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Articles Meet the Team: Marco Vandoni

To find out more about his impressive career so far, in the seventh instalment of our Meet the Team series, Ocean Independence sat down with Italian-born Senior Yacht Broker Marco Vandoni.

Based in our Monaco office, Marco has been working in the yachting industry for over 40 years. From captaining large motor and sailing yachts for 20 years, to successfully founding his own brokerage company, and eventually bringing his remarkable experience to Ocean Independence, we are thrilled to have him as part of our Team.

OI: What inspired you to work in the yachting industry?

Well, it’s a long story so I’ll try to keep it brief. I really fell in love with sailing when, at 21, I travelled to the Maldives via Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

The journey was an amazing experience in itself – but once I arrived in the Maldives, yachting entered my life. I helped a group of tourists at a local fish market one day, and it turned out they were sailors. Before I knew it, they had invited me to join them on their beautiful 28m sailing yacht to cruise around the islands.

Of course, I jumped at the opportunity and needless to say, it was an extraordinary experience. I instantly caught the bug for sailing, and on my return to Italy I approached a friend I knew could put me in touch with a professional yacht racer. I was lucky enough to join this seasoned pro as crew on a trip in October from Italy to the Canary Islands on his six-metre racing yacht with no engine. I learnt so much about sailing on that trip, and through my newfound passion, I concluded a career in yachting was for me.

OI: How did you get into the industry and what inspired you to become a sales broker?

Unlike most who start as crew and work up to becoming a Captain, I started out as a charter skipper for hotel sailing trips in the Caribbean and Mediterranean on my own sailing yacht. After seven years building up my experience, one day an opportunity came up to Captain a beautiful 32m Feadship called HEAVENLY DAZE. It was my first time skippering a motor yacht so there was a lot to learn, but my love for yachting only grew.

My career as a Captain went from strength to strength and I worked on 20m MY SONG, 25m MEPHISTO, TOI ET MOI – a 40m Baglietto, and 45m Feadship RAMSES. After gaining thousands of miles and decades of yachting knowledge, I eventually began looking to start life ashore.

I found yacht brokerage was the most attractive land-based role for me, and in 1997, along with my friend and experienced yacht Captain / broker Mario Velona, we started a boutique brokerage company in Monaco. Combined we had over 10,000 miles of sailing experience, and our knowledge meant the business was a success for us both.

I got off to a great start selling HEAVENLY DAZE. We both gained a lot of experience in superyacht brokerage and construction, and in 2005, Peter Hürzeler approached us with an offer to purchase and merge our company with Ocean Independence, or Ocean Cruise as it was known at the time. With the global network of offices and impressive market intelligence tools available, it was a great opportunity and one we could not turn down.

OI: What are some of your career highlights so far?

As a broker, 2007 was certainly a standout year. Just before the 2008-09 financial crisis there were a lot of people doing very well on the stock exchange. With the level of demand outweighing the number of yachts available, I managed to find, close, and deliver seven 25m-70m yachts that year.

The opportunity to work with some of the most prestigious and renowned shipyards has also been a real highlight for me. I have worked with some very unique projects over the years, and it has been an honour to be a part of such a special industry.

OI: Do you see any trends emerging in the yacht sales market?

The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot. While other industries were negatively impacted, yachting seemed to go from strength to strength.

I realised exactly why this was when in 2020, I was invited to visit a Client and their newly delivered 40m Benetti I helped them purchase. We met in Croatia as it was the first country to lift travel restrictions. As we left port, the beauty of yachting really revealed itself to us.

Once everyone on board is vaccinated and tested, a yacht is the safest place to be during a pandemic. Clients felt safe and could relax unlike at a luxury hotel for example. I believe this is why we saw such a strong year in 2021 for both yacht charter and sales.

With yachts an asset that can be used as a mode of transport instead of travelling by land when there are travel restrictions in place, those able to purchase a yacht could see that as well as the luxury aspect, there can be a practical reason to own or charter a yacht.

OI: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of the office?

I am a big family man and have a house in Antibes with a beautiful swimming pool and garden. It’s nice to visit and have a break from the Monaco madness, and the perfect place to spend time with my family.

I have to say I also love golf. Living in Monaco, we have 11 courses within 50km of us so there’s a lot of choice.


Learn more about Ocean Independence’s yacht sales services here.

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