Chris Cecil-Wright is now, arguably, at the top of his game. He became interested in the yachting industry in 1993, and moved to Monaco in 1995, to understand and be part of the mega yacht world. He now represents both buyers and sellers of yachts over 50 meters in length and founded his own company, Cecil Wright & Partners. He thinks seriously about the creation and the worth of yacht world products and ponders what it takes to make the yachts he sells worth the money. He is one of the few who moves beyond the idea of the yacht as eye candy, to the yacht that creates a bespoke legacy and long-term worth.
The Status Life was grateful to engage him in conversation.
The Status Life: Recently, issues have arisen about the seizing of megayachts due to the war in Ukraine. A major high-end publication wrote an article on this, saying, the megayacht life was ultimate luxury with a hint of sordid… What do you say to that?
Chris: I work with billionaires all the time, and the idea of “a hint of sordid” can muddy the water somewhat. Many are self-made, many have come from great wealth and royalty, but their tastes and what they buy are their business. It may seem sordid to some, but in reality, the megayacht life is a life that should not be judged in any way. It is what it is, pleasurable for some, sordid for few.
The Status Life: In another article, you mentioned Feadship before, and how you appreciated their work in terms of their design and worth. Is there any aspect, other than the Teak used in Feadship decks, that impressed you?
Chris: Yes, I was always impressed how teak had been cut in Burma, aged for years before it was ever cut for the decks of the Feadships – That defined how particular they are in every small detail – things that buyers don’t notice, but in the end, always feel.
In the same vein is, and you might find this very mechanical – but I think it defines great worth – is their A/C (air conditioning) system. In megayachts made by Feadship and sold by us, the humidity inside the megayacht has to be perfect, the fan coil units must be perfect, the interior temperatures must be perfect as well, else the grand pianos, the mahogany and rosewood picture frames, and the original art must be at the right temperature all the time, else the wood will rot, the canvas will mold, the piano will be out of tune, and the whole interior no matter how expensive might be odiferous in a most unpleasant way.
But with Feadship, the whole A/C system is in one area, and different pressures around the boat are controlled by that one room. If one wishes to smoke a cigar in one room, you will not smell it in any other. That is a subtle dimension of the meaning of worth, especially in mega yachts, but Feadship does it.
The Status Life: So, what does that tell you about human nature, especially those who wish to buy and own megayachts?
Chris: It seems that people don’t know what they need until they don’t have it. And when people do know what they need, they don’t know where to get it!
The Status Life: When you are part of the interior design of a great yacht, what are your first impressions of? Use of space, use of color, use of material?
Chris: The interior of yachts are so interesting – they must have flow – Flow being ease of movement between areas. But much of the design is a matter of taste – style, and all that implies, seems less important. In other words, good interior design involves a subtlety of ergonomics.
The Status Life: Examples?
Chris: Making a bed higher or lower given the health and the needs of the yacht owner, the same or similar with chairs and tables. They must fit the owner, the whole yacht must fit the owner, and not vice versa.
The Status Life: As green initiatives become a larger segment of home design, has the concept of sustainability entered into yacht design yet? If so, have your charters and sales used sustainable materials and if so, which?
Chris: Right now, a green superyacht is an oxymoron. The superyacht right now, needs diesel fuel, with not much retrofitting yet, but many are discussing various possibilities, and they will all be expensive, but worthwhile. If we live and die by monetary acquisition –all that can be bought–we are missing out on what it means to be human and to be an integral part of our environment.
The Status Life: Le Corbusier, the great Swiss-French architect once said that good design is intelligence made visible. This dictum has shown itself to be true in many areas, but let us know if it could be especially relevant in contemporary interior/exterior yacht design.
Chris: It is relevant. Keats once said, “A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever.” We think the same about yachts. They are things of deep beauty and functionality. With our partnerships in all building and design areas, we work with the most intelligent, the most creative in the business, so as usual, Le Corbusier was as always, correct.
image source: Merydolla/ shutterstock