One of our sources within one of the Big Five brokerage houses has just informed us that a client of theirs has requested a 40m for a week in the milk-run Med this August… but there are none available. The two 50m yachts with availability are nearly twice the price the client wants to pay. It’s a significant signpost on the road to market recovery. Advance bookings are back. How long until the per-week prices start to rise?

Meanwhile, I’ve just completed reporting for a US and Caribbean charter report for our forthcoming Monaco Yacht Show issue of The Superyacht Report. What we’re hearing is increased US activity: The Americans are back. And that’s a very good thing for the breadth of the market, as by most accounts, US clients for charter and sale comprise nearly half of the entire global market.

“Compared to last year and the previous year, I have had a significant increase in the number of advance bookings for the winter Caribbean season,” said Daphne d’Offay, charter manager with Ocean Independence in Fort Lauderdale. “I have six bookings between December and May next year, and they’re spread across the season. It really seems like charter customers are planning ahead. It’s great for us and for the yachts and the whole market.”

By comparison, the 30m sailing yacht, Susanne Af Stockholm, which d’Offay put actively on for the Caribbean season only a month ago, had a booking within three days and has had five further requests. That’s surprising, given the owner had been undecided whether he’d come back this year after last season when she debuted, arrived late and didn’t book any charters at all.

“The Caribbean looks better than the Bahamas for winter charter, but there’s been a real surge in interest in the Bahamas for the summer charter season over New England,” d’Offay says. “You’ll hear that from most charter brokers. We can’t really explain what’s going on in New England.”

Ocean Independence charter yacht Just Enough

D’Offay, who is the current co-chair of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) charter professionals committee, says she and her colleagues are seeing $100,000pw as a spend ceiling for clients interested in New England. “Below that level, yachts are getting at least one or two weeks booked. Boats are being presented but we’re getting really low offers, which owners aren’t willing accept. There are real deals in New England right now: I had a yacht out for $135,000pw and I dropped the rate to $100,000pw for a couple of weeks. Another boat I just saw a couple weeks ago is normally $165,000pw and they came down to $125,000pw. But we’re still not getting them even at those rates.”

The biggest news continues to be the return of American buyers and charterers—though they continue to choose to cruise outside of the US in the Caribbean, Bahamas and the Mediterranean rather than Maine, Newport, Long Island, or the Florida coast.

images courtesy IYC and Ocean Independence

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