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

Motor Yacht Review | 2024

By Hugh Rayner & Harry Hamson

The barometer of how the market is performing for the UK Berthon Sales Team is provided by a life sized tally board, also very evident to anyone visiting the shipyard. It is the population of our yacht sales gantries. The 2023 season has specifically been a stormer for motor yachts, with strong turnover of listings, encouragingly high levels of new listings, and … full gantries! Perhaps more interestingly is the quality of the yachts that have been attracted to the sunny shores of Lymington. Hugh has been working here since 2009 (eek…) and he cannot remember ever having had such superb and varied listings of high calibre to offer.

The market is a diverse environment, but we are increasingly aware of a split; the true sea-boat (the safer, sturdier, more capable Vessel) appears favoured (by our market in any case). Berthon has always been the home of the handsome, blue hulled, semi-displacement motor-yacht, and the indications are that we are bucking the trend in a market riddled with outboard-powered white plastic. Of course, all yachts have their place in a competitive arena, but the market is presently fragmented, with many dealers carrying heavy inventories of new and nearly new stock. In a bearish market, with higher costs of borrowing, this is an uncomfortable place, and discounting must follow – and so the vicious circle begins.

Through 2023, we have continued to deal in the heavier, more traditional, seaworthy yacht. A steady yacht that offers substantial offshore range. With higher levels of comfort under way on offer, and a hull form that will flatten an angry sea, the user experience is superior. If your plan is to use the yacht offshore and to really chalk up some sea miles in your logbook, then you will likely end up with one of these heavier displacement types. Looking back at our completions through last season, 50% were of classic semi-displacement hull form – the Hardy/Aquastar/Dale Nelson type – ‘proper’ seaboats. Our current 2024 listings indicate that this is a market in which Berthon are understood to reliably specialise, and the heartening truth is that if the yacht is capable, then the yacht gets used, and this can only ever be a good thing.


Of course, no motor yacht report would be complete without a mention of our fanaticism for all yachts Scandinavian, particularly Windy, which we know so well. Today and through 2023 we are handling a large selection of their larger sports boats including no less than three Windy 46 Chinooks – two from 2018 and one from 2017. Harry’s favourite Windy is the 39 Camira with her incredibly good looking design and immense cockpit space for entertaining – and she is super-fast.

For our local market, we have also seen the RIB market explode – anything from large Scorpions to Cobras and Brigs. Not to be left off the list are of course Gemini, fitted out and rigged by Berthon Boat Co – they offer great performance, comfort and excellent handling, particularly when it’s gnarly. RIBs are easy to use and specs can now include Ullman seating at £5,500 a pop, and the outboard selection is infinite, with ridiculous amounts of horses on tap. The rubber boats that we deal with cost upwards of £250,000 today.

So, what’s happening with pricing? New boat production prices have soared (a potent mix of supply issues, rising material, labour and energy costs, and the cost of money to finance each venture), and so the cost of a new boat has been driven skywards. Brokerage prices have continued to stiffen to date, with purchasers recognising that a higher-quality used option is a financially safer, ecologically preferable, and arguably, a more rational choice. For the yacht owner, the key to a successful sale is to present a historically well-maintained, sensibly specified and reasonably priced yacht – in sparkling condition of course. First impressions are still vital, and always remember that a buyer is not only buying the floating estate, but the previous owners’ too; fundamental when looking ‘in the round’ at the marketing of any new listing.

For us, one of the less-anticipated results of Brexit and its attendant tax implications, has been the concentration of interest in a numerically dwindling pool of modern, UK located and taxed craft that suit our waters well. This has supercharged the UK brokerage market for motor yachts. Buyers are understandably far from keen to import, and so we are now dealing with an inventory of yachts that will (for the huge majority) circulate only in our domestic waters. We are also seeing some sun-seeking owners move their craft into the Mediterranean under Temporary Admission, to exploit this relief within the EU, but the bulk is staying put in Blighty, within the ‘Brit-Bubble’.


When Hugh was an upstart of an underling Broker, a set of boat details were just a few printed pages, generally with a locally-developed colour photo glued to the front (yes, really…), advertising was a page in Motor Boat & Yachting and marketing was picking up the phone and making those calls. Communication is still key. Thankfully, face-to-face contact and meeting new people is still our lifeblood, but some of the tools of engaging remotely are massively changed. The moving image is crucial – so each new yacht listing is accompanied by a self-produced walkaround video, which is instantly available online to bring the boat to life. Effectiveness is conveniently measured by viewing times, click-throughs, bounces, and hits. We now pen blogs to tell the story behind each boat, whilst focusing on all our yachts’ online profiles to drive interest and engagement in them. Apps such as Instagram/ LinkedIn/Facebook outwardly direct data to a social media audience in a way wholly undreamt of previously, and you may have seen that our traditionally printed Winter Collection has transposed onto its own microsite. We consume via our phones and tablets, so a new portion of the day now revolves around Reels, Stories and Posts – a real learning curve of new communication techniques.


Any company is only as good as its people, and it is only when one steps back and reviews the history of Berthon that you realise what an extraordinary business of which the sales group is part. Perhaps this differentiates us in a more challenging market, which doubtless 2024 will prove to be. We believe that we offer a professional, informed service, as historically we always have, and we look forward to chatting with you soon about any aspects of your yachting.

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