Here at Berthon France, we ended 2017 with an ear to ear smile. It was super busy with both myself and Isabelle Skaf who is my right hand woman, on the go throughout. The result was a financial year end which is the best that I have ever seen at Berthon France, and I have been working with the Berthon team for 10 years.
The Cote d’Azur continues to be the place to come to enjoy clear blue waters, sunny skies, and superb surroundings. Our food, fine wine and the warm welcome on our coast is also not unhelpful. The famous Riviera is the playground for an international host of yachtsmen and women in addition to our strong French client base.
This year we sold yachts of course, to our French clients. However we also dealt with a diverse mix of clients from England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and Russia. They were all a delight to work with and for sure, the very best part of our job is to see them enjoying their yachts not only on a daily basis but also for longer distance cruising.
We sold a wide range of Windy and Dracos in 2017. The Draco product is fun to drive and of great quality and is easy to use and enjoy. We have delivered them to new owners on the Cote d’Azur and Corsica, as well as on the Atlantic West coast in the Bassin d’Archachon.
The Windy 39’ Camira continues to be a must have sportsboat and last year saw 5 new Camiras with the epic sun lounge layout delivered by Berthon France. Perfect for the South of France, 50% of the entire Camira fleet have found their home in our waters. In fact one of our owners cruised from the Cote d’Azur to Corsica, the day after taking delivery – how cool is that?
2 new Windy 31’ Zondas joined the South of France fleet both with very funky upholstery and hull colours, as well as a Windy 46’ Chinook with a hydraulic stern platform and lots of other great kit. The Windy yard is superb at working with owners to realise their dreams and to deliver a yacht that is perfect for their specific needs.
We also added to the SR 52’ fleet, with one yacht going to the clear and sparkling waters of St Tropez and another to Beaulieu sur Mer close to Monaco. Together with 2 sold from our UK office, Berthon are now the go to place for these fantastic and custom craft.
2017 was busy with brokerage sales through the year, many of these were pre-owned Windys all of which had a great and very sunny season.
There was some concern about our elections in France and how that might affect our market. We felt no effect from this event which normally slows the yacht market in France and so far there appears to be no fall out and the market looks solid. This is of course assisted by the fact that our client base is international and there is no sign that the current French administration has any plans to introduce any legislation that will prevent yachtsmen and women of all nationalities from enjoying our spectacular waters on the Cote d’Azur.
A trend that we have seen and which we think will be more pronounced in 2018 is the interest and desire for larger day boats with generously sized cockpits and nice accommodation. We are seeing that the style of use is changing. Our clients are less interested in yachts with huge amounts of interior accommodation and small outside spaces with a small cockpit area and a flybridge. They want yachts that will make the most of the day or weekend aboard, with most of them staying ashore during some of their stay here and using their yacht as a quick destination too.
The success of the SR 52’ shows how the pendulum is swinging and so we are really excited about the launch of her little sister, the SR 43’ at our stand at the Cannes Boat Show this coming September (2018) which will be her world debut. We expect to see a lot of these great sportsboats roaring around the waters of the Cote d’Azur and further afield in French waters in the coming years.
Of course there is always concern around the berthing situation in the South of France. There are many yachts and a limited number of places to put them. Buying a berth is the preferred option for many yacht owners so that they don’t have to worry about annual contracts, finding a berth next year, being moved around the marina and all of that. The purchase of a berth in our waters however, can also be a minefield. We are well versed in the wrinkles around this process and we are always happy to advise on the best course of action and we do transact a number of berths every year.
We are now very settled at our office in the lovely port of Mandelieu and it is the perfect harbour from which to base in the South of France. You are so welcome to visit us there at any time and the eateries are good too! Centrally based it is easy to get to which also helps us with our busy programme of sea trialling, meeting clients and delivering yachts through the season.
As part of the Berthon family, we are in close touch with our relatives in the USA and UK offices and we all work together as a team. Whatever your yachting aspirations and wishes, if you are visiting the Cote d’Azur in 2018 you will be so welcome to come and see us in Mandelieu, and maybe we will even tempt you out on our stunning azure waters this year.