Rarified Air


The Monaco Yacht Show starts today, with 125 superyachts filling Monte Carlo Harbor. In addition to superyacht builders, the event attracts brokers, equipment makers, RIB and tender builders, electronics manufacturers and the rest of the sector’s supply chain. The 600 exhibitors cater to the top end of the yachting market.

Show organizer Informa said there will be 44 new superyacht launches this year. The fleet has a total value of $4.29 billion (3.9 billion euros). The average length of the yachts in the fleet is 162 feet, and the largest new yacht at the show is the 364-foot Tis by German shipyard Lurssen.

The brokerage fleet includes the 446-foot Flying Fox, 413-foot Octopus and 115-foot Pelorus. New launches include the 150-foot Excellence, 279-foot Bold and 164-foot All About U2 sailing yacht, among dozens of others. Press conferences by Italian, U.K., Dutch, Turkish and German builders were held today.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his entourage could be seen walking around the docks of Port Hercule, along with thousands of other owners, representatives and tourists.

This year’s show is set against a backdrop of healthy superyacht sales, according to a white paper by Informa. It states that the “construction book” of yachts larger than 130 feet is at its highest level since 2011, when many projects that started before the recession were still underway. Since that time, the market has concentrated into fewer shipyards, many building larger yachts.

“The move by several builders toward larger-sized yachts could be explained by the fact that many well-reputed large yacht builders now have full order books,” stated the white paper.

Sales of 194 superyachts last year were the highest since the “extreme peak” of 241 yachts in 2008. The global fleet has been growing by 150 to 180 yachts a year over the last five years. The current global order book has 483 yachts under construction, guaranteeing another three years of deliveries. Around 160 to 190 new-yacht deliveries are expected in 2019 and 2020.

Buyers from North America have been the “driving force” in the superyacht market for several years, according to the white paper, accounting for 17 percent of sold superyachts now under construction. Russians, the next highest group, own 11 percent of the sold superyachts under construction. Asians account for about 7 percent of total owners of yachts over 130 feet.

Despite strong order books, there is caution about an uncertain global economic period, as well as Brexit. “If the market can sustain the level of demand experienced over the last two years for another year, then deliveries in 2021 and 2022 can also be expected to remain at a high level,” the publication stated. “However, the growing economic uncertainty after a number of very good years presents a significant downside risk.”

However, the future seems bright with this year’s Monaco show. Heesen reported the sale of its 194-foot Project Skyfall, and Sunseeker said it is close to starting the build on its new 161-foot superyacht. At the very high end of the scale, Lurssen said it sold the 410-foot Project Jag.


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