Established as the largest display of sailing superyachts for sale worldwide, Palma Superyacht Show plays a vital role in the local brokerage market in providing a tool for brokers to sell second-hand sailing yachts and motoryachts within a smaller size segment that may otherwise be overlooked at other shows. Its effectiveness has been increasingly apparent: last year’s edition resulted in a number of yachts sold or chartered as a result of the event, including three yachts sold by Northrop and Johnson and two by Camper and Nicholson, as well as three charters purveyed by Burgess.

With many qualified clientele in attendance and so many unique yachts on display, this year’s event has the potential to galvanise similar activity. “McMaster Yachts enjoyed a very successful Palma Superyacht Show – it is now, I believe, certainly one of the top two shows in the Mediterranean and is getting better every year,” comments James McMaster, managing director of McMaster Yachts. “We had a lot of interest in both our yachts for sale and are optimistic we will be receiving offers shortly. Our new charter CA was also very well received, and for a Balearic-based charter yacht this was the perfect launching platform.”

Located in the capital of the Balearics, the show also plays a pivotal role in promoting charters in the region, numbers of which have grown since changes to the matriculation tax in 2013. Recent data collated by the Spanish Association of Superyachts (AEGY) shows that 95 superyachts obtained a licence to charter in the Balearics in 2018, reflecting a considerable market growth that has now reached a stable and natural level.

“If we consider that the total number of superyachts available for charter in the western Mediterranean is around 700, and given that there are six key destinations within that area, then a little over 100 yachts actually chartering in the Balearics is a normal and respectable part of the fleet,” explains Anne Sterringa, senior charter broker at Camper and Nicholsons Spain. “It is very possible that 100 yachts annually are about the Balearics’ fair share of the market and numbers will stabilise around this figure.”

For Fiona McCarthy, charter broker at Fraser Yachts, the Palma Superyacht Show is a perfect way to kick off the summer season. "[The show] is great for catching up with clients old and new to discuss plans for the summer in the Mediterranean and elsewhere around the world," she comments. "We can show clients a range of yachts that are on offer so they can get a feel for the sizes of styles of yachts available. There were fewer charter yachts there this year due to the overlap with the MYBA Barcelona show, but hopefully next year this won't happen."

A popular part of the show is the Refit and Repair area, which attracts a more targeted footfall of yachting professionals. Many local companies have reported their busiest winter refit season in Palma yet and, considering the region’s increasing prominence in the refit and repair sector, having a dedicated business-to-business section for these companies to showcase new services and technology has added another dimension to the show.

“We had a number of enquiries and orders coming via crewmembers as well as owners at the show and this has topped off the busiest winter season in the history of the company by far, showing that it’s not slowing down yet,” says Steve Worrall, operations manager at Horizon Marine Electronics. “Our working CMC Marine stabiliser attracted a lot of interest and, having installed three systems and serviced 11 vessels in the past few months, is sure to continue to keep us very busy. Our Sailmon customised instrument displays were also a popular talking point.”

It feels like there are fewer and fewer sailing yachts being represented at the other international superyacht shows, as the number of motoryachts on the water continues to overshadow the number of sailing yachts. The Palma Superyacht Show is a breath of fresh air in this respect and a chance for the industry to pay homage to the sailing yacht sector – an important niche to have carved in an oversaturated boat show calendar.

Images credit: Stuart Pearce and Sofia Winghamre

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