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The benefits of building a semi-custom yacht

Posted on 09/ 07/ 2021

In collaboration with SuperYacht Times | Words by Rebecca Smurthwaite


A semi-custom yacht is a pre-existing model built from scratch, in which the client can customise elements to their liking, such as the interior or exterior design, to create a unique yacht.


This offers the best of both a semi-custom yacht and a 100% custom-build: an expedited build time and reduced cost, and the flexibility to personalise the yacht to the owner's tastes and lifestyle. We spoke to an array of brokers and shipbuilders, to find out some of the benefits of building a semi-custom yacht.



  • Shortened production time
  • Reduced costs
  • A proven design with a personal and unique twist
  • A viable solution in the current market 

​​​​​​​Shortened production time
Often buyers aren’t prepared to wait three or more years from concept to creation, with a fully-custom yacht. A semi-custom yacht offers a much shorter lead time, giving owners the flexibility to personalise a yacht they will be able to sail in the near future. 

Felix Sowerbutts from the Y.CO commented, “ The savings on time are clearly one of the key attractions of a semi-custom project – some people want to jump into a project that they can take delivery of immediately and not have to spend time designing, waiting for a build slot and perhaps waiting several years for the build itself. The semi-custom model allows an owner to put their stamp on a yacht, but in a fast-tracked timeframe.” 

Reduced costs
Semi-custom yachts can avoid expensive delays. Felix Sowerbutts and Max Bulley, Y.CO team members remark, “ The obvious price advantage arises because everything is pre-engineered, so less time and money is spent on the research and development of the concept. Additionally, many owners find it to be more efficient on other costs too, such as changes, which can stack up significantly on full-custom projects.” 

The other financial advantage is that the buyer can know exactly what the operational costs will be and the expected charter income by looking at existing vessels in the range.

A proven design with a personal and unique twist
Daniela Duck, New-Build Division coordinator at Camper & Nicholsons International comments, “One of the major benefits of choosing a semi-custom yacht is the fact that the project is based on approved naval architecture. In cases where a sister vessel has been built, the owner has a concrete reference yacht, demonstrating the quality and look that their semi-custom yacht will most likely mirror.” 

Fernando Pilli, Custom Operations Director of Benetti, agrees, adding, “Building on a well-tested platform that the yard knows perfectly well, minimises construction risks, while maintaining the highest level of product quality.” 

Sean Robertson, Director of Sales and Marketing at Sunseeker International added, “Semi-custom yachts offer clients the ability to deviate from standard configurations and allow the flexible personalisation of multiple elements of the yacht. 

In the current market, semi-custom yachts offer a viable solution
As we have all adjusted to living in isolation and working remotely, more owners are favouring yachts to give them the ultimate luxury and safe getaway while navigating confusing travel restrictions. Y.CO co-founder and CEO, Charlie Birkett, remarks, “We don’t just see yachts as assets, we see them as platforms for unforgettable experiences. Recent events have made more people realise the incredible freedom, flexibility and versatility that owning a superyacht provides.”