With the supply of sailing yachts on the resale market far outweighing demand, the sector has been commonly viewed as a buyer’s market. In the last six months, the sales of 57.5m Twizzle, 52m Red Dragon and 40m J-Class Rainbow are a few examples of prolific transactions that have marked the end of lengthy brokerage campaigns and sparked industry hope of a rise in activity.
Overseeing a significant number of sailing yacht transactions in the last two years on behalf of Yachting Partners International (YPI) – including 37m YII, 32m Emmaline, 42m Cyclos III, 42m Mari Cha IV, 30m Rapture, the 40m J Class Rainbow and 32m Southern Wind 102RS – Will Bishop, sales and new construction broker, has experienced insight into the current state of the sailing yacht market.
Will Bishop, YPI
“The brokerage sailing yacht market remains an exceptionally challenging market, with relatively few transactions taking place over the last 24 months,” he reflects. “In my view this position will remain unchanged, as there are a lack of qualified buyers in addition to a genuine lack of yachts that meet the buyers criteria of today.”
While there has been a small upward sales trend, Bishop advises that the main challenge for any broker remains to correctly identify the market opportunities that meets the clients’ brief, whether those have been publicly listed for sale or not.
Bishop believes that the key market sector for growth and resale potential will be in the 30 to 35m range, with an emphasis on performance. “It is clear that the success of the semi-production builders such as Southern Wind and the custom new build orders that have been placed have been concentrated in this area for some time, due to significant growth of the regatta circuit,” he explains.
SY Red Dragon, sold in October 2015
In terms of the new build sector, data collated by The Superyacht Intelligence Agency reveals that out of the 35 sailing yachts over 30m currently under construction, almost half of them are under 40m, with the majority of the larger projects having been on the order book for longer. Out of the six new orders that were placed in 2015, only one of these projects is over 40m, indeed suggesting a trend towards this smaller end of the market.
“Whilst there will continue to be large new build orders placed, this market will remain exceptionally competitive as the yards compete for an ever smaller pool of clients with the ability to build upwards of 45m,” Bishop adds. “I would expect to see further consolidation with the traditional sailing yacht shipyards engaged in the build of motoryachts going forward in order to maintain their order books.”
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