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

Sailing Yacht Review | 2024

By Alan McIlroy & Harry Lightfoot

Another busy year at the sailing yacht brokerage desk in 2023, especially early on the in season and with quite a bit of travel for us both. Whilst the market has no doubt cooled by comparison to the frenetic couple of seasons post Covid, the year put in a very solid and steady performance. Well-presented and yachts of quality are still in relatively short supply and focused buyers are still on the hunt. As has been noted elsewhere in this year’s Market Report, in general prices have now adjusted to 2019 levels and we are seeing a more normal market as we leave Covid behind.

Here in the UK, we saw a big demand for sailing yachts between 30 and 50 feet. Berthing is becoming a challenge for larger yachts for those wishing to sail in local waters. Sub-50 footers are an easier squeeze into the space that is available. There is enthusiasm for sailing in our home waters, and Scotland was definitely at the top of the bucket list for 2023. That said, we sold plenty of sailing yachts for bluewater and Mediterranean use this year and the ARC continues to be hugely popular.

We are delighted to add to the ARC fleet annually as clients purchase to take part in this evergreen event. The ARCs three starts providing the ARC, ARC Plus and ARC January works well and these Rallies are a great stepping stone for the World ARC, which continues to be very well supported.


It was very much a year of two halves in the sailing yacht sector, with a strong beginning to the year, but as we moved into the summer demand definitely throttled back. As we neared the end of 2023, yacht owners realised that they needed to take a slightly more pragmatic view on price, in a market that was still stable but that no longer supported 2021/22 pricing. External factors, too many to mention, no doubt played a part in the late summer and into the autumn, but accurate pricing saw yachts trading and the market moving into a more normal rhythm.

Price, location and condition are for sure the Berthon mantra, and getting these three right, together with using a broker who is passionate about your yacht and knowledgeable about both your yacht and the market helps too. Yacht sellers do need to consider all three when bringing their yacht to the market as yacht buyers are quickly discounting yachts in difficult to access locations this year, as buyers are definitely time poor in this market.

VAT remains an issue for some, keeping the market for smaller yachts local, but it still presents opportunities in the Mediterranean for UK buyers to take advantage of their ability to keep an ex-VAT yacht in Europe on a TA, provided that she leaves the EU every 18 months. The rules around the VAT treatment of yachts remains rather sepia and we are happy to advise where we can.

Brexit has produced a number of yachts, which because of circumstance are both UK and EU VAT paid. These are very attractive, although of course at point of sale the buyer must decide which VAT status to pick as her new owner cannot have both. Many UK buyers are attracted to the EU VAT paid option, enabling the yacht to remain in Europe permanently and to sell into the European market at the end of their ownership. However, this does mean that UK cruising is off the agenda.

Of course, for those non-EU yachtsmen cruising in the Mediterranean, the Schengen 90 day rule is a limiter. We hear rumours that some member states are considering relaxing the time-period. This will add more impetus to the attraction of cruising in its azure waters, if it happens.

sailing-yacht-review-2024-2ARC 2018 © JAMES MITCHELL

There are as ever some hot brands – Hallberg-Rassy, Najad and Southerly to name a few and these yachts have held their prices very well. Where a yacht with a hot brand has VAT paid in the wrong jurisdiction for her buyer, we have seen the sale pressing ahead nonetheless with VAT being paid a second time, provided that the owner is