The rhythm of life at Berthon includes the certainty that each year we will produce a Berthon Book. For 2023, it will be the nineteenth of the series and sitting in my trusty garden shed, I remember the books that have come before with their epic articles and descriptions of the entire Berthon fleet and with great imagery. Every year this publication develops and this year we have taken the opportunity to make it more interactive and more dynamic with QR coding and links so that you can see more of our yachts, more about the articles that appear and the people that wrote them. There is no doubt that the delivery of information is changing fast and the Berthon Book is changing with it. Armed with a hard copy and an iPhone or reading online, we are able to show you more of what it is that we do at Berthon, and of the glory that is our sport and of the great subjects found within the Book’s covers.
There is always much discussion around the front cover of the book, photographed again this year by our in-house photographer, Harry Shutler. This year we have chosen Old Harry Rocks, an iconic landmark known to all Solent sailors and to those from afar, on the Jurassic coast to the west of Berthon, originally formed sixty five million years ago when the Needles joined up with the mainland. Old Harry lost his wife in 1896 – she was a stack beside him that eroded and fell into the sea. They are a reminder that time for us humans is short – we are here for a good time, not a long one!
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it an extraordinary amount of sales activity across the yachting industry and we posted extraordinary numbers across the Sales Group in 2021 and 2022. The outbreak of the war in Ukraine did not dent enthusiasm for the sport, and the need to get out there and do life trumped all.
Of course, in 2023 we see the results of the conflict and the difficulties with the supply chain is clear for all goods and is still keenly felt. The knock on effects of the reduction in the supply of fossil fuels, inflation and a world slow-down is all around, not just in yachting. However, for all of that the market is stable and much as it was in 2019 before the difficulties that began in Wuhan changed everything. Yacht buyers are more considered and the old, the whacky and the badly maintained continue quite rightly to be the wallflowers of the brokerage market; whilst on new yacht sales, buyers are looking for quality, good service and of course value for money. The yachting market turns and there are plenty of yacht sales happening although not at the furious rate of the pandemic years.
Inflation and supply chain issues have given yacht manufacturers huge challenges with huge order books and the super tanker that is the yacht production line is having to adapt to the fact that components are difficult to get and that value for money is now the watch word. The buyers of new yachts are simply not interested in constant price hikes and they expect prices to be reasonable and for yachts to be delivered in a timely fashion.
At Berthon we are fortunate in that the new yachts that we represent are manufactured by people who understand the challenges of today and who are innovating and providing yachts that people want to buy and where they see the value add. Yachtsmen are discerning and they will not put up with shoddy build and poor aftersales service.
Our network of offices provides the opportunity for Berthon to provide an effective platform for selling new yachts across a broad range of territory. Our focus is to work with new yacht manufacturers who offer the best of the best across a diverse spectrum and who engage with us and our clients to build and deliver yachts that are tailored to their specific needs.
We have long had a relationship with Pegasus Yachts and admire their 50-foot full carbon fast cruising yachts and are working with them to bring the excitement and comfort of these unusual yachts to the UK market.
In the Balearics we are much enjoying our relationship with Marex Boats with their northern European quality, great design and easy handling, which are the perfect way to get out on these azure waters. In the USA the Sealine range also provides a great platform for cruising the East coast and living well. Of course, no review would be complete without a mention for Iguana, which is without doubt the coolest amphibious boat on the planet, running on tracks with stunning performance hull in carbon and masses of clever touches.
We began our relationship with Solaris Yachts some years ago, and the yard has developed and grown significantly, always focusing on quality and to building fast sailing yachts that look amazing, and which are easy and relaxing to sail. Of course, their ongoing relationship with Soto Acebal has been key in making this a reality. This year we delivered six new Solaris including hull number one of the new Solaris 74 for an English client – you must go see her at the Düsseldorf Boat Show. As we have done more with Solaris and got to know them better, the territories into which we sell them have increased significantly. Whilst we started in the UK, we now sell Solaris on the East Coast of the USA, and will be showing a 40 and 44 (both sold to Berthon clients) at the Newport, Rhode Island show this autumn. We are also responsible for flying the flag in Scandinavia with our office in Sweden also managing Finland, Norway and Denmark.
