Sharon and John Russell, who together have run Riviera Syndication since 1999, spent a fun-filled two weeks onboard the newly syndicated Riviera 5800 Sport Yacht, out of Hamilton Island.
As John observes, syndication has proven to be a good option for the astute buyer in the current market. 'We’re constantly hearing from our owners that they couldn’t use any more time on their boats than syndication provides,' he explains.
'It is also a great benefit to have your boating booked in on the calendar so you know when it is happening and you make sure you do it, unlike many boats that spend most of their lives unused. Why pay for 100% of your boat and maintenance when you only use it 10% of the time. With syndication you only pay approximately 10%of the cost and have Riviera Syndication take care of all the work.'
Despite across the board reports of lower margins and static if not declining sales, John says the boating community was out in force, with boats sailing the Whitsundays. 'Hamilton Island was as busy as ever during the festive season. I think it is important to remember that although business is not as brisk as it was a few years ago, it has not stopped. People are still buying things and spending money so it is not all doom and gloom.'
In fact, syndication is proving appealing for people entering the market or boaties who can’t commit to sole ownership at this stage in their lives.
'We are fortunate to have had the best 18 months in business since we started syndication in 1999,' says John. 'People are recognising the benefits, resulting in us purchasing three new Riviera 5800 Sport Yachts and one new Riviera 5000 in the past 18 months.'
Riviera too are benefiting. 'They are very happy with the addition of syndication, which allows new owners to enter the brand at a more moderate cost. Many of these owners are taught their boating skills through our training and ongoing assistance and then have the confidence to purchase outright themselves.'
In 2012, Riviera Syndication is planning to add a new Riviera 5000 Sport Yacht to its Sydney fleet, and another at Sanctuary Cove.
'We are also planning a smaller flybridge syndicate priced at under $100,000 per share to join our Riviera 5800 at Hamilton Island.'
Then there’s the introduction of 'Syndication by Design', which allows new owners to choose the boat model, location and number of partners. 'This new product is proving popular with syndicates as small as two owners.'
The tough times are not over, and there may never be a return to the optimism of the 90s. 'This is a market to be conservative and focus on making sure that our existing clientele is being exceptionally well cared for and are getting the most from their involvement,' says John. 'It’s not all doom and gloom and the more we spread the good news, the quicker confidence will return and we all benefit.'
More at www.rivierasyndication.com.au