Well, what interesting times we live in. With the benefit of hindsight, 2022 was an uncertain and rocky road, with all the twists and turns of a mountain switchback, but we navigated it through and peaked with another stellar year in terms of brokerage revenue. For us, the market appeared largely unaffected on the surface by the political domestic whirlpool followed by the unthinkable reality of a European land conflict erupting at the destination of a three and a half hour flight out of Heathrow. Until the 24th February 2022 of course, when the shutters came down indefinitely at Kyiv Zhuliany International Airport.
SO – WHAT HAPPENED IN YACHT SALES?
Well, certainly throughout 2022 there has been a certain scarcity of good product in the market generally, so it is vital to be able to provide a professional and competent service to vendors, to attract new listings, and then to market these through to a successful end transaction. We are undoubtedly blessed with a preponderance of high-quality, capable and well-maintained motor boats, and those which are a little ‘out of the ordinary’ and thus can need a little more explaining and attract a more niche audience. Our marketing push for these offerings is supported by a wealth of blogs, videos, interviews, social media likes, shares and emojis, with further collateral to draw interest, and we are very fortunate to have learned much during the previous turbulence of lockdown.
What has also been very noticeable is a return to the more classic motor launch, with both seasoned and new boaters alike recognising the value in substantial build, sweet lines and higher–end fit-out. Prices have remained resolutely strong throughout this sector, with demand way outstripping supply, and talking of values, the lack of available product has continued to underpin strong pricing.
Post-Brexit international tax status has been a challenge to international sales from the UK, especially domestically into Northern Europe, and there are still muddy waters to sail through. Yet we have successfully transacted vessels under Returned Goods Relief back into the UK, relying on the exporting owners re-importing the goods prior to sales completing. Of course, this has not affected the inter EU market, with UK owners exploiting the assured weather of the Mediterranean, whilst watching the clock ticking down their 90 days. The UK VAT-paid market is now crystallizing, and has concentrated the pool of used stock available to the UK Buyer for use in home waters, and being able to advise proficiently on both options is key to bridging these challenges and supplying the best solution.
Supply chain issues, hardening interest rates and inflation are biting, particularly into the production new boat market, with diminishing levels of new supply focusing market interest on well-presented and well-found brokerage craft, and indeed we have started to see the first brokerage examples of the superb 62 by our new-boat brand Pearl Yachts come to the market. 2022 saw Berthon part company on mutually good terms with Windy Boats, after a fantastic 27 years of close co-operation, and we shall continue to support the brokerage market across UK and Europe, working ever more closely with our European offices to maintain our expertise in and around these Scandinavian beauties.
2023 will be incredibly interesting. The market is evidently buoyant, yet lightly febrile. Prices are staying strong and early indicators are that there is no slow-down in the motor-yacht sector. Decisions are still highly personal and emotional, yet we serve rational people, and the choice to go boating calls on all these factors. Paucity of time can be a major driver for owning a powerboat, but we are seeing more owners really enjoying the simple pleasure of tinkering with their pride and joy, be that stationary or at speed, escaping the rat race and the bombardment of the pressures of modern living.
Go on, buy a boat, you know it makes sense…
A Footnote from Harry Hamson and Windy Brokerage
Well what can I say? The market continues to thrive and is as busy as ever. Year 2022, a lot like 2021, was a great one for the Windy Brokerage with many people phoning and enquiring about used Windys and what possibly might be coming to market. As everyone probably knows by now, Berthon parted ways with the UK and French dealership network after nearly 30 years with working with the brand. However, we are delighted to still be working very closely with the brand in terms of the second hand market.
Over the years, we have built an incredible database full of Windy owners and potential owners that are on a waiting list for certain models. We aim to keep in regular contact with them and offer assistants where we can and more importantly, help keep the dream alive of purchasing a new boat.
Previous models are still proving to be major key players within their class, including the likes of the 31 Zonda, 29 Coho, 28 Ghibli, 46 Chinook and of course, the fabulous 39 Camira, all of which I have had the pleasure of driving and selling through Berthon over the last couple of years. Rarer models have also been making more of an appearance such as the Xanthos 52, 48 Triton and 43 Typhoon. They are equally of exceptional build quality and boast incredible sea keeping.
The sports cruiser continues to evolve with new hull forms and the option for outboards which of course makes the boat considerably lighter, allowing for better fuel efficiency, which all makes a huge difference with the rising fuel costs in the marine industry.
I look forward to seeing what challenges the season of 2023 brings and will await whatever further challenges this great industry decides to throw at us.