A buyer’s guide to the 30-50m sailing yacht segment
This sector in decline still has a variety of options for the prudent buyer…
While a number of years ago the 30-50m sailing yacht sector was considered to be a relatively popular and competitive sector, the market today is quite different. As the superyacht market opened up to new demographics of UHNWIs the movement away from traditional sailing and towards the motoryacht sector hastened as most chose to engage with an asset class that was deemed to be more flexible and practical as the sailing yacht experience became less and less about the sailing itself and more about the various luxury pastimes that go hand in hand with the contemporary superyacht lifestyle. As a result, the legitimate options for 30-50m sailing yacht buyers today are few and far between.
Indeed, in the period from 2000-2012, the 30-50m sailing yacht sector delivered on average 21.5 projects per year, with a peak of 29 (2009) and a trough of 12 (2001). While this 12-year time period may seem arbitrary, 2012 is widely considered to be the final year that legacy projects commissioned before the global financial crisis were delivered. In the years that followed, this sailing yacht market declined rapidly. From 2013-2019, there was an average of 10.7 vessels delivered in this segment per year, with a peak of 17 (2013) and a low of six (2017). All told, the market has declined by around 50 per cent in recent years.
Such has been the sporadic nature of this sector in recent years, using a 10-year delivery cycle to analyse performance would be ineffective due to the number of ‘top-performing yards’ that are no longer operational. A five-year cycle, therefore, is of far greater use. Of the top-performing builders in this sector, Southern Wind Shipyard stands out having delivered seven projects in the last five years, followed by Baltic Yachts that has delivered five projects.
This is not to say, however, that build slots are hard to come by in this sector. While orders and deliveries are certainly down, a number of the shipyards that are known for building in this range have refocused their efforts on more popular size ranges. Therefore, when approaching a build in this sector it pays to be aware of the performance of certain shipyards across a range of sectors, rather than entirely putting stock in the results of the 30-50m market.
While new orders and deliveries are not what they once were, deliveries are outperformed by sales, which suggests there is still an active market for these vessels, albeit not necessarily new projects. In fact, between only the top five brokerage houses, dominated by Northrop & Johnson, more vessels in this range were sold than were delivered by the entire market between 2015-2019, suggesting that when extrapolated out to include other brokerage houses, a more active market emerges.
To explore the performance of the 30-50m sailing yacht sector including deliveries, sales, age vs final asking price, depreciation rates and more, be sure to download your complimentary version of ‘A Buyer’s Guide to the 30-50m Sailing Yacht Segment’ and click here.
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