Entrepreneur and yachting enthusiast Ian Malouf has launched a digital platform to help make chartering yachts far easier than ever before.

Malouf, who made his fortune through waste-management and recycling in Australia, owns a 177ft Baglietto-built superyacht, and also spends lots of time chartering other people’s boats.

Knowing how slow and complex it can be to charter a yacht, Malouf focussed his efforts to improving the industry.

How does it work?

The digital platform is called Ahoy Club, and was launched last month. The site essentially creates an Airbnb-type service, putting users in direct contact with yacht owners to arrange charters. A user can sign up for free, log on, and browse yachts based on their availability on select dates, meaning they aren’t spending time enquiring on boats that are booked on their required days.

Once a boat has been found, users are then able to pay a 25 per cent deposit in just a matter of clicks. The industry average is usually around double that figure. The yacht owner then needs to approve the application, and once this has been done a ‘contract’ of sorts is formed.

The user then liaises with the yacht’s captain, planning the itinerary, provisioning and finalising any paperwork.

 At the end of the day, when you’re drinking beer on a boat, you’ll have the same amount of fun whatever the size.

Ian Malouf – Ahoy Club

Informative and helpful service

The Ahoy Club website is incredibly useful, with a variety of handy filters, and plenty of detailed information to help would-be charterers.The site has a number of filters to help you to search for boats based on your budget, their year of build, boat size, and location. There’s also a concierge service in place to advise users on where to go and when.

Whilst these boats do cost a lot of money to charter, Ahoy Club still offers them at substantially less then they cost on the retail market. 295ft megayacht Laurel L, sleeps 36 guests, and was on offer for a staggering £475,000 for a week’s holiday. However, this is still around £47,300 less than what she’d cost on the retail market. Malouf’s own yacht, Mischief, is available through Ahoy Club for around £150,000, which is a discount of roughly 15 per cent on the retail rate.

These discounts are available because Ahoy Club only charges commission of four per cent, along with a software fee of three per cent, as opposed to the 20 per cent charged by most brokerages.

Talking to the Telegraph, Malouf spoke about the current method of chartering yachts saying “[It’s] slow and cumbersome and difficult to manoeuvre through. And you can’t get something quickly.

As well as allowing users to charter giant yachts, Ahoy Club also has smaller, more affordable boats on its platform. A week in the Caribbean on 50ft sailing boat Scorpio, which sleeps three, would set you back £4,900.

Malouf said: “We were going to remain quite exclusive and not do the smaller yachts. But to hell with that, we thought. Why not? At the end of the day, when you’re drinking beer on a boat, you’ll have the same amount of fun whatever the size.”

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