It all started when...
Miami Maritime Group was formed in 2015 following many years of the group's participants working in the industry. MMG has been dealing with boat & yacht sales, service and shipping for over a decade. We understand the difference it makes to our clients when they get their calls answered, their problems solved and their investment in working order. As a young competitor in the field, we aim to be different, to form a relationship with each and every one of our clients in order to better understand their wants and needs. We have all been brought up boating since we were toddlers, some local and some in the Caribbean which gave us vast knowledge of our waters. Our team consists of 5 professional yacht brokers, each with their own expertise. Between the team, we cover the US East coast, Bahamas and the Caribbean when it comes to sales, service, consulting, slip allocation, parts allocations and yacht management.
axel A. Stein - Principal/Broker
Brief interview - Mr. Alain De Grelle (Superyacht Sales & Charter)
Congratulations for this beautiful new location!
I suspect that Trawler in the picture behind you was your childhood boat? What a backdrop!
Thank you! Yes, we just moved to Coral Gables, where many of our clients reside. We believe the accessibility and convenience is great for them.
In a way, yes, KIUBO, a 1975 42 Classic Grand Banks was my dad’s first and only boat. He bought it when I was four and I grew up on it. I vividly remember the quite formidable anchoring spots along the dramatic Eastern Venezuelan Coast: deep waters, tropical forests, palm and cocoa trees behind pristine beaches... I was hooked, fascinated by the sea, I loved feeling the vastness and the mystery of the ocean. It’s now part of my DNA.
When you moved to Miami, how did you reconnect with the sense of infinite joy and freedom I presume you are talking about?
During my teenage years growing up in Pinecrest, I had friends who’s parents were very dedicated to having their children learn about boating and other water related activities. We loved to go fishing, diving, wake boarding, lobstering, even just hangout at the sandbar among other pleasurable things (maybe a little racing) week after week. While attending Florida International University, I started working for some prestigious yacht brokerages in Coconut Grove as soon as I was of age to obtain my license. I was lucky to have learned from very kind and professional mentors who were instrumental to initiate my career on a good foot in the boating industry.
My most recent professional experience prior to opening the firm was at the SeaHunter Boats shipyards, one of the very best manufacturer of custom fishing center consoles in the industry. I was Director of sales to Latin America while also partly in charge of its image and marketing for about 3 years. When I was a kid, my favorite doodles were speeding motor boats. Incredibly, I still keep a series of drawings (age 6) sketching the floor plan of my future shipyard. My experience at SeaHunter was the visualization of that dream. I was finally able to learn “how it’s made” even if on the smaller scale of boats. I oversaw more than 180 boats go from an empty mold to a 60 knot ocean going machine. It’s an incredible journey.
I created Miami Maritime Group to better serve boaters in South Florida. We are a boutique brokerage firm, we have the passion and the experience to offer our clients vast knowledge and honest advise based on our high ethical values. We go way beyond a purchase transaction. Actually a transaction is just the beginning of a happy relationship, it is our commitment to our clients. My father, a Latin American 20th Century art specialist often introduces me to collectors. I want to think of myself as a curator. Dad explained that a good Curator is often a person who comes to realize a personal dream by building a collection all the while navigating the world of [visual] ideas with a person who truly enjoys the ride and becomes somehow intoxicated and enthusiastic with the depth of such a meaningful field. I see myself much like that. I would like to be the curator to a small group of sophisticated explorers, sportsmen and even vacationers.
Because of my experience with motor yachts dealers (remember I am a sailor, no offense..) I have a stereotypical image of what a yacht broker is: first he (most brokers are still males) is a seller, second , he is still a seller and lastly he becomes a negotiator . How do you position yourself in this rather competitive, cut-throat market?
Thank you, great question.
As a matter of fact, I have three hats: the Seller hat, the Buyer hat and the Commissioner hat.
Anyone can sell a boat (or anything for the matter) to make a buck and the regular client is often happy with what they have bought . True. I can only sell a boat when I think that the boat meets certain conditions. I first build a technical dossier after I have personally inspected and photographed the boat in the company of a technician if need be, after reading the maintenance blog and speaking with the crew, revised the quality and age of the ever changing electronic equipment, the state of furniture, floors, heads, kitchen, machinery and …hull. Basically we like to pre-survey our listings in order to offer buyer’s a turn-key option.
Then, only then, I decide if I can put my name and my reputation on the line to move forward.
My second hat requires a bit more work: when a client wants to buy a boat I meet him/her and his family, I ask the necessary questions and draw a profile about their taste and the use, the level of luxury the client is comfortable with and I begin searching. I usually come back to the client with the three to five best options in the local and international market (if applicable). After we discuss, after seeing the pros and cons, we begin looking at boats more closely. I make the first visit, I meet with a colleague and discuss the yacht in a detailed manner. I will go over my lengthy list of details, speak to the captain if any, the crew, I check the logs … and if the boat suits my client’s interest, it will remain on the list. After discussing the candidates, we move forward with the preferred option, do surveys, sea trials, discuss details with the client on board, point out things he would not have remarked. If unconvinced, we keep searching for options. I take care of the operative part of the negotiations, our attorneys revise the documentation, they meet with the clients or representatives to go through the contract and then, only then the client and I proceed with the transaction.
Commissioning yachts is my goal for the firm to advance in the medium run. If our client wants something very special, a yacht not out of the regular production line, we will discuss design styles, shipyards, materials alternatives, naval architects and designers to build the client’s visualization of a perfect yacht the most effective way possible. (See new builds tab)
A yacht is an extension of the home. As such, her construction merits some extra thinking. We help with fancies and financials towards a new build project, either semi or full custom. By knowing the best professionals in the field for each category, we can greatly reduce the time needed to set in motion a project and increases the financial efficiency of the build.
So Axel, if you have any, what do you enjoy doing on your free time?
I like to refer to that as personal time, not exactly free time, time is the most valuable asset one possesses! On my personal time I enjoy various things: Of course most are salt-water related, fishing, boating with my friends whom are my clients as well, playing tennis and doing friendly motorcycle races in the local Florida tracks. I have always had a need for speed, it’s something I feel I have to do at least quarterly in order to clear my mind, sort of my meditation. I have a portfolio of boat sketches (original) from center consoles to 130m giga yachts, I love seeing them appear on my sketch pad as I draw every line. Aside from these main activities, I use my personal time to do most of my research and studies. Studying yacht codes, regulations, building processes, new technology, new design innovations and lots of engineering. I’m a very technical person, need to know how everything works inside and out.
Esteban Bruna (Yacht Broker, Consultant)
Ernesto Betances (Yacht Broker, Consultant)
Rafael Garmendia (Yacht Broker, Consultant)
Armando Romero (Yacht Broker, Consultant)