Luxuo interviews Xavier Fabre, Director of Sales and co-founder of Yacht Sourcing, a 2019 Christofle Yacht Style Awards winner and a leading exhibitor at the second Penang RendezVous.
What are Yacht Sourcing’s current activities?
Boum [Senous] and I founded Yacht Sourcing in Indonesia in 2016, yet it already provides one of the widest range of services of any boating company in Asia. We are a yacht dealer, representing brands including Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing and Fountaine Pajot. We also run an extensive charter business in Indonesia and Thailand. We also provide yacht management for many boats, and a yacht agency service to help with anything from customs and visas to provisions, fuelling and technical assistance.
However, one aspect that makes Yacht Sourcing different to almost every other yacht dealer is that we build luxury phinisi superyachts and other wooden boats in our own shipyard in Sulawesi. We launched Prana by Atzaro last year and it has quickly become, we believe, the world’s most famous phinisi charter yacht and even featured in Keeping Up With The Kardashians earlier this year. It has the most liveable floor space of any luxury phinisi for charter, with 900sqm across four decks, including nine guest suites, and has been an incredible charter success since its launch. It has even surprised is how popular she has been.
Another aspect that makes us different is our marina development. This started last year as we teamed up with Cedric Le Rest to work on designs for the Escape Marina Resort on Flores. We work with Poralu Marine and IWC (International Waterfront Consultants) and offer a full range of services as a marina consultant, focused on practical solutions suitable for the local environment that work long term for the owners, management and users.
What are the key locations and markets where Yacht Sourcing operates?
Our home is Indonesia. I have lived in Indonesia for over a decade and so has Boum. Boum especially has incredible local knowledge of sailing here, local cultures and traditions, and also the languages. I think he speaks five dialects!
We have three offices in Indonesia – in Bali where we’re both based; in Jakarta, the capital; and in Labuan Bajo in Flores, where we’re working on marina development.
Earlier this year, Yacht Sourcing expanded to Thailand with the appointment of Nicolas Monges as General Manager and partner. He has good experience of the yachting and the luxury industry, and has lived in Phuket for a decade, and we’re opening a front office in Royal Phuket Marina very soon. We’ve already started very strongly in Thailand, with several Central Agency listings for charter and a lot more to come.
On the highly competitive yacht charter market, what are Yacht Sourcing’s unique offerings?
I’ll start with Indonesia because this is our home and where it all began. Honestly, as you can see simply by looking at our website, we represent the largest and most diverse range of charter yachts in Indonesia. We have many Central Agency listings that range from high-end yachts like Prana from US$13,500 per night to ‘mid-range’ yachts Magia II from US$5,500 per night to other yachts at a more affordable level.
Boum heads up our yacht builds, refit and repair services, and charter business, and I believe we offer the most well rounded service of any charter company because of the huge diversity of our skill sets, which we listed at the beginning, and the huge expertise among our staff. We now have about 100 staff working for us in offices, as crew, in the technical team or in the shipyard.
Boum and I have spent our entire lives sailing and working in the yacht industry. I have a wide background in luxury yachts and representing the world’s most luxurious yachting brands, so understand the needs of the most demanding clients. Boum knows Indonesia and its sailing routes as well as anyone. We have fantastic, experienced crew on all our charter yachts, and because we have such a large range of yachts, we get the most feedback from clients and are constantly fine-tuning our offerings.
However, we also represent charter bookings for many other phinisis and yachts. I should emphasise that although we built Prana and manage her, we also take charter bookings for Lamima, Silolona and Dunia Baru and others, and work with the owners and managers of these yachts and others in Indonesia. We’re all in this to promote yachting tourism in Indonesia and with 17,000 islands, there’s plenty of space for everyone.
Tell us more about the high-end phinisi design and construction activities at Yacht Sourcing?
Boum is the one who has led this as he has a very strong background in sailing design and is fully absorbed in local culture. As mentioned, this is just one aspect that distinguishes us from most of the yacht dealers or yacht services company, but it’s a big part of who we are and shows our strong connections to Indonesia’s local boating traditions.
Prana is arguably the best example of what we’ve built, but we have done refits on many other wooden yachts and are also doing designs and custom builds for some large wooden motoryachts for high-end customers. We have 60 staff working at the shipyard and recent boats include the 25m teak motoryacht Maggia II, which has already been chartering for a few months, while the 45m The Maj has just been launched in the water.
Yacht Sourcing will be exhibiting at the Penang RendezVous 2019. What should visitors expect to see, learn and experience?
Yacht Sourcing will have a large booth and we will be promoting four of our key services: our charter activity in Indonesia and Thailand, the construction and refit of wooden yachts in our shipyard in Sulawesi, our yacht management service and our marina development.
We know Malaysia is a great country with a long tradition of yachting, and Penang has a fascinating history. It’s very close to Indonesia, so we’re really hoping to let Malaysians and other visitors know all about what they can enjoy in Indonesia, which is much easier for them to get to than many of our other international visitors. There’s also crossover in language, food and culture.
Tell us your best memory when chartering a yacht in Asia?
I think both of us have a lot of great memories, both personally and professionally in Indonesia. I think why Indonesia is such a special destination is because of the incredible scenery in places like Raja Ampat, which is in the far east of Indonesia, off West Papua, and Komodo National Park, which is south of Sulawesi or east of Bali, so closer for some visitors.
One of Indonesia’s main attractions is that you can sail around Komodo from May to October and Raja Ampat from November to April, so there are great charter possibilities all year round, in contrast to most other sailing destinations around the world. There’s also the possibility to sail the ‘Spice Routes’, the Banda Islands, during those seasonal changes.
But going back to the question, Indonesia has spectacular island formations, with incredible wildlife – the Komodo dragons are a famous example – incredible beaches, and some of the best dive sites in the world. There are also fascinating and diverse local cultures, which you’re able to see as the areas we visit are not overly exploited or commercialised, another contrast to many popular charter destinations elsewhere.
How do you envision Yacht Sourcing in three years? Still focused in Asia or expanding to other markets?
This is a great question and one we think about quite often as we’re growing very fast. Most immediately, we want to consolidate and expand our new business in Thailand, then continue to look at potentially expanding our business to other cities and countries in Southeast Asia. We are in no rush and will make sure that there’s a real business opportunity and that we can offer products the markets want.
Longer term, we’re also keen to look at expanding our charter offerings to our yacht owners and charter clients by providing tailored charter itineraries in Europe. After all, the percentage of Indonesian charter clients on Prana has now grown to about 25 to 30 per cent, which is very significant.
Again, I think we’re very suited for this because of two reasons. Boum and I are both from Europe, speak English, French, Spanish and Indonesian, know all about sailing and yachting in the Mediterranean, and have a wide network of contacts there.
However, more importantly, we understand our friends and clients in Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, and what they expect and need when they charter a yacht or go on holiday anywhere. This is absolutely crucial. We want to make sure that any couple, family or group of friends that travel across the world for a holiday or a charter, is completely comfortable and taken care of, so there are no issues or embarrassment when it comes to language, diet, food, drinks, culture and customs, or any other factors. This is so important and something I don’t think the charter companies and marinas in Europe consider enough, so this is something we’ll look to grow.