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Market Report 2017 – Flight Deck Reports – A Berthon France and USA review.

July 14, 2017

Berthon publishes an annual Market Report which reviews the yachting market over the previous year, and examines what we think will be the important trends and changes in the year ahead. A digital copy is available HERE and you can also request a hard copy at

Over the course of the next few month’s we’ll be broadcasting other articles from the Market Report via the Berthon blog and social media. If the articles and ideas are interesting and you would like to know more, or have questions, please do get in touch…


Berthon France Review by Bruno Kairet.

What a year 2017 is proving to be here in France! We always knew that election year would be an interesting time, but the political landscape is changing on a daily basis and we are pretty sure that the shifts and changes will make for a great film in the coming months or years! In Europe as a whole there are a number of key elections this year as well as the implications of Brexit, so we wait with baited breath as the drama unfolds.

These events are important for Berthon France, as the Cote d’Azur is a place where many nationalities come to spend time on the water, with its wonderful scenery, epic ports and long, balmy season full of sunny, lazy days. Our business is all about confidence as we need our client base to feel self-assured, comfortable and willing to spend time and money on the great Riviera shores.

The pretty port of Mandelieu has now been home to Berthon France for over a year, and our new offices have been a great success. The port is a friendly place and a great base from which to spend time on the water. It has also made access to both the East and West coasts of the Mediterranean much easier for us with a close connection to the motorway which takes us speeding in both directions from Monaco to Marseilles.

Because of the geography of the coast and its size, it is important that we can easily be on hand to show brokerage yachts and also to support our Windy owners who have yachts located all around the Cote d’Azur. It also makes it easy for our clients to drop in and see us.

Of course, at Berthon France, Windy Boat sales are at the core of what we do. Last year we put in some solid results with a brace of 39′ Camiras both with the new sun pad layout. The Camira is perfect for our waters with her huge outside space, incredible handling, iconic good looks and comfortable interior. We predict that we will see more of these great yachts roaring around the Cote d’Azur over the coming years, and orders taken in 2017 would indicate that this is the trend.

We also sold Cohos and Zondas last year and here for the first time we are seeing yacht owners start with a sensibly sized Windy sports boat and work up as confidence increases and as owners decide that time out on the water really is well spent.

Windy Boats have a superyacht tender division and we have always been very involved with this, as there are so many super and mega yachts moored in the South of France and it is the perfect location from which to showcase Windy’s great product. Of course the Cannes Boat Show and the Monaco Boat Show are keynote events and we have worked with Windy over a number of years marketing these tenders on the Cote d’Azur.

This has been successful with a number of Windy SR52 Blackbirds delivered for superyacht tender use and these are easily recognised with their sharp, clean lines and extraordinary acceleration and comfortable dry ride. The attention to detail is everything that we have come to expect from Windy, and does need to be witnessed to be understood.

However, as predicted in these pages a few editions back, a new market is now opening up wherein these great yachts not only support super and mega yachts, but also support holiday houses on the Mediterranean coasts. Of course it is entirely logical as those spending free time at their houses really don’t need a yacht to sleep on board, but do need lots of entertaining space, playing space, comfort and speed. The Blackbird is capable of around 45 knots which goes with an astonishing ride and great handling – just the job for balmy South of France days to blow the cobwebs away and to get both owner and guests to all those wonderful bays and restaurants for which the Cote d’Azur is famous.

We will be delivering one SR Blackbird 52’ to a client for just this use this year, and we expect to see more of this trend and more Windy superyacht tenders being used for this purpose, as we believe that they are quite simply, best in class.

The launch of the all-new, younger sibling – the SR 43’ – will also fulfil this purpose and we predict a burgeoning fleet of these great yachts in the South of France in the coming years.

Berthon France has an active brokerage arm and we were busy with the sales of second hand yachts in 2016. We have written before of the marketing and management support of this part of the business from our UK HQ, elongating our international reach as a result of being part of a bigger group.

A strong US$ also helps us as our active USA operation can direct US clients to us whilst giving those clients the confidence to deal in Europe. English is spoken at Berthon France – although we are both French – but having the confidence of referral between our offices on the East Coast of the United States in a similar time zone is key.

The situation with berths in the South of France is very fluid and local knowledge is required to actually understand what is going on and not to be caught out by all the machinations of various ports. Renting a berth can be a frustrating experience and we are always on hand to assist with this.

However, a lot of clients prefer to buy a lease so that they don’t have to worry about finding a berth annually and also so that they can choose the location that is perfect for them and their style of yachting, knowing also that they have a fixed term. This is a very good option and gives certainty as well as savings on buying berthing space where there are big supplements for the high season and lack of availability as well.

