After more-than a quarter century of classic car sales, Mecum Auctions takes the plunge this week with what it is calling the world’s first Super Yacht Auction.
Super yachts – the massively opulent luxury vessels that can sail the Seven Seas and cost multi-millions of dollars – will be featured May 2-3 in the South Beach, Florida, auction of 25 high-end yachts, off-shore speedboats and other pricey vessels designed to appeal to the world’s wealthiest bidders.
Of the ocean-going craft, about 12 of them are officially classified as “super yachts” because they run more than 75 feet from stem to stern, according to Mecum’s yacht specialist, Jerry Burton. But like Mecum’s classic car auctions, the yacht sale will have enough variety of scale and price to make it interesting, and help separate the real billionaires from the mere millionaires.
“They are the same class of people who have polo ponies,” Burton said. “These boats are expensive, and owning a boat is an expensive proposition.”
About $30 million would be generated if all the boats are sold, Burton said.
Burton said it was his longtime expertise with yacht sales that convinced Dana Mecum, founder and head of the auction company, to create the seaside auction.
“It’s a new venture for him,” Burton said of Mecum. “He’s not a boat person. I’m as experienced in boats as he is in cars. I know everybody in the boat business as he knows everyone in the car business.”
The largest vessel in the auction is the 130-foot Hatteras Tri-Deck Motor Yacht, which boasts the spaciousness and luxury fittings of a mansion in Beverly Hills. Built in 1995 by Hatteras of North Carolina, the yacht has 5 cabins for 10 guests (including the master suite) and accommodations for 7 crew members.
Mecum includes no value estimates for the auction boats, but a similar Hatteras spotted for sale on an Internet site was priced at $9.4 million.
Although it’s the biggest, it might not be the most-expensive boat on board, Burton said, with such custom beauties as the 124-foot craft from Delta Marine, which “has a relaxed, beach house ambiance, filled with warm, light woods and fine stonework,” the auction catalog says.
“A lot of these boats have gone to Europe,” Burton said. “You could live on these boats, and live like a king.”
There is a selection of smaller boats for island hopping and exploring the coastline, all of the craft exotic and very expensive.
Even the smallest boat offered, a 16-foot open fishing vessel called the Bimini Bonefisher, is “a work of art,” Burton said. It comes from a small Bahamas company that builds one boat per year with the finest craftsmanship and materials. “It’s gorgeous.”
The idea for the yacht auction came after the successful sale several years ago of a single luxury yacht during a Mecum auction in Florida, Burton added.
“We sold a boat at the Kissimmee auction that one of my wealthy clients brought to Italy,” he said. “It was terrific, and ever since, I’ve been thinking about that and talking with Dana.
“I worked on him for a long time, and finally he said, ‘OK, let’s give it a shot.’”