Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hybrid Yachts?

So I was sitting at Capital Grill in Fort Lauderdale yesterday listening to Bob Saxon tell me a story. You Tube is good, but I just love the spontaneous nature of shooting the breeze at the bar among friends...much better than TV! Bob had a New Yorker magazine folded open on the bar when I arrived. Hmmm, perhaps a conservative intellectual? I like that; someone who can see both sides of a story!

Bob Saxon is an icon in the yachting industry and owned his own yacht management and charter company for 15 years before he sold it to Camper & Nicholsons (A Rodriquez Group company) 5 years ago. I worked in the industry for 7 years and loved it...I managed a private yacht charter business for 5 years (1987-1992) and then worked at Sparkman & Stephens for 2 (1993-1994). A lot has changed since then, and I am out of the loop. So I asked Bob who is buying yachts these days. Even with a two year wait at most European yards, he said with an impending democratic presidency yachting may feel a pinch.

It made me think about the customer and who has $10-$150 million in their back pocket to splurge on a big yacht now. Yachting is a traditional old money pastime. I wonder if the new money digital tycoons of today perhaps feel responsibility associated with their new found wealth. Or guilt? I say this because I find it interesting how many luxury car owners also own a Prius. Still to me, the digital tycoons seem like a natural fit for the high-tech self-sufficient yachts that can be built today. So why not build hybrid yachts? Complete with solar panels and LEED sustainable designs. Why not simply give the people what they want! Trickle up.

Talking to Bob, this idea came together for me because since January 2007 I've been working as a sales consultant for Ciralight. They produce what I call "skylights on steroids". It is basically a skylight that uses mirrors to capture sunlight into a building, not just at Noon, but from sunrise to sunset so you don't have to use electricity at all during the day! Amazing stuff; for the pocketbook and the planet! My kind of thing. It makes everyone feel good! By using Ciralight in their buildings big box retailers give their customers a sense of satisfaction that by shopping in their stores they are also doing their part help the environment. A win-win.

So why not apply this idea to yachts. If anyone can do it, Bob Saxon can! If you are in the market to buy a yacht...call Bob Saxon.