In deciding to buy a berth it is important to use an agent like Berthon France who knows the area well. A number of leases are now up for renewal with ports keeping a number of them for short term letting. Unless you know the set up in the particular port in which you find yourself, you can end up with a big bill and a short term berth if the proper due diligence isn’t done. We are always happy to advise our clients on the pitfalls of this market. In 2016, as with other years, we transacted a number of berths and last year Golfe Juan was a particularly popular location.

Despite the potential challenges, 2017 has been busy thus far and there is no shortage of clients buying and looking forward to spending time in the South of France this summer and beyond. Whatever the results of the French election, the Cote d’Azur will remain one of the finest cruising grounds on the planet. The sun will continue to shine, the wine will be pleasantly chilled and our famous French cuisine will continue to delight the palate. We look forward to helping you with your French cruising plans this year.




Berthon USA Review by Jennifer Stewart, Alan Baines and Bill Rudkin.

2016 was definitely an interesting year for the American market. With the surprising Presidential election results, the course for the USA carries with it some uncertainty for the next 4 years. For sure, there will be a loosening of some financial regulations which may make it easier to obtain marine financing, and this will help to increase sales of new yachts once again. The strength of the US$ against the €uro and £Sterling will also drive the Americans to buy overseas. It ages us to admit it, but this is the 4th or 5th such cycle that we have seen in our 30 years of brokerage.

Here at Berthon USA we do not hesitate to travel, and have accompanied clients to Croatia, the Caribbean, the UK, France, Holland, Spain, Germany, and all over East Coast USA plus California. We also have support from the European offices to manage things on the ground for our USA clients in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe when we are otherwise travelling elsewhere.

Once the correct yacht is chosen, we are very used to arranging for her shipping or sailing back to the USA, making this is a simple procedure for the client. Both European Berthon offices have logistical experience, often picking up or delivering yachts direct to the transporting ship; now that’s service for you.

For us 2016 was a great year for yacht sales, up remarkably from 2015, and this trend seems to be continuing so far in 2017. Of the 5,328 sailing yachts reported as sold in the United States by YachtWorld, we were both the listing agent and selling agent on the 5th most expensive yacht (A Swan 82), and also on the 7th and 14th largest yachts sold in 2016!

This success has invigorated us as a sales team, with our biggest problem now being the lack of yachts on the market to sell – that’s a change! By doing our bit to add to the pool, the 2016 year concluded with the sale of a new Moody 54′ and a new Rustler 37′, both to East Coast USA buyers. In addition, the Euphoria 54′ which the Shipyard was holding in stock in the USA was sold by us to Santa Barbara, California which means that our USA clients will see new Euphoria and Azuree exhibits in the Fall boat shows this year. We are actively in discussions now with 2 clients interested in the Azuree 46′, as well as negotiating on another Moody 54′.

Yacht management has also become part of our business, as we seem to become more and more involved with refits when the yachts are sold (just like our HQ brethren in UK), as well as dipping our toes in to the charter market. Please do ask us about both these aspects of our business.

The summer will be here all too soon, and with the warmer weather comes the Marion to Bermuda Race, the America’s Cup in Bermuda, the NYYC Spring Regatta, the J Class event, and all the rest of the crazy summer sailing in Newport. We can’t wait!

We have a beautiful new Rustler 33′ arriving in the spring for a Massachusetts owner, with a dark green hull, carbon rig and in-laid wood coaming. This stunning yacht was on Rustler’s display for the 2017 Dusseldorf Boat Show, and will be at the September Newport Boat Show – so by the end of the year she will have attracted admiring glances on both sides of the Atlantic.

Statistically, the overall sailing yacht market above 30 feet was slightly down on 2016 with 4,252 units sold versus 4,287 in 2015. The market caught up a lot in the latter months, as levels of activity at the beginning of the year were distinctly slow. Yachts priced above US$500 000 are slow to sell, and there continues to be a drift towards motor yacht purchase, especially Back Coves, Sabres, Hunts, and similar classy-looking down east style dayboat/weekenders. Cheap fuel prices certainly help. Although the overall US motor yacht market over 30 feet was flat, numerically, at 12,153 units in 2015 and 12,143 in 2016, we are selling more motor yachts than ever before and are always delighted to list and market them. We now also have permission to sell Windys as a result of Berthon’s longstanding relationship with that fabulous brand.

So a stellar year was had and another beckons, so as a team, the smiles are wide and we are looking forward to guiding you through the journey of yacht purchase this year.

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