The Men who Stare at Boats The 23rd Monaco Yacht Show, held on September 24-28 at the principality’s Port Hercules, received 33,730 visitors. The organisers of the industry’s largest gathering were optimistic, alluding to an easing of market conditions for the various yards, brokers and suppliers present. By Nick Augusteijn
ccording to the organisers, a record 110 events
were held on and around the various vessels
Second-generation buyers from emerging markets
moored at Monaco’s deepwater port at this
in South America and the Far East are one indicator
year’s yacht show. One such event was the inaugural
driving the industry’s recovery. Such clients are “ac-
Monaco Yacht Summit, held at the Grimaldi Forum on
customed to the European way of life, well-travelled
September 24. The event brought together industry ex-
and familiar with yachting culture,” according to Fabio
perts for a discussion covering a wide range of topics,
Ermetto, chairman of Italy-based yacht broker Fraser
such as the challenges posed by the enduring global
Yachts. This explains why yachting in China, often her-
economic downturn, the latest design and technology
alded as the promising new market for luxury goods,
trends among yacht customers and shipyards, as well
did not take off as fast as it did in Russia, for example.
as opportunities for the industry over the next decade.
“There are dozens of Chinese billionaires that have
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Despite a tough market, 39 of the world’s 100 largest yachts were built in 2008-2013.
never spent a day outside of the country,” Ermetto said,
Russian clients put a premium on brands as in their na-
adding that they have to “adapt to using yachts.”
tion, the ownership or charter of a yacht “has become
China is getting into yachts . In 2012, Chinese manu-
the definition of luxury. The pedigree of a yacht is more
facturer Shandong Heavy Industry acquired a 75-per-
important for a Russian than for a European client.
cent stake in renowned Italian yachtmaker Ferretti. In
They will often forego the purchase of a lesser-known
March 2013, Fraser Yachts decided to take on the sale
brand and opt for one that is better known, even if
of the 88-metre Illusion , the biggest yacht ever to come
those yachts are of comparable quality,” Ermetto said.
out of China. “This yacht is the largest vessel currently
This sentiment was in some way echoed by Chris Cec-
under construction without an owner,” Ermetto said.
il-Wright, namesake of the Cecil Wright boutique bro-
Illusion is under construction at the Raffles shipyard in
kers. “Quality boats are selling again,” the Financial
Shangdong and is slated for completion in 2015.
Times quoted Cecil-Wright as saying. Similarly, the
57 ELEPHANT LIFESTYLE
The purchase of second-hand yachts, reflecting the economic downturn, has been a boon to refitters in recent years.
Monaco Yacht Show’s managing director Gaëlle
Dutch yard Royal de Vries, “The number of people
Tallarida recalled, “When we met the exhibitors
crazy enough to commission one of these yachts
on their stands, my team and I received some pos-
is between 30 and 40 per year.”
itive feedback with lots of activity taking place.”
The economic slump has not hurt everyone. The purchase of second-hand yachts has been
Another man’s boat
a boon to companies in the refit business. There
Selling is an important activity at the show. The
were 25 refits on sale during the Monaco Yacht
combined value of the various yachts on sale was
Show, 20 of which had been refitted in 2009-2013.
estimated to be €1.4 billion. But, not all of the 210
This reflects a sense of realism in the market
new billionaires worldwide recognised by Forbes
following the economic downturn. From 2008,
in 2013 will purchase a yacht, let alone a new one.
buyers held out in anticipation of panic sales
According to Henk de Vries, chief executive of
and rock-bottom prices while sellers clung to
58 ELEPHANT LIFESTYLE
Published on Dec 17, 2013