Things are definitely interesting in the USA. With an unconventional political situation presiding over what appears to be the best economic situation in many years, things are going gangbusters in the marine industry. Indeed, the last 2 years have also been very good.
On the flip side, we have had a couple of major storms that laid waste to major American yachting areas – Texas, Southern Florida and the whole northern Caribbean. This has caused many cruising yachts to change their winter plans. Many chose to overwinter in the North, others sailed into the less familiar and more Southern stretches of the Caribbean to Grenada and St Lucia. The industry thought it would see buyers at the Fall Shows with their insurance checks, but it has been so difficult to access and determine the Caribbean island yacht losses, that it will be a while before all of that gets sorted out, and the check books are in evidence for the yachting industry.
The various segments of the boating industry remain as they have been for a while – namely – the sailing yacht side is weak, with an overhang of older yachts that fewer and fewer people want to own, and then there is an underhang of newer sailing yachts that fit the usage pattern and demands of today’s sailing family. Powerboats, especially centre consoles, and single engine diesel powered Down East boats remain really popular, and demand for these has been helped by low fuel prices.
The shift towards Catamarans is still evident, especially in southern states where the depth of water is a problem. The high costs of dockage and service are becoming increasing reasons for families to put off a yacht purchase, especially in areas with high population density, such as the North East.
Upcoming local events for 2018 are the Spring Regatta at the New York Yacht Club, the Newport to Bermuda Race, and of course, the Volvo stopover in May. The Newport sailing community here loves these events, and with over 700 volunteers last time, and a full harbour when the boats arrived in the wee hours, we have a reputation to maintain! The Volvo organization was very impressed!
Our 2017 calendar year was full of great yachts and clients, with a new Moody 54′ sold in the mix, the first one on the East Coast of the USA. It is a spectacular yacht, and her owners had a great time at the Newport and Annapolis Shows, showing her off and hosting all the evening cocktail parties. This Moody 54’DS OUTNUMBERED (husband, wife and 4 daughters – so you know who is outnumbered) is spending the winter in Grenada cruising, and will be back up in Newport this summer. A new Rustler 33′ was also delivered to a client here in New England. She is simply gorgeous with her dark green hull and inlaid teak cockpit surround. There was definitely an uptick in interest in the new yacht market once again, and it appears to be continuing in 2018.
Brokerage was wide and varied, with the custom 82’ SEJAA selling and heading in to the refit shed, an immaculate Swan 601 which will be seen on the racing circuit in the Med this summer, an Oyster 56′ from Lymington now cruising the Caribbean, more powerboats than we have ever done, including the perennially popular Back Coves, and all the way down in size to the smaller day sailors.
The yacht donation program has also proven to be an excellent avenue for both the seller and buyer, with our office arranging several donations and leases for various charitable organizations. Furthermore our clients are moving yachts back and forth across the Atlantic, both on their own bottoms and via freighter, usually with our office assisting with the co-ordination.
We are looking forward to a successful Palma Superyacht Show with our absolutely immaculate CNB 93′ SAVARONA on display in April, alongside several other Berthon UK listings.
With our satellite office now at the Newport Shipyard, we can keep our fingers on the pulse of yachting activity in Newport. Coffee or lunch at the Shipyard’s well known café, BELLE’s, is a great place to see and be seen and we look forward to seeing you there soon!
Jennifer, Alan and Bill look forward to working with you this year!