The luxury superyacht market is growing in the wake of the global recession a decade ago. In fact, of sailing yachts over 100-foot, the size needed to put the word super in front of yacht, 158 out of a worldwide fleet of 765 vessels are for sale. Motor yachts are much more plentiful, with 773 ready for purchase out of over 4000 now on the seas. These statistics are according to data from the Netherlands-based SuperYacht Times iQ, as quoted in the 2018 edition of The Wealth Report by London-headquartered consultancy, Knight Frank. This report also noted that 150 new superyachts were completed in 2017.
“Confidence has certainly returned to the superyacht market, which as a whole is still working toward fully bouncing back after surviving the global financial crisis,” says Philip Bell, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based sales broker for Northrop & Johnson. “Since the recovery, brokerage sales have consistently increased year upon year — a welcome statistic that’s also true with the new-build order book. As yards and designers become more comfortable with securing future business, they also become more comfortable with dedicating time to future design concepts and what tomorrow’s superyachts should look like.”
There are a couple of consistent directions among a plethora of imaginative and diverse designs. These include additional master cabins, water toy storage and the ability to tow large tenders. A good example is the Horizon-built 2018-refit 132-foot motor yacht, Lady Leila, which is in the Northrup & Johnson fleet and for sale at $8.7 million. She features two master cabins, three separate garages to store a tender and two jet skis, private owners’ deck and a large tow behind tender.
“While these are not brand-new ideas, and there are multiple existing yachts out there with all these features, they definitely are the trends that buyers want to see,” says Bell.
Roomy deck space is another in-demand design feature. In fact, the ‘wow’ on the 2017 Heesen-built. 150-foot steel hull motor yacht, Book Ends, is the nearly 900-square-foot sundeck with Jacuzzi.
“This deck is absolutely sensational and vast for a yacht of her size,” says Amanda Thibaut, marketing communications executive for Ocean Independence UK Ltd., in West Sussex, UK, which is brokering the US $32.8 million yacht’s sale.
An associated must-have amenity is beach clubs, adds Tim Quinlan, one of Ocean Independence’s senior sales brokers based in the UK. “No longer are you required to share the beach space with others, Superyachts of all sizes are offering superb beach club facilities including wet bars, contained pools, mini marinas to house your toys including wake boards, jet skis, sailing dinghies, SUP, powered surf boards on carbon foils, Terraquad Amphibious Jeep and Biski Amphibious Motorcycle.”
One of the biggest trends in both new builds and refits is advanced technology in the use of glass both in the superstructure of the yacht and in the hull with large windows. A good example is Excellence, a 2010-built, 150-foot Richmond tri-deck motor yacht, which has oversized panoramic windows with custom electric Roman shades. The yacht, offered for sale by Denison Yacht Sales for US 15.6 million, just completed a $2 million refit earlier this year at the Lauderdale Marine Center.
Size does matter.
“Large tonnage has been very successful over the past few years. Whilst builders in the 130- to 200-foot sector have struggled a little, we have seen new builds at over 460-foot flourish,” says Ocean Independence’s Quinlan.
That said, bigger isn’t always better.
“I see a lot of experienced owners who want to buy in the 150- to 180-foot size range,” says Alex Clarke, superyacht broker with Denison Yachting, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “This range allows clients to have a more manageable crew and the yacht is able to access the majority of ports around the world versus being forced to anchor offshore because they are too large to tie to the dock.”
Finally, there is much interest today from superyacht owners who want to chase distance horizons, such as the polar regions or South Pacific, with craft that will get them there and back safely and in comfort.
“Explorer style yachts fits with the experiential travel envisaged by more and more by our clients. Larger yachts with a good range and exceptional sea-keeping qualities, together with versatile/flexible spaces feature too, to achieve longer-distance cruising plans,” says Ocean Independence’s Thibault.