PHOTO: COOKSON ADVENTURE
PHOTO: COOKSON ADVENTURE
The experience of yachting
Yachting is evolving, and not just in terms of the vessel designs and sustainability – there’s a growing movement to realise the business, healthcare, wellness and societal benefits of yachts too.
The experience rather than the asset has, for most owners, always been at the heart of yachting. It’s a factor that has become ever more prevalent, particularly with the rise of the experience economy typified by the ambitions of next-generation entrepreneurs and start-up supremos whose idea of luxury is seeing extraordinary things and sharing extraordinary experiences with their families and friends.
It has manifested in the superyacht sector in a variety of ways. First, there has been the remarkable growth in yachts that are geared to cruising outside the conventional playgrounds of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, even offering the capability of extreme exploration in the remote corners of the world’s oceans.
Second, it is reflected in the growing trend to use those yachts for exactly that purpose, with owners and charterers increasingly wanting to head off the beaten track to see some of the wonders of the natural world and to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s awe-inspiring wildlife – at the same time fostering and enhancing their own understanding of our planet’s fragility and the vital role that the oceans play in our planet’s health.
Lastly, it can be seen in the development of new technologies designed to enhance the experience for adults and kids alike on board superyachts, from submersibles that open up alien underwater landscapes to VR and augmented reality that brings history to life and which can unveil the hidden worlds of the oceans to delight and to educate.
Maria Alekseenko Magan
Maria Alekseenko Magan
For Maria Alekseenko Magan, however, yachts offer a far broader opportunity for experience in everything from business development to healthcare and healing. It is the focus of her Experiential Yachting initiative, which seeks to join various superyacht sector parties with operators in other sectors to redefine what the yachting experience can be.
As a charter broker for more than 13 years, Magan has organised yacht charters all over the world, including some of the more remote destinations such as Alaska, Antarctica, northern Norway, and Iceland. Her philosophy, as she describes it, is to recognise that yachting is entering a new era, where traditions should mix with new creative approaches to meet the values of a new generation.
“The water-world is still very underestimated,” she explains. “My objective is that yachting, as an industry or as particular yachts, will play an important role in the history of our humanity. In the new era of the Experience Economy, yachting can provide tremendous opportunities to grow and expand business and values, using the yacht as a platform to innovate, earn extra income, and change the world and people’s lives for the better.”
Magan’s approach centres on rethinking both what a yacht can offer and how it can be used, elevating the yacht and the experience of being on board from simply being about luxury or glamour to being something more purposeful and more beneficial both to individuals and to society, as well as creating new business opportunities for the superyacht sector and for other industries.
“Questioning the purpose of using a yacht creates a business growth opportunity for each of us, brokers, shipyards, designers, other yachting professionals,” Magan says. “And not only that – our industry can become a provider for other industries to expand from land to sea. Yachting,” she emphasises, “can play a more important role in our world than just providing jobs and pushing hard for environmentally responsible technology.”
Experiential Yachting Forum
Experiential Yachting Forum
No one questions the importance of luxury real estate developers to provide luxury homes for people or leading wellness operators to treat people’s health, she suggests. “When yachts are seen not just as a place to have fun, relax or explore, but as extensions to traditional land-based businesses or institutions, or as floating establishments to improve health and well-being,” she states, “no one will doubt the importance of our industry.”
Central to her proposal is the development of what she terms the Multifunctional Yacht, which essentially uses a yacht as a platform for established businesses and institutions to reach new and existing audiences. In tandem with this is the idea of holistic yachting, which aims to combine elements of preventative healthcare, integrated healing, eco-responsible technologies, cross-professional crew hiring, innovation and social impact. Think using a yacht as a health retreat or centre for rehabilitation and integrated healing, for example, where healthcare is enhanced by a wellness aspect derived from being on the ocean.
Indeed, the results of a neuroscience experiment instigated by Magan and Monaco Capital of Advanced Yachting show the striking effect of how the rolling of sea waves affect brain waves during meditation on a jet ski compared to the same meditation on land. According to Julian Amengual, a PhD in neuroscience who worked on the research as a data scientist, there was “clear evidence of the higher behavioral benefits and enhancement of physiological correlates of well-being after performing meditation at the sea compared to meditation performed on land”. “We truly believe that these results open a novel venue to conceive holistic experiences in yachting from which users could highly benefit,” Amengual says.
It’s not just Magan who is waking up to the demands of a new demographic of potential yacht owners and charterers, and the opportunities that yachts can offer outside their traditional role – shipyards, brokers, designers and many more from across the superyacht spectrum are considering the future demands of future yachties. From onboard spas and crew-pratictioners with specialist training to accessible pocket superyachts capable of cruising the four corners and crews setting up social responsibility programmes, yachting is undergoing a quiet revolution. “The values and behaviours of our client base are evolving,” says Paris Baloumis, Group Marketing Director of Dutch superyacht builder Oceanco. “To cater to this new mindset, embracing the experience economy will be essential. Yachting is brilliantly positioned to fit this new model,” he adds, “but only if we adapt our own approaches and offering.”
In a world that requires fresh thinking and new solutions, Magan believes that yachting can play an important role. “We need to rethink and implement new business models and a new yachting philosophy,” she enthuses. “Whether you are interested in longevity and preventive healthcare, remote education for your children, or simply want to engage your target through commercial operations at sea, using a yacht goes far beyond the usual vacation, relaxation or exploration. Today, together with visionaries from different sectors, Experiential Yachting redefines yachting by changing the function of the yacht. The common goal,” she concludes, “is nothing less than to elevate human potential and open a new chapter and a new world at sea.”