Responding to increasingly onerous regulatory burdens, more superyacht owners are taking their boats off the commercial charter market in favour of the relative peace and simplicity of private ownership, according to Jonathan Beckett, CEO of the full-service superyacht brokerage house Burgess. In an exclusive interview with, Beckett says there is a trend of owners ‘going private’ but that he expects this to have a positive impact on the value of the charter fleet.

“We have seen a number of good commercial charter yachts going private in the past few months to avoid regulatory hassle,” Beckett says. “The trend is now slowing and we believe that the end result will be a fantastic fleet of great quality commercial yachts that are seriously available for charter.”

Across the brokerage landscape, Beckett sees change, but a general sense of improvement. Burgess currently lists 63 yachts between 30m and 90m for sale and 93 yachts for charter. In 2013, which Beckett describes as a year of recovery, the brokerage announced the sale of nine yachts as central agent and another six as joint agent. But he predicts 2014 will be the best brokerage year since 2008: “2014 is already looking very promising, with much more optimism in the air and yachts already going under offer,” he says. “Buyers will be predominantly from North America, Mexico, the gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Europe.”

Jonathan Beckett, CEO of Burgess

Beckett expects the demand for large yachts sleeping more than 12 guests to grow. “Why would you spend a very large sum of money to charter a 100m yacht which only carries 12 guests when a yacht of 70-85m is very comfortable and has all the facilities you need for up to 12 guests?
 I think the PYC code will very quickly become the norm for large yachts over 85m. It makes perfect sense from a charter point of view and also from an investment and resale perspective. I do not believe that charter rates at €3,750,000 (as is the case currently with the most expensive yacht on the charter market, Serene, for charter through Y.Co) will become common or even achievable for large PYC yachts. It’s just too much. I would predict charter rates of between €700,000 per week for an 80m PYC vessel, up to €2,000,000 per week for yachts over 130m.”

Considering the landscape in Asia, Beckett says that Burgess remains focused on the Singapore Yacht Show where they will have the 60m Cloud 9 on display; Beckett expects she’ll likely be the largest yacht in the show. Other shows will succeed or fail on their ability to attract exhibitors and good new clients. “If Dalian does that, then it has longevity. If not then Singapore will become the region's sole superyacht show. We will visit Dalian and assess its future viability.” 

Of, France, Beckett remains a supporter, but predicts that 2014 will show more French sellers than buyers. “It has always been an important market. France as a country—and more particularly the French Riviera—will remain the world's primary and most popular home port for superyachts.”

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