What we learned on the ground at the Monaco Yacht Show 2021

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After the cancellation of the 2020 edition, Monaco Nautical Show 2021 returned with a splash. The event may not have achieved record attendance, but with 100 superyachts on display, worth a total of $ 3.6 billion, and a strong list of exhibitors showing keen interest from the share of customers, it exceeded most expectations. After a week of field reporting at the show, several lessons have emerged.

Yacht ownership is back – big time

Many shipyards are anticipating their most successful year in decades. Italian automaker Ferretti Group, for example, revealed that in the first six months of 2021, its revenue was around 75% of all 2020 revenue. They expect to end the year at + 50%. Meanwhile, Dutch automaker Heesen announced a strong order book with a production capacity of 97%.

The reason for the increase in demand, suggests Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen, is the strengthening of a global economy and a 32% increase in the number of billionaires in the world. Alberto Galassi, CEO of the Ferretti Group, echoed this sentiment, adding that during the pandemic, owners and potential owners have come to realize the value of a yacht as their own ‘private island’.

Hybrids should be the new normal

“Hybrid” was the word on everyone’s lips, with many announcements across the board. Heesen Yachts announced that it would, for the first time, make its entire fleet capable of offering hybrid solutions. Likewise, the Italian manufacturer Benetti, which has pledged to increase its commitment to electric-diesel propulsion, also announced its intention to offer hybrid options across its range.

Hydrogen is coming – slowly

During the show, the Italian superyacht builder Baglietto unveiled an ambitious BZERO project that converts seawater into energy. The innovative propulsion system will integrate hydrogen fuel technology into its hybrid hybrid yachts, which can be activated in zero emission mode. The goal is to launch a hybrid saltwater yacht by 2025 – the prototype is expected to be unveiled in 2022.

Design trends have not been affected by the pandemic

The design has been impacted less by the pandemic and more by the growing trends that the crisis has only exacerbated. We talk a lot about glass – frameless glass that serves as the exterior walls on the owner’s deck on Artefact by the German builder Nobiskrug, to uninterrupted 270 degree views in the owner’s cabin, unusually housed in the hull of the WHY200 in Monaco Wally – and the proximity to the water – this year we’ve seen a number of flush rear decks create a smooth, inside-out experience. Well-being is also essential. Italian manufacturer Tankoa Yachtsnew Apache yacht concept, designed by Alberto Mancini, has incredible aquatic features such as a “flying pool” on the upper deck. Meanwhile, the 85m Victorious, available for sale and hire via Bourgeois, has a more impressive beach club than many hotel spas.

The charter market is booming

Today there are approximately 2,900 yachts over 24m available for charter worldwide. Charter demand was strong in 2020 and figures show it is even stronger this year – although an insider reveals that bookings are often more last minute than usual due to uncertainty over travel restrictions. Fraser reveals that in 2021 so far, its fleet (which includes 84 yachts of 24m and above) has recorded a 46% increase in bookings compared to last year, an increase of just over 20 % on average. They expect a busy winter season with nearly 2,000 days already reserved on board its fleet.

Some of the best rental yachts on display at the show included Ragnar and Victorious, managed by Bourgeois; Moskito and Tatiana, managed by IYC (International yacht collection); K2 and Yersin, managed by Fraser; and Tranquility, managed by Camper & Nicholson.

The organizers of the Monaco Yacht Show listened and learned

The 2021 show was intentionally smaller than usual. SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) General Secretary Theo Hooning revealed that following the events of previous years, a number of attendees and key brands came together to write a letter to the organizers of the Informa exhibition in which they required several changes. It seems the organizers have listened. Several brands we spoke with confirmed that the caliber of attendees has improved over previous years, with the bulk of visitors comprising customers and suppliers. On the ground, meanwhile, there was more room to move around, although restricted on-board visits meant less flexible hours and reduced access. Likewise, Covid regulations have prevented many of the usual events – a key part of the networking aspect of the show – from taking place. Companies such as Ferretti Group compensated for this by hosting owners events before the show.

Is there a bubble on the horizon?

Insiders share mixed concerns about a 2008-style pending bubble burst – perhaps within two years, one contact suggested – while others brag about strong demand and business practices. increasingly durable designed to secure the industry for decades to come. But one thing is certain: the superyacht industry is on the cusp of an upward curve that will lead to unprecedented success, at least in the short term.


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