Employee Spotlight: Yacht Broker Wes Sanford

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Wes Sanford has been a yacht broker with Northrop & Johnson since 2008 and is consistently a top-performing broker. He has closed over 100 brokerage and new build transactions representing more than $1 billion in sales and more than 11,000 feet –that’s over two miles of yachts.

How did you get into the yachting industry and what led you to where you are today?

I got my first captain’s license in 1993 and began my career running a 50′ Beneteau sailboat in the BVI. I stepped away from the helm 12 years later when my daughter was born in 2005. I “retired” with a 500-ton captain’s license and transitioned into sales with my newly minted yacht broker license.

What do you think makes N&J special?

I love the young, aggressive, growth-oriented culture that is anchored by a yachting tradition that dates back 70+ years. Yachting has become a big business and needs to be approached with professionalism, but we can’t forget that our product is the experience of yachting: fun, luxury, family, and friends.

What do you like most about your job?

I don’t know of any job that exposes you to such a wide range of people and experiences every day. Meet with a CEO one day and haggle with a surveyor the next. Sea trial a brand new 197-foot (60m) yacht or go shopping for the yacht’s towed tender that goes into the charter program. It’s a different experience every day.

What accomplishment at N&J makes you most proud?

Helping N&J survive the 2008/2009 financial crisis is the only one that comes to mind. Individual deals come and go.

What is your favorite cruising destination and why?

I love the Exumas in the southern Bahamas. Beautiful open beaches, long winding channels of crystal clear water, great diving, excellent fishing, safe harbors.

If you had a yacht what type of yacht would you have?

Well, I do have my NAUTIQUE G21 “yacht” … but if I were to get something bigger, it would likely be a sailing catamaran…. flexibility to sail, shallow draft for the Bahamas, big wide living space outside the boat.

If you had a yacht where would you spend the most time aboard?

Western and Eastern Med I suppose. Being able to move from country to country and culture to culture in just a day or two is a gift… Spain to France to Italy to Greece to Croatia. I don’t think you’d run out of places to explore on a yacht.

What’s your favorite activity you enjoy with friends/family?

At the moment, we love to wake surf and wakeboard, but anything on the waterworks for me diving, snorkeling and fishing.

What is one fun/unique fact about yourself?

  • Unique: graduated from Stanford University.
  • Fun: I grew up in Juneau, Alaska, and love to fish for salmon more than anything.

What is one tip for first-time clients?

Find a broker you like to talk to and spend time with; then start asking lots of questions. The buying process should be fun. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the world from offshore. Whether you buy a boat or charter, you will have an amazing experience.

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