Ibiza holidays

Smooth sailing – Smart Yachting

The smartest way to buy, sell, manage, and maintain a boat in the Balearics (and beyond) is by enlisting the services of the island’s premier yacht brokerage, Smart Yachting,...

This expert on-island team of yacht brokers ensures the experience of buying, selling and maintaining a boat is anything but stressful.

Words: Kristie Rogers | Photos: Smart Yachting

There’s a well-known adage that says the best two days of any boat owner’s life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it. It’s a phrase that crops up in meetings between potential clients and Tim Hope, director of sales for Smart Yachting, but it’s also a saying he and his team disprove on a daily basis. The company’s ethos is all about maximising the days between these nautical milestones by taking all the hassle and stress out of sales, acquisitions, management and more. As far as clients of the successful yacht brokerage are concerned, it’s nothing but smooth sailing…

Launched in 2018 as a sister company to on-island charter agency Smart Charter Ibiza, the inspiration for Smart Yachting was two-fold. Firstly, the charter agency – founded by born and bred islanders Charlie Veale and Alessandra Grisoni in 2013 – was preparing to upgrade its fleet of 50 privately-owned charter boats by on-selling the existing portfolio and investing in newer vessels. Additionally, many of their loyal customers, particularly those who owned property in Ibiza, were ready to invest in boats of their own. “It was a natural evolution,” says Tim of the decision to launch a full-service yacht brokerage, complete with year-round maintenance and management.

Today, with Tim steering the ship, Smart Yachting has gone from strength to strength, now operating out of four locations: the main Smart Group HQ in Ibiza, the buzzing offices in Marina Botafoch, plus Puerto Banús on the Costa del Sol and Puerto Portals in Mallorca. The company’s signature ‘sale to sea’ turnkey service isn’t over once you’ve cracked a champagne bottle against your new boat’s hull – in fact, it’s just the beginning of your voyage, if you keep your yacht within its privately owned, in-house managed and meticulously maintained fleet.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to finding boats for Smart Yachting clients – each sale is different, just like every boat owner is unique. What does remain the same is the unwavering dedication Tim and his team (who collectively speak over ten languages) put towards finding the right boat for the right person – whether it’s a brand-new, straight-out-of-the-showroom superyacht or a second-hand 12-metre speedboat. “I love when any sale goes through, no matter how big or small,” says Tim. “In that moment, you can see it really is the happiest day of someone’s life. I love being part of that.”

Given that many boat prices are equal to and sometimes even higher than a luxury Ibiza villa, the process of acquiring a yacht, no matter how fun it may be, is also a serious business. Smart Yachting works alongside the very best marine lawyers and finance experts in Spain to help you devise the best way to manage your acquisition and its ongoing annual costs – and this is where Tim’s experience really puts the ‘Smart’ in Yachting. The company’s aftercare concept allows boat owners to offset ownership costs such as moorings, year-round maintenance, insurance, registration, services, off-season storage and more by renting their boat through Smart Charter Ibiza when they’re not enjoying it for personal use.

With Smart Charter Ibiza responsible for upwards of 2000 boat charters per year in Ibiza alone, Smart Yachting have all the facts and figures at their fingertips to show potential buyers just how lucrative their investment can be if it’s added to the fleet of summer rentals. “Boats are not easy animals to have,” laughs Tim, with just a hint of seriousness in his tone. “They require a lot of love and care, and constant maintenance – even when they’re not in the water. But you can easily recover these costs by chartering your yacht for just two months a year. Then, for the other ten months, it’s all yours!”

The Smart Yachting aftercare services include access to a full-time team of trusted in-house mechanics, captains, crew, painters, electricians, carpenters, and upholsterers – no matter how big or small a technical issue, custom refit or redesign is, it can all be taken care of onsite in the behemoth of a 2000-square-metre workshop. “We can fix things instantly if they go wrong,” says Tim. “There’s no waiting around for workmen or parts for weeks.” This cavernous space is filled with spare parts, paint, protective wrapping, a custom upholstery workshop, shelves lined with luxe towels and high-tech water sports equipment and aquatic toys such as Jet Skis, Seabobs, Foil Boards and Fly Boards. You name it, they’ve got it, and the workshop is whirring 12 months a year.

After the summer season, Smart Yachting switches into refit and repair mode – taking boats out of the water to give them a full overhaul – from cleaning daily with fresh water, changing oil, carrying out major services, running dehumidifiers in the interiors, applying products to stop corrosion and more. Owning a boat is a year-round commitment, even if you’re only using it for a couple of weeks per year. Knowing you have Tim’s experienced and trusted team in your corner takes the worry out of winter, when Smart Yachting can even ship your yacht anywhere you’d like to sail in the off-season, with the Caribbean currently a popular choice for many owners.

The genuine warmth, conviviality, and enthusiasm of the Smart Yachting team make it easy for first time buyers to sit down, have a chat, and get to know the ins and outs of buying a boat from the premier experts in the Balearics. Understanding that investing in a boat is a serious purchase, Tim and his team advise on the value of second-hand boats, take you on Facetime tours if you’re not on the island, fly to meet you in France if that’s where the right boat for sale happens to be, help facilitate the right deal (including moorings), and most importantly, manage your expectations. “It’s all about transparency,” says Tim.

Of course, there are also clients who are interested in buying a brand-new yacht strictly for personal use, and Smart Yachting is an official dealership for Canados Gladiator Yachts and Virtue Yachts in Spain in addition to boasting long-term relationships with all of the big-name yachting brands. “New boats are where we can really have some fun,” says Tim. “You want a DJ booth? A built-in bar? Custom upholstery? We can do it all.” As Ibiza’s HNW demographic continues to rise, Tim is seeing a demand for bigger boats each year. “The Balearics are an amazing place to be,” he continues. “There are so many people relocating here with great jobs, working remotely, or astute businesspeople who’ve spent the past 30 years knuckling down and now want to enjoy the fruits of their labour. These are exciting times.”

The 2024 season is looking even more exciting than ever for Smart Yachting. While the glamorous boats and interesting clients are part of what makes their jobs fun, it’s the people behind the scenes that truly make the brand shine. Whether they’re working out together in the in-house gym at HQ in the mornings, catching up over after-work drinks at the brand’s new office spaces, cocktail bar and café in Marina Botafoch, Mira Ibiza, rubbing shoulders with the stars at major international boat shows in Palma and Barcelona, or hosting weekly community padel matches with clients, colleagues, friends and family, it’s the authentic family vibes of the Smart Group that turn clients into lifelong friends.