Although the audience and panelists were of very international origins and certainly there were accents from Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Far East seemed a bit thin on the ground
this week at the BOAT INTERNATIONAL Superyacht Design Symposium www.superyachtdesignsymposium.com
This year’s event was even more informative than last year’s and the venue at The Plaza was certainly a great improvement.
Sadly however, if you were a builder you would not have found much good to talk about.
But again, no one seemed to be talking about much east of Via Reggio except Turkey.
And even here, while no one disputed that Turkish builders had achieved Italian and Northern Europe build quality at lower prices due to lower labour cost still, still only the established quality brand names - i.e. definitely not Turkish - were retaining their value in this market.
The fact that everyone seemed to accept that the days of a guaranteed profit the minute after signing a contract for a superyacht are at an end was telling in the extreme.
Brokers seemed to being OK of course, but then those yacht owners who have to sell, have to sell. And in any form of brokerage, there’s nothing like having a motivated seller.
The buzzword seemed to be “pragmatic sales.”
All of this of course is music to the ears of yards engaged in the business of refits
as confirmed by British Yard Pendennis’ www.pendennis.com
Toby Allies and Rocco Finocchiaro of Italy’s Amico & Co www.amico.it
The business case for refits is easy. While superyachts are defined by length, generally over 24 metres but really over 130 feet, the other hallmark is perfection, absolute perfection. So refits are very frequent in the superyacht industry and as more yachts are delivered the need for refits can only rise, even in a good market.
The story now undoubtedly will be, “Buy a new yacht? Oh no, of course not; it would just break my heart, I so love this one.”
As for return on investment however, money spent on anything unseen it seems is wasted according to one prominent broker, “Buyers assume the basic structure is fine.”
So, given a choice between replacing that thinning hull plating and the marble in the bath, the marble wins every time.
Not surprisingly, the need to be green was everywhere on the agenda - except for the piracy presentations. In a PC world gone mad, it seems somehow today’s sons of Blackbeard have escaped Al Gore. But then, questioning the carbon footprint of that RPG launcher probably is too much to ask when it happens to be pointed at your nose.
Spontaneous applause was the result of, “But should we not just encourage people to build more sailing yachts rather than motor yachts?”
But as Ron Holland www.ronhollanddesign.com
, an avid sailor and designer of beautiful sailing yachts most recently ETHEREAL, reminded, “Green is hellishly expensive.”
So now it’s off to FLIBS (the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show). Most of those planning to attend that event seemed to be more concerned about the humidity they could expect than the crowds.