The Wave Rider: Dr. Rainer Behne, Chairman, BehneMar Middle East
The Chairman of BehneMar Middle East (BMME) is a marine enthusiast that took his passion to the next level- turning it into a successful commercial endeavor servicing the GCC niche client. Dr. Rainer Behne acts as Chairman of the Board for the yacht consultancy company, and considers BMME his “hobby business”, having personally owned yachts since the 1980’s. He’s recently put his 90 ft. Cantieri di Pisa yacht up for sale in Dubai, because “like all of our clients, I’m always looking for an upgrade! I have a personal affinity for yachts from German shipbuilder Lurssen as each is extraordinary in its own way, but they are far beyond my personal budget!” Behne says that the luxury yacht sector in MENA is similar to the global standard in that customers demand exacting service and superior quality, but differs from a sociological perspective. “Clientele in the MENA region are like any other client in the world -as long as we are talking about the top segment, which we consult- however, we’ve noticed in the GCC, yachting is more or less a men’s-only toy, while in the rest of the world it’s more family oriented.” Clients retain BMME’s services for their expertise in the market, and their penchant for exclusive top of the range taste. “At the moment, we are searching for a megayacht for one of our returning clients. We’re talking about a size so large, there’s only three handfuls of them cruising the world- nearly all of them with happy owners,so they’re not for sale! At that level, we’re working with the most elite brands with the highest resale values,” explains Behne.
Shipbuilders, like the ones Behne refers to, surpass the significant spend threshold by a lot. While the Chairman won’t discuss specific transactions due to client confidentiality agreements, he can give a general ballpark figure and a basic client description: “We do not give any information. We sign very strict confidentiality agreements; we never talk. We work mainly with high net worth GCC nationals. I can assure you that we have been involved in major transactions in the multimillion euro range.” And the most impressive yacht they worked with in 2014? “Again sorry, we cannot provide any information. But the yacht I am thinking about was substantial!” Behne does add that in terms of the larger scale Middle East yacht consumer, there are a few companies that fare quite well like German-based Lurssen and Australian SILVERYACHT, and “for yachts 50 meters and below, Italian shipyards like Riva, San Lorenzo and Baglietto.” BMME, specializing in yachts 100 ft. and above, deals with both the patron seeking custom-built models and those who are looking for an existing model from their preferred suppliers. Founded
in 2006, the company not only trades in new-build yachts, but they also work with pre-owned yachts for purchase or charter, and rely on their international network of “renowned naval architects, yacht owners and shipyards” to service the niche demographic looking to spend hefty amounts.
Attracting their target market has nothing to do with marketing and everything to do with referrals, insists the Chairman. “BehneMar Middle East is not brand-oriented. We are personally known for our bespoke services, which is of an individualized nature. We market our services very quietly; discretion combined with word-of-mouth recommendation has been essential to our success.” The company provides end-to-end solutions for their customers, beginning with the sourcing and vessel-design, and continues on throughout the actual buying process, including negotiation, inspections, and transaction finalization. Their participation in this year’s Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) is primarily to showcase luxury superyachts Nasima and Blue Dubai. “We are currently offering for sale the SILVER FAST super yacht, the fourth edition in the elite SILVER line from shipbuilder SILVERYACHTS. SILVERYACHTS has a very unique story: When the owner, a German entrepreneur and longtime sailor, couldn’t find anything he liked on the market, he decided to launch his own shipyard. The SILVER FAST is amazing- all aluminum, 77 meters in length, extremely fast for her size, and a range of over 5,000 miles- all rendered in outstanding qual- ity. Proof of the product is in its ownership; previous models in the SILVER line have been exclusively scooped up by royal families and Silicon Valley bil- lionaires.” BMME also plans to use their appearance at DIBS to promote their partnership with Sabrina Monte-Carlo and their specialization in bespoke outfitting for yachts, jets, chalets, and other “accouterments of fine living. Sabrina Monte-Carlo is a master at outfitting first-class interior spaces. Her expertise is the perfect fit for our clients who demand the highest standard of luxury.”