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The Superyacht Insider
Adam Moorey
16th January 2019

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The Superyacht Insider

A constellation of global offices make Camper & Nicholsons the leaders of multi-billion Euro luxury yacht market. Some 40 brokers in their company’s worldwide bureaux all call upon Adam Moorey, the company’s intelligence go-to. Here he distills superyacht statistics from a record 2018, while weaving industry predictions for the coming decade.


Luxury yacht brokerage is an industry that doesn’t sleep. Which means that I’m on call 24/7. As Market Intelligence Manager for Camper & Nicholsons, I feed data to our team of circa 40 brokers in 12 global bureaux. Their clients demand data that offers future insight. Quite rightly, buyers wish to base their purchase on an actionable industry trend. The telephone calls I take may help broker a sale worth millions, if not tens of millions, and perhaps even hundreds. That’s why my iPhone is never switched off.

The figures I deal with aren’t just immense. They’re also growing. In 2013, pre-owned yacht sales over 24m totalled €2.5bn. By 2015, that statistic was €2.75bn. By 2017, purchased had topped €3bn. If 2018 sales continue, we’re on course for another record year. By having such detailed intelligence at our fingertips, Camper & Nicholsons have maintained a market share among the industry’s top 10 performing brokerage companies. Put simply, we are the oldest, largest and most prestigious name in luxury yachting. My job is to help keep it that way.

The figure of €3bn in annual sales tells only half the story. The devil’s in the detail, as they say in my native Britain. These headline statistics mask the fact that individual yacht purchases have made only a slow and steady rise over the last decade. For example, from January to August 2017, 306 luxury yachts were sold worldwide. During the same period of 2018, 305 were sold.
The average age of yachts purchased also remained almost exactly the same.

So what’s the big change this year? One word: size. In 2017, five yachts over 70m were sold during the entire year. Whereas this year, even before the Monaco Yacht Show took place, six had already been purchased.
Most of these ultra-large yachts are considerable enough to be catapulted straight into world’s top 100 largest superyacht lists. That’s a club that now requires a 85m bow-to-stern entry.
Given such demand it’s little wonder that our brokers have been busy matching buyers and sellers. Unsurprisingly, as the world’s largest luxury yacht brokerage, we frequently have a client in mind when we take on a pre-owned vessel for sale. A case in point is S/Y Blush (formerly Helios) which was both brokered and sold by my colleague Alex Lees-Buckley in July 2018. This 45m sailing yacht was built by Perini Navi to a Ron Holland design. Twice a year she skips from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, where 10 guests can switch from rosé to rum to befit the change in location. And just two weeks earlier Alex’s son, Gaston Lees-Buckley, brokered another Perini Navi yacht, S/Y Elettra, in another in-house deal. The lessons passed from father to son have helped the Nicholson family to grow our business since 1782. The same maxim rings true today.

We believe in all the yachts we broker. So much so that we are proud to charter a vast number of the yachts we sell. A fine example is M/ Y Elegant 007 (see page 148), for which my Mayfair colleague Adam-Michael Papadakis acted for both buyer and seller. In 2016, this 72m superyacht proved to be one the largest sales of the year. Our charter team now manage her Mediterranean schedule, where a week on board for up to 30 guests costs from €550,000 per week. At 230m2, her sundeck boasts a  larger surface area than many yachts have in total. She has a staff ratio greater than 1:1.

Market pressures have also resulted in a boom in new build sales. It seems there simply aren’t enough older yachts to go around. As ever, the Italians dominate this sector. The nation that brought us the Olivetti typewriter, Ferrari Dino and Pendolino train is by far and away the world’s most prolific yacht builder, producing around 50% of larger new build yachts.

Benetti has taken orders for delivery as far ahead as 2021. Based in Viareggio on the Tuscan coast, they are Italy’s leading shipyard. They attracts clients by offering both custom yachts as well as a forthcoming new fleet range, the Oasis 135’. This 41m evolves Benetti’s DNA by fully opening to the sea, by way of balconies, terraces, beaches, hatches and panoramic windows. More than a superyacht, it’s the planet’s most fabulous beach club, with all the trappings of a boutique hotel. Benetti’s legacy stretches back to 1873. Of course, that renders the shipyard a bambino compared with Camper & Nicholsons, which has been in business for a full century longer.

My market intelligence adds value to our brokers’ knowledge. But the key reason we are so successful in this market is the deep relationships our staff have with shipyards. We also have a secret weapon in the new build business: our Chief Commercial Officer, Fabio Ermetto. The trust needed to pursue an off-plan purchase of this scale requires delicate understanding of both shipyard and client. Fabio carries the confidence of both. His career took him from Benetti to Azimut and Heesen, while he can walk into Sanlorenzo, Feadship and Lürssen and be treated like an old friend.

Furthermore, there’s no reason to wait until 2021 for delivery of one’s new charge. Thanks to leaders like Fabio, our brokers have access to around 95 hulls that can be custom finished and delivered within the next 12 to 36 months. Plus another 1,600 pre owned yachts currently for sale around the globe. Put simply, if a yacht is on sale, we have uniquely experienced staff with access to it. I can attest to this fact, as they call me for market information first.

One piece of data points to a final emerging trend. Over the past decade we’ve seen shipyards in Asia and the Middle East rising up the list to complement, if not yet rival, builders in Europe and the United States. In time Chinese yards like Heysea, Cheoy Lee and Kingship - firms familiar to our Hong Kong office - may establish themselves on the luxury yacht market, just as Lenovo, Huawei and Alibaba do in the technology sector today. Whichever shipyard buyers choose, Camper & Nicholsons will make sure they sail through the process with the minimum of turbulence.