Interview: with Douglas McFarlane, CEO of Lomond Yachts and Top 5 Tips for Buying a Yacht

Solange Charter - Lomond Yachts
Solange Charter – Lomond Yachts

INTERVIEW

Born with yachting in his veins, Douglas McFarlane CEO of Lomond Yachts, has dedicated his life to the waters and exquisite vessels upon which to enjoy them. His firm is focused on the finest Super Yachts built for entertainment and luxury at the highest levels.

Built and designed with great attention to detail and care for the needs of those that will enjoy them, providing chartered vacations and other services like crew, celebrity entertainment and other pleasures for the yachter are at your disposal. We spoke with Mr. McFarlane about his passion for yachts and he shared with us his expertise and advise on buying a yacht.

What awoke your passion for yachts?

“Nae son of mine will go into the yards”. I remember it clearly as if it was spoken yesterday. It was the first thing my father said when I was discussing career opportunities as a teenager. This was in the late 1970s and I didn’t know at the time, but this was when there was so much turmoil in the shipyards and my father’s 30 year career in the yards, and Clydebank, where I was born and brought up, was coming to a sad end. I took my father’s advice and I choose a career in banking at the fast growing Royal Bank of Scotland. I joined the bank’s sailing club and helmed a 45 foot sailing yacht around the West Coast of Scotland, and on the first outing, we hit a force 6 wind in the Kyles of Bute. It was the scariest, and the most exciting time of my life. I was hooked. From there I got more interested in sailing, then motor boats, and Loch Lomond became my playground. It was the home of my Clan McFarlane ancestors, and the loch is steeped in their history.

When I started to consider a new company doing something I was passionate about, there was really only one answer, and one name. Lomond Yachts. Two years later and we already have local representation in 10 countries, including Russia, China, America, Canada, Malta, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany and the Middle East.

douglas mcfarlane lomond yachts

Of today’s yacht buyer, what are some of the features that they are looking for?

Buying a new boat, yacht, or SuperYacht isn’t easy from the client’s perspective. There is so much choice, and personal requirements about style, shape, number of berths, tenders, toys, whether a helicopter is essential, jet skis, space for parties, jacuzzis and a whole host of wonderful options. Then there is the branding. Like cars, there’s the Mercedes, BMW and Porsche equivalents, and it can be important to get the right brand. In essence, it’s a long sale cycle, but that’s great and I enjoy helping clients narrow down their options, focussing clearly on their specific requirements and needs. I was exactly the same so I can understand and it’s a fun process doing the research and shortlisting.

Where are the top locations for your yacht charters?

Without a doubt it’s the Mediterranean in the Summer and Caribbean in the Winter. This is where the majority of our 650 available charters base themselves. There can be special requests to venture further, but that’s where the client demand is currently coming from. Within those regions you have a wide selection of amazing places to visit and the marinas that can cope with the larger Super Yachts. We are also seeking growth in other areas like Seychelles, and we have introduced clients to some new marinas, exclusive island getaways and villas with panoramic vistas.

What do you wish people knew about yachts?

How much fun it can be. They not only look great, but the experience on board is simply breathtaking. If you have children, it’s perfect to give them this experience as it will change their perspective on life when they get back on land. For everyone else, it’s an adventure that they wish they’d experienced before, and more often.

Solange VIP guest suite
Solange VIP guest suite

What would your top 5 tips be to advise the new yacht owner on making a purchase?

  1. Talk to a good broker who is interested in what you want, and not just to get rid of their stock. Each new yacht owner will have an idea of what they are looking for, and our job is to tease that out of the person and help them make one of the biggest investments they’ve made, knowing it’s the right choice.
  2. Think about what you, your family and friends would like to do on board, and where you want to go. Ask them. How many weeks and how many weekends will they go with you. It’ll be a pretty lonely journey, if you have a great new toy but have a community around you who don’t like water, get seasick or too busy to enjoy the experience.
  3. Consider which brand you feel comfortable with. Your taste in cars is likely to influence you here too. Ask a Porsche owner if they’d like to swap their car for a Ford for much less money and you’ll understand what I mean. There’s a good fit for everyone, but it influences the budget you’ll need for the same size yacht.
  4. Don’t forget the running cost. Clearly having the budget to buy a yacht is one thing but the cost of running needs to be carefully considered too. Crew, fuel and marina costs can eat into your annual income, and these should be worked out before you invest.
  5. Just do it. If you’ve read the previous four points and you’re still reading, then what’s stopping you ?

Where do you think the yacht industry is headed in this age of digital and technology teamed with the desire for great yachting experiences?

We’ve been working with a London based company called Ideaworks to help us design the digital experience on our new fleet of yachts we’ve called CALEDONIA. It’s great fun looking at ways to future proof the technology. We’re looking at the latest 4K plasma televisions, Dolby Atmos sounds systems in the cinema, fibre connectivity throughout and interconnected sound systems controlled by central tablets. We’re designing these into the yacht right at the start, as often the technology choices can influence the interior architecture, so it’s important to have all the items carefully considered. While you’d think that a yacht is all about getting away from the digital and technology world we live in, we still like technology for entertainment, to keep connected, and to show folks back home how much fun we’re having. For more information or to contact Lomond Yachts, visit http://www.lomondyachts.com/

About Douglas McFarlane: London based CEO of Lomond Yachts whose passion for the business came from his father, who worked on the Queen Elizabeth II, launched in 1967 and built by John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank. After spending most of his youth visiting launches and building models of those he saw, Douglas trained with the Royal Yacht Association before helming a 45-foot yacht around the West Coast of Scotland with Royal Bank of Scotland Sailing Club.  Before moving down to London he spent most of his time on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond in his 26′ Bayliner moored at the exclusive Cameron House Marina. This gave Douglas his passion for Super Yachts.

Luxury firms interested in being considered for interview and sharing expertise can contact the editor.