Solaris events run in Italy are gloriously Italian and if you are thinking of the brand, I would urge you to join us at one of these or to visit the yard in Aquileia close to Venice to see why we rate this brand so much.
The Moody name is synonymous with comfortable cruising and it continues to deliver and to be a favourite choice for yachtsmen on the East Coast of the USA. Berthon USA have delivered a lot of them and their volume, good looks and innovative interiors and easy sailing are great for lazy New England summers and warm Caribbean winters.
The Berthon Sales Group is at heart a brokerage house and as we develop our brand, our individual way of doing things and work to increase our service levels and to use the amazing technology that is available to us, the brokerage fleet is also growing in number as well as in size and diversity. We never forget two things. The first is that ours is a people business and that personal contact and the passion for what we do and the yachts that we represent must always trump the clever use of the web, imagery and clever computer systems. The second is that excellence in what we do is a never-ending voyage and we can always do what we do, better.
For us, the team is a key part of what we do. I think that this is why we continue with a stable team and you will see the same faces at Berthon as you buy and sell and chat about yachts to us. Our five offices across two continents work as a single business and our goal is to replicate the Berthon service levels wherever you see the Berthon name. We operate a local broker system so that you can work with the office closest to you, in your language with funds held in your country and chatting to your broker in your time zone.
At Berthon USA this is a particularly important part of our offering, and now with 5 experienced brokers on the team, we specialise in yacht arbitrage across the Atlantic with increased regularity. A good example of our one team approach was the Palma Superyacht Village in May this year, where our yachts were manned by brokers from the UK, Spain, Sweden and the USA.
The Mediterranean is a key area of operation for us and so our service and refit operation in Palma headed up by Andrew Fairbrass enables us to offer guardiennage and refits to a high standard, with a team of thirty five technicians working out of a massive blue Berthon shed in San Omes close to the airport. Offering everything from valeting to fitting a new main engine or new lithium ion batteries. This capability gives our clients the ability not only to buy and sell from us in the Mediterranean effectively but to refit and service their yacht as well.
Our sales office overlooking the Club de Mar currently in redevelopment is growing and Nathalie joined us last year to look after the administration that brokers say they will do, but sadly miss the mark on! We have also been delighted to welcome Sophie Kemp back to the UK office after her maternity leave to work on sales support and making sure that we are getting all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Another important step in the voyage towards excellence.
Our Swedish office is also growing fast, headed up by Magnus Kullberg, who not only posted astonishing results with his team in 2022, but also managed to find time to sail in the ARC last autumn and to spend some family time cruising at the turn of the year in the wonderfully warm waters of the Caribbean, whilst his office was clothed in Swedish winter snow.
OUR SPANISH SALES TEAM – SIMON, BEN AND NATHALIE
We refurbished our office in the South of France this year, and it’s location in La Napoule means that it is ideally situated to attack the yacht brokerage market in the glorious Cote d’Azur. The market here continues to be diverse and this office is able to take advantage of its place as part of our Sales Group with the marketing and solid experience of international yacht sales that goes with this.
Despite the challenges in the yachting market, the numbers of new designs joining the market and new technology has been very apparent this year. The self-driving yacht is becoming a reality and the appetite for more efficient energy use is increasing at a furious pace.
However, the most significant design innovations are being seen in the use of foiling and greener solutions to yacht build as well as the use of solar and hydrogen and also electric drive. The yachting industry is moving fast to harness wind and waves in very imaginative ways. We are also seeing great strides ahead in terms of yacht construction with the use of flax in the production for FRP yachts and we predict that this will become mainstream in the years to come.
The articles this year are as diverse as ever. The Redwood Library & Athenaeum from Newport, the Mallorcan harvest from Palma, castles from the South of France and much more. All written by the Berthon team and Berthon supporters for which many thanks. You won’t see any of these articles replicated anywhere else, they are written for you.
We hope that you will enjoy seeing the Berthon fleet and diving into the details of those that look particularly interesting. As ever, we are offering the best of the best on the new yacht market as well as an extraordinary selection of wonderful pre-owned yachts from performance yachts that sail like snakes upwind, to cruising yachts that munch miles with aplomb to the clockwork fleet from the explorer to the insanely quick.
From us all at Berthon, fair winds, good yachting and we hope that you enjoy this publication of the Berthon Book as much as we have enjoyed putting it together for you.