultra-high-net-worth individuals. (Statistics from Wealth-X, which regularly studies individual wealth, show that only about three percent of the people worldwide who can afford megayachts currently own them.) Rybovich had been approaching fellow marine companies stateside, but saw an opportunity to tap overseas partners as well, explains Wayne Huizenga, Jr., president of Huizenga Holdings, which owns Rybovich. “No one needs a yacht, so it has to be a great experience,” he says.
OneOcean wholly owns Marina Port Vell and is taking ownership stakes in both MB92 and Rybovich. The cross-Atlantic partnership makes perfect sense to the principals involved. “If we’re going to demonstrate to the industry that we’re serious, we need to show that this business has real substance,” Bellamy says. “It’s a really nice mix of services and assets.” Those services include refit and maintenance, berth rentals and sales, plus project management.
“Having a shared facility on both sides of the Atlantic makes a huge, huge difference,” Huizenga ads. OneOcean offers the advantage of, say, spending the summer in the Med, based out of a purpose-built megayacht hub, then heading to South Florida for service before continuing on to the Caribbean for the winter. Then, prior to the next summer season, you can return to Rybovich for any work needed. “It’s about, how do we take and return the vessel to the owner quicker?” Huizenga says. “How do we give him assurance that he’s working with trusted partners no matter where he goes?…He sees familiar faces, he’s treated with the same customer service, the captain knows that on either side of the Atlantic, all he has to do is make a phone call, and somebody that he trusts will be there to serve him.”
Another one of the key principles behind OneOcean: You don’t have to buy a yacht to enjoy the experience. That’s why OneOcean has restaurants, private clubs, hotels, and private residences in mind. The first OneOcean Club opens next month at Marina Port Vell (see illustration above). “We are in the ultra-luxury sector,” Bellamy says. “OneOcean needs to be a brand that is associated with luxury.” Owning assets such as these outright is preferable, Bellamy says, though “I can see us managing hotels on a contract basis.” When asked if the OneOcean team envisions hosting events at Rybovich or in Barcelona to introduce select people to the yachting lifestyle, Bellamy says, “For sure. One-hundred percent.” Huizenga adds, “It’s about creating that safe environment for people to come and experience yachting. There’s a lot to know. These very, very intelligent people know a tremendous amount about business but not about yachting, and in a certain way, it can be a bit overwhelming for somebody at that level to admit they know absolutely nothing about yachting. So, how do you start to expose them? How do you start to let them understand who builds what, what are the options?”
A final part of the OneOcean idea is client-advisory services. Salamanca Group has an existing division that will, when appropriate, help individuals acquire and/or sell their yachts. OneOcean will further assist potential buyers in evaluating their cruising desires, financing, finding project managers, and related tasks. “When you look at that three-percent statistic, the one thing for sure we can say is we’re never going to get that statistic to 50 percent,” Bellamy says. “But, can you get it to four percent, five percent?” He’s quick to add that OneOcean does not intend to replace existing companies currently targeting new clientele. Rather, the goal is to increase business all around.