Whilst many were celebrating the end of 2020 as a year to be forgotten, for Berthon Spain there were many positives to take from it. Of course, we took a few blows at the beginning of the pandemic and like most we panicked slightly, drank too much, and flapped…a little. However, once the spray settled, we realised that life will and does go on, yachts still needed looking after, projects still had to be finished and whilst some dreams were put on hold, they are still there and for many clients COVID has made them more important than ever! We should all think of this as a bad storm which we shall soon put astern. Once it has passed, the calm seas and sunshine will feel better than ever!
For a lot of yacht owners and would-be owners, the idea of yachting has become ever more appealing. Last year saw most of us reinventing our holidays and for those with the financial means there is no better way to enjoy the sunshine and different countries than in your own yacht bubble. For this reason, we have seen yacht sales and the investment in yachts by their owners remain strong throughout the pandemic.
It has been extremely hard to see the island I love, and Palma especially, forced to its knees and of course the crisis is a long way from over, but now we have hope! Hope that we will see all our clients out cruising this year, that our beautiful bars and restaurants will eventually re-open, that the marinas will once again brim with life and that Mallorca’s idyllic bays will be full of yachts. The timing is still a little vague but when it opens up, mark my words, Mallorca is going to be the place to be and by the time the party has finally calmed you will not even be able to remember the meaning the of the word ‘lockdown’!
Berthon Spain’s most exciting news in 2020 was that we finally managed to find new premises to suit our needs. As the business has grown, we had ended up with 3 sites and the logistics of this was incredibly challenging. Having looked for some time for a property that was big enough and constructed to a high standard, we finally found one that was still in build last September. This allowed us to specify how it would be finished and for it to incorporate new offices for the service team.
We moved in towards the end of December and whilst there are still a few tweaks to be made here and there, it is everything that we hoped. We now have 20 yachts and tenders in undercover storage, all of which will be worked on to our exacting standards. In addition, our workshop has even more space to incorporate all the different Berthon Spain refit and service departments. We are installing a large paint booth so that our painting team can paint everything from small engine parts to yacht spars. The guardiennage department have a large, exceptionally clean area dedicated to their needs and they are also getting the laundry facilities they have been nagging for!
As Berthon Spain has grown, I increasingly get asked, “what do you do”? The honest answer to that question is that we will do everything for you. I would say that we are now in the position where we do 90% of works in-house. Anything else, Berthon Spain, organises preferred outsourced partners to work with us.
I have always wanted our clients to benefit from one easy point of contact for all their yachting needs and for us to take any potential headaches away from them. When I was a young yacht captain and on my first charge, the owner told me “Andrew don’t give me problems, I just want the solutions”. I have worked to that philosophy ever since.
When I think back to my first experience of Palma, I wish I’d had a Berthon style company to help me and make life easier. Our wonderful and friendly team in the UK office really opened all the doors and what would have been a real challenge for our clients is resolved with a wave of our corporate wand! We can make the initial marina bookings, sort out all the paperwork with authorities and have our guardiennage team on standby all the while to help or just to offer friendly advice. Like a concierge in a 5-star hotel, our goal is to help our clients enjoy every step of their journey and we will do everything we can to ensure that they have the best holiday imaginable.
Last year it was a pleasure to watch our paint department grow and I have marvelled at the quality they are able to deliver. As I write this, we have just hauled out a 60-foot sailing yacht for a full repaint of both hull and superstructure. We are painting countless spars, window frames and more parts than I can mention.
Despite 2020 being a difficult year we were lucky enough to still secure many projects, refits, and repairs from our loyal repeat clients as well as from many new ones. I am delighted that we have maintained all of our great team and also added several new faces.
Whilst Brexit may have divided opinions, for our UK clients it has presented some great opportunities that were previously not possible. We are now able to offer TPA’s for British yacht owners. This means we can temporarily import the vessel whilst large projects are undertaken, and whilst this process is active, all works, and purchases can be invoiced without VAT. This is a common practice with large yachts here and having worked under the scheme many times, we are delighted it is now open to British clients.
This year will see us all sailing again, hopefully very soon. Berthon Spain will be throwing a massive party in our new premises as soon as we are allowed. We will be celebrating in style and you are all invited!