Discover the highlights of the Monaco Yacht Show and why the yachting industry has shown incredible resilience and continues to thrive despite a less than ideal environment.
While the leisure travel industry has slowly been coming back to life after 18 months of grounded flights, empty hotels and people generally staying in, one industry has refused to play by these rules and has been buoyant and booming, especially in Asia.
After a slow mid-year in 2020, the yachting industry took advantage of the pandemic and ended up with sales of over US$64.2 billion. It is now forecast to exceed US$84 billion by 2027, with China—the world’s second largest economy—contributing over US$15 billion. And if that wasn’t surprising enough, the majority of the vessels to be sold will be superyachts with more than half around the 30m to 40m size.
Though, this market surge flies in the face of one of the worst crisis faced by the travel industry, it comes as no surprise to builders and brokers. After all, who hasn’t been itching to travel after all this time? And what better way to travel safely, bypassing the usual routes and creating a controllable, virtual bubble than with a yacht!
IT’S ABOUT YOLO
But more interestingly, the societal upheaval brought about by 2020 had people realising that life can change in an instant. This led them to imbibe the You Only Live Once (YOLO) philosophy with everyone living in the moment, and indulging more of their whims and pleasures. For the super-wealthy? Well they took it a notch higher by purchasing luxury items—including yachts.
It’s easy to dismiss that they’re nothing but playthings for the rich. But introspectively, yachts are a safe haven. With the right amount of money, you get an environment where you can safely enjoy what life has to offer, while reconnecting with your family and even strengthening relationships. It really is no different from purchasing an RV or going on a staycation—the reasons are essentially the same, just multiply the price of that RV or that hotel villa a thousand times over and have it float on sea.
In addition to having the benefit of mobility in an era of lockdowns, yachts have become virtually second (or third) homes for the ultra-rich. These floating dwellings not only satisfy their yearning for adventure, but allow them to bring their luxury environment anywhere they want.
And for wheelers and dealers, yachts have become an extension of their offices. In fact, as people spend longer times at sea, workspaces are now a critical design consideration in vessels, requiring more office-like facilities on board like conference rooms, and fast and stable internet connectivity.
A LAVISH PLAYGROUND
The surging demand for yachts is none more evident than at the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), the world’s leading superyacht event. It recently concluded its 30th annual show after a one-year absence at the quays of Port Hercule, where it welcomed 101 yachts on display. Although this was less than what it usually showcased, it was still deemed a success, considering organisers were expecting only around 80 to show up.
MYS featured the largest collection of super- and mega- yachts anywhere in the world, including 32 exclusive launches. Because of COVID, it has transitioned to a hybrid show, welcoming in-person visitors, as well as accommodating online attendees with virtual, one-on-one visits and 360-degree onboard tours.
Despite the limitations of the new format, it hasn’t stopped shipyards and brokers from making a splash. Nearly half of the vessels showcased at the quays are two year old or less, signifying their bullish confidence in the market.
Reflecting the hunger of people to travel, there’s been an increase in the explorer-style yachts that are able to go on longer journeys to remote destinations. This is where Polaris comes in. Commissioned by a private client, this 70m superyacht from Italian shipbuilder Rossinavi lets its owner seamlessly travel from the warm waters of the Caribbean to extreme icy conditions. In case guests find this expedition too extreme, it comes with other amenities to satisfy them including an indoor and outdoor waterfall, a cinema and a wellness centre that features a gym, sauna and massage rooms.
Also keeping in step with the theme of exploration, Path from Baltic Yachts is specifically designed for explorers to circumnavigate the globe. This stunning 35.8m sloop accommodates up to intrepid adventurers and offers luxurious interiors, including an expansive owner’s suite.
One with a long pedigree of cruising the world in the lap of luxury is TATOOSH from Burgess Yachts. This 92m megayacht used to be owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and is now available in the market, completely refitted. It’s purpose-built with exploration in mind featuring a sprawling deck and an observation lounge with 180 degree view. It can accommodate up to 19 guests in 11 cabins and also features a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and two helipads.
Viva from Dutch shipyard Feadship incorporates sustainability into the adventure trail. This custom-designed, eco-friendly 94m superyacht features a cutting-edge hybrid propulsion system that allows it to travel up to 5,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots, while keeping fuel consumption and emissions to a minimum.
But for those looking to take adventuring to the extreme, then the Time Off is a sight to behold. This 55m superyacht—the sixth of its class built by Damen Yachting—boasts of a dedicated hangar for submersibles on the main deck for those looking to engage in undersea explorations. If you’re more into water sports or terrestrial discovery, its upper deck can be configured for additional storage of jet skis, ATVs or cars.