Your Local Broker, Internationally

Berthon UK
(Lymington, Hampshire - UK)

Sue Grant
0044 (0)1590 679 222

Berthon France
(Mandelieu La Napoule, France)

Bruno Kairet
0033 (0)4 93 63 66 80

Berthon Scandinavia
(Henån, Sweden)

Magnus Kullberg
0046 304 694 000

Berthon Spain
(Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Simon Turner
0034 639 701 234

Berthon USA
(Rhode Island, USA)

Jennifer Stewart
001 401 846 8404

Berthon USA Review | 2024

By Jennifer Stewart, Alan Baines, Bill Rudkin, Peter Houghton & Jeanie Houghton

Sitting here in Newport, Rhode Island, the cold grey days of late January, is a good time to reflect on the previous year, and ponder on the new one. Being commissioned yacht sales people, as we are, we always go into the New Year thinking ‘How much are we going to earn this year?’ The answer is always ‘Let’s start at zero, and work up from there!’

Think positively, we always say.

Last year was a question of holding our collective breath during the spring, as the entire Berthon family internationally thought a recession was imminent. The latter half of the year turned out to be pretty strong, but as with all stories, that wasn’t the whole tale.

The underlying current was a rapid shift back to a more normal supply and demand situation in the brokerage market, with more yachts coming on the market, more price drops, and longer time periods from listing to selling. We all knew the unreal times of 2020, 2021 and into early 2022 couldn’t last, but we were startled to see just how rapidly the ‘elastic snapped back’.

What caused this? For new yachts, high inflation has sent prices soaring, so those who bought either just before Covid, or during the early stages of the pandemic, found their new yacht had appreciated in value. What we are now seeing is that very recent model yachts are sought after as an alternative to a new build purchase. However, the price gap is widening from the replacement cost. High interest rates have definitely taken the wind out of the sails of segments that are typically financed – such as center console powerboats. Many boat and yacht dealers are now seeing far higher inventory levels than is comfortable.

The US marina and boatyard industry has seen a huge shift in recent years, starting just prior to Covid times, with the rise of institutionally funded Marina owners, such as Safe Harbor, and a few others. These groups have been buying multiple marinas, and in the case of Safe Harbor – hundreds of them. While they have for sure invested heavily in every property that they bought, which in many cases was desperately needed, the chickens have now come home to roost now that they have improved their real estate, resulting in vastly higher marina, storage, and service costs for yachtsmen.

Last year we delivered several new yachts, including a Solaris 50, 44 and 40, and a nice blue Rustler 24 with electric inboard drive that is kept in Buffalo, NY. We displayed a Moody 41DS at the Newport Boat Show, and a Moody 54DS and a Solaris 44 at the Annapolis Boat Show, which follows Newport.

We have a Rustler 37 in build that will be kept in Buzzards Bay – the third Rustler 37 to make the USA her home. Also in build is the first of the exciting new Moody 48DS destined for US waters. Alan just returned from the boot Düsseldorf, where the new Moody 48DS had her debut to much acclaim. At the show he also met up with several US clients and was able to show them all our brands at this extraordinary inside show of many halls!

Last summer we organized the inaugural Moody World Cup, and had five Moody deck saloon yachts sailing their hearts out for a replica Americas Cup (well, OK – a picture frame). This was so much fun for all that we hope to repeat the event in this coming year.

On the business front, Founding Partner Jennifer Stewart has announced her retirement, and has sold her stake to Peter and Jeanie Houghton, who have been on the Berthon USA Team for nearly three years now. The reality of this is that Jen is now working 39 hours a week rather than 40 – and she is still in the office before Alan every day!


Mark, following his successful run with Solaris sales, has been lured away to become Swans ‘Maytag repair man’ – or so he thought. Actually, he is very busy, however he is still based in our offices, as he is part of the furniture, so we have subleased him some space.

So, in our quest to ‘work upwards from zero’, we look forward to meeting you, chatting to you, and helping you with the two happiest days of your yachting life.

Those two days make us happy.

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