Sailing yacht market continues to stabilise...
But the future of Perini Navi begs many questions…
According to data provided by The Superyacht Agency, following a significant drop in annual deliveries between 2012 and 2013, the sailing yacht market has since plateaued - delivering an average of 12 yachts per year over the past five years. While this number is less than half of that delivered in 2012, over this time the number of annual deliveries has steadied to range between 10 and 15, meaning that the market has achieved a level of stability.
The projected order book of 20 sailing yacht deliveries for 2020 might appear to be an uptick in activity when compared to recent years but, based on previous years’ order book projections, only about half that number is likely to materialise. This is because a significant portion of the deliveries scheduled are in build at unestablished, one-off shipyards, which are more likely to experience financial or operational difficulties in delivering projects on time, if at all. The number might also be further impeded by delays due to COVID-19 disruptions. Therefore, 2020's deliveries are likely to be in keeping with the numbers established over the last five years.
However, this niche market has been thrown into a state of flux by Sanlorenzo's pending acquisition of Perini Navi. Despite building at the larger, custom end of the sailing yacht market, the Italian builder is already among the most prolific in history, and that is before one factors in the backing of one of the world's dominant new-build businesses.
With this development underway, the new-build sailing yacht market is increasingly hard to analyse. Even before news came of Sanlorenzo's interest, with more custom motoryacht builders building large, bespoke sailing yacht projects, these one-off orders can skew the data to create a false perception of the market. Except for a spike in average delivered LOA in 2017 and 2018 – skewed by the deliveries of 143m S/Y A and 107m S/Y Black Pearl – the average delivered LOA has remained fairly consistent since 2010. An average LOA ranging between 39-44m is representative of a market that continues to be bolstered by the 30-40m sector.
The sailing-yacht market is still dominated by a handful of established sailing-yacht builders: the only yards that have delivered more than five sailing yachts over the past five years are Southern Wind and Baltic Yachts. In contrast, over the same period, 20 shipyards have made only one sailing-yacht delivery. While this number of one-off sailing yacht builders is gradually decreasing as the market consolidates (in 2017, there were 28 builders had made only one sailing yacht delivery in the past five years, and in 2019 there were 22), this statistic remains challenging for builders trying to maintain a steady flow of orders from fewer prospective clients. As such, further consolidation could be projected, but the market has the potential to be turned on its head by a major incoming influence.
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