comprehensively yachts

our network

who we are

HFW is an international law firm with over 500 lawyers working across our global network. We advise clients on the legal issues in relation to all aspects of international commerce and we are regarded as one of the world’s leading shipping law firms. The expertise, experience and reputation earned in commercial shipping is carried into our yacht practice.
Our yacht team has over 25 years experience of working in this intimate industry and our in-depth knowledge combined with our international reach ensures we are pre-eminent in the field.

Holman Fenwick has a market-leading yacht practice which draws on the experience of its world-renowned shipping team. Holman Fenwick is regarded as “one of the most prominent firms around,” with a “very high profile in the yachting world.” The firm represents some of the world’s leading shipyards as well as a number of prominent HNW yacht owners.


Sources highlight the quality of the team’s work, with one lawyer noting that they are “a very solution-driven firm who always find a mutually beneficial result.” Holman Fenwick is also described as having an “extensive network of international contacts” and as being “one of the most visible firms in this market.”


We are very pleased to have HFW’s yacht team assisting us with our Volvo Ocean Race matters and particularly impressed by their fast turnaround and commercial approach.

Estefania Esteve, Head of Finance & Legal - Volvo Ocean Race

what we do

Confidentiality and privacy are paramount in the yachting industry. We, of course, cannot disclose details of our clients or any of the projects we have been involved in. However, our team is positioned to assist with any aspect of constructing and operating a yacht and we are routinely involved in some of the largest and most complex projects in the yachting industry. We advise on the full lifecycle of yachting issues including, amongst other things:

  • Design contracts / intellectual property issues
  • Construction and refit projects
  • Ownership structures
  • VAT and tax issues

  • Sale and purchase transactions

  • Financing and leasing arrangements

  • Restructuring of distressed assets

  • Management and crewing

  • The sale, purchase and leasing of berths

  • Chartering

  • Physical and cyber security

  • Insurance

  • Health, safety and regulatory compliance

  • Dispute resolution

  • Business jets and helicopters

  • Crisis management

our experts

Jay Tooker

Jay specialises in yacht and ship building, yacht and ship sale and purchase, yacht, ship and asset finance, corporate law and international trade.

Adam Shire

Adam has over 20 years’ experience in the industry and acts regularly for banks and other financial institutions as well as for owners, advising them on finance transactions and sale and purchase of yachts, as well as registrations, management and operating issues.

Elinor Dautlich

Elinor has been advising on yacht related contracts at HFW for more than 20 years. This includes contracts for the design and construction of yachts, the financing, yacht sale and purchase, charters, and yacht management and refit/repair contracts.
Elinor has particular experience in physical and cyber security issues as they relate to yachts and is Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Maritime and Land Transport Committee.

Alex Sayegh

Alex specialises in the transactional aspects of the commercial yachting industries; advising owners, shipyards and financiers on the construction, refit, repair, sale and purchase of various types of vessels. He has a particular focus on construction contracts for new builds and has extensive experience of negotiating with shipyards and yacht builders throughout the world. Alex also regularly lectures on the subjects of shipbuilding and sale and purchase contracts.

Jessica Taylor

Jessica specialises in the transactional side of yachting and commercial shipping, advising owners, shipyards, financial institutions, brokerage houses, and designers on all aspects of the construction, refit, sale and purchase, design, management, crewing and chartering of large yachts.

William MacLachlan

William advises on a wide range of yacht related matters with a particular focus on VAT, design/intellectual property, construction, sale and purchase, charter, management, refit and repair. William also advises on physical and cyber security on board yachts and on the developing issues relating to the use of drones in the maritime environment. William spent 8 months seconded to a leading German yacht builder.

Pauline Arroyo

Ian is a banking and finance lawyer with specialist experience in the shipping, superyacht, offshore and aviation sectors. Ian advises banks and other financial institutions, funds, Islamic investors, insurance companies and owners on a variety of matters including new financings, sale and purchase, leasing, restructurings, work outs and enforcements.

Patrick Cheung

Thomas specialises in asset finance, with a particular emphasis on ship, superyacht and aviation finance.
He advises commercial and private wealth banks and other financial institutions, investors, owners, charterers and manufacturers in connection with pre- and post-delivery bilateral and syndicated financings and general banking arrangements.
His work also covers sale and purchase, leasing arrangements, restructurings and workouts.
Thomas has spent time on client secondment at a specialist transport finance bank.

Pauline Arroyo

Pauline has a broad experience in yacht-related Customs matters. She advises on EU and French customs issues in all types of yacht transactions and assists in the context of customs controls and litigation in France.

Patrick Cheung

Patrick has extensive experience in our non-contentious practice, with special focus on
(i) yacht building, sale and purchase, registration and finance,
(ii) private jet finance, registration, management and operation agreements and
(iii) cruise and leisure industry.

Tien Tai

Tien has extensive experience in our non-contentious practice, with special focus on yacht building, sale and purchase, registration, crewing and finance in all the major yacht registries including the UAE. His recent experience includes negotiation of yacht refit contracts with GCC yards. Tien has spent time on client secondment at the ship finance team of an international bank.

Stéphanie Schweitzer

Stephanie has a broad experience in yacht-related employment and personal injury matters. She regularly advises yacht owners and insurers in relation to passenger’s claim, crew contracts and claims, social security issues. Stephanie also often assist clients of the yachting industry in relation to contract of carriage, charter party and yacht arrests.

Tom Walters

Tom graduated in 1995 after which he worked for a naval architecture practice on the UK’s south coast designing superyachts. He joined HFW in 2002 and became a Partner in 2014. Tom regularly deals with yacht casualties, insurance claims and transportation disputes. His technical background means he has also been involved with a number of technical cases and construction disputes concerning yachts. Tom advises on the use of Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) technology in the marine sector in response to the increasing demand for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs). Tom is a member of The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and also works with the Society of Underwater Technology (SUT) advising on various legal issues as well as being a member of various SUT Sub-Committees, including Salvage & Emergency Subsea Response and Technology and Innovation.

Alex Kemp

Alex specialises in marine insurance and crisis response and has advised both yacht owners and insurers on a variety of insurance and affecting large yachts including fires, groundings, missing vessels, damage sustained whilst being transported, structural defects, main engine damage and damage to gel coatings. He has advised on yacht casualties including those requiring salvage assistance. Alex has also undertaken a secondment at a leading London marine insurer.

Alistair Feeney

More information on Alistair to come soon.

Lucy Greenish

More information on Lucy to come soon.

Mark Thompson

More information on Mark to come soon.

24/7 crisis response service


our network

We have a strong international brand and a rapidly growing network of offices. Our 17 offices (plus 3 alliance/association offices) provide us with resources across the globe and we have presence in many of the major centres of yacht ownership and operation in the world. Frequently we resource our matters with team members drawn from different offices and time zones and this allows us to provide our clients, wherever they are, with the resources of a truly global superyachts team.

We speak 40 languages across the firm.

Contact us
HFW Worldwide Offices