Are superyachts getting bigger?
The common perception is that superyachts are increasing in size. Does the layman's approach match the facts?
Using data from The Superyacht Annual Report 2018: New Build and The Superyacht Intelligence Agency we have averaged yearly LOAs of 90m-plus superyachts and the largest yacht delivered per year as the metrics for observation, we consider whether or not the assertion that yachts are getting exponentially larger is correct or whether there is another phenomenon at play.
Incredibly large superyachts are not a recent addition to the global fleet, 145.72m M/Y El Mahrousa, for example, was delivered in 1865 by Samuda Brothers. Other examples include the delivery of 135.94m Savarona in 1931 , 147m Prince Abdulaziz in 1984 and 146m Capricorn in 1999. It is true that none of these vessels match the dizzying length or size of Azzam (180m) or Dilbar (15917gt) respectively, but few yachts do.
The development of the large superyacht sector has not been as linear as anecdotal evidence might suggest. The below graph (lengths are show in metres) clearly highlights that there is very little rhyme or reason involved in the evolution of the 90m-plus sector; both the yearly average LOAs and maximum length of yachts fluctuate dramatically. However, if a line of best fit were to be drawn it would almost be horizontal for both metrics, implying that, contrary to popular belief, superyachts are not getting bigger.
More tellingly, perhaps, is how the 90m-plus sector, albeit with small unitary figures, is stabilising at around four to six deliveries per year. Indeed, the 90m-plus sector is the most stable it has been in 15 years and more productive now than it was during the halcyon days of the mid-2000s.
This information, however, is not intended to suggest that the superyacht market is not continuing to push boundaries. Perhaps the standout figure, aside from the number of 90m-plus vessels scheduled for delivery in 2019 (6) and 2020 (3), is the largest yacht that is scheduled to be delivered in 2020, the 181.6m REV project. Once delivered, REV will be the longest superyacht in the world (181.6m), as well as the largest in terms of gross tonnage at 17,440gt. It should be noted, however, that REV is no mere pleasure craft and will have significantly less leisure space than both Azzam or Dilbar.
The REV project featured at The Superyacht Forum 2017 in a keynote panel called 'Nobility of purpose: The REV project'.
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