Ahoy Club: Born to charter 

BRANDVOICE

Ian Malouf and his daughter Ellie Malouf are at the helm of yacht charter and sales brokerage Ahoy Club, which launched in 2018. As Australia’s marine and yachting industry grows, so does the business, which today offers a brokerage, as well as charter and yacht management services and is one of the largest of its kind in the South Pacific. 

What does the founder of yacht charter and sales brokerage Ahoy Club hate most about owning a yacht? Getting off. A look at the company’s Instagram page or website and you can see why. These floating mansions are the epitome of the luxury experience. 

Ian Malouf and his daughter, Ellie Malouf, co-founded Ahoy Club in 2018 after identifying a gap in the market for a trusted and transparent yacht chartering agency. But what began as a digital online charter business has grown in the last five years to encompass sales, refits and management, thanks to the company’s recent acquisition of Ray White Marine and its exclusive distribution rights for Ferretti Group and Sunreef Yachts. 

Coral Ocean

To date, the business has completed over 1,000 charter contracts, executed the largest in-house rebuild on the 73-metre Lurssen Coral Ocean, and established offices in Monaco and Fort Lauderdale. 

The growth of the business largely follows the upward trajectory of Australia’s own marine and yachting industry. In June this year, the Queensland government invested nearly $200 million as part of its Superyacht Strategy, which aims to grow the state’s share of the Aussie superyacht market to 90% by 2028. 

That followed the launch of the $300 million Mantaray Marina and Residence development in the Gold Coast, which will berth 74-metre superyachts and include Australia’s first Riva Lounge (an exclusive lounge for yacht connoisseurs) and the first of its kind outside of Europe. 

The global yacht charter industry is also experiencing significant growth: valued at US$15.36 billion pre-pandemic, the industry is expected to reach US$27 billion by 2027, according to Superyacht Australia. 

But given the pricey nature of these transactions, guidance and advice from trusted brokerages, like Ahoy Club, is key. 

“In many cases, this is the largest  asset that some of these owners own,”  Ellie Malouf says. “You need to treat it like a business.” 

That means considering factors like location, purpose, return and resale value. Does the owner intend to keep the yacht for themselves or charter it out? Is it for family holidays or friendly experiences? Where do they intend to spend time on the yacht? These are the questions Ahoy Club helps guide the owner to answer during the brokerage process. 

“Buyers expect genuine expertise that adds value beyond the transaction,” Ellie Malouf says. “We provide insights into market trends, access to global market data, and detailed comparisons. We also offer guidance on setting up the yacht for investment or business purposes, as well as managing shipping, logistics and more.” 

And Ahoy Club does it all in-house,  Ian Malouf adds. 

“We’ve bought, sold, rebuilt and chartered,” he says. “Understanding the diverse goals and motivations behind these transactions is paramount. Ahoy Club is committed to guiding and supporting clients, and it is this transparency and understanding that has fueled our rapid growth.” 

The business also provides other services, like yacht management, which involves the day-to-day administration of the yacht – from crew to maintenance. 

“It’s the yacht manager’s job to make sure the yacht is always kept in fantastic condition so that when any guest or owner steps on board, it’s ready to go,” Ellie Malouf says. 

And then there’s its charter management service, which connects yacht owners to Ahoy Club’s vast Rolodex of prospective renters – and vice versa. 

And the edge of the Malouf’s business is that they themselves are yacht owners, Ellie says. “We bring another level of trust because we fully understand what it’s like to be in that position and what it is that owners want and expect because we are one,” she says. 

More than that, the Malouf’s say their connections and industry relationships are crucial to its – and its clients’ – success. The business has built and fostered these relationships by providing exclusive access to world-class events for its clients and stakeholders, like its International Women’s Day celebrations and its annual Monaco Grand Prix event aboard the famed Coral Ocean. 

“That’s why Ahoy Club was born.” 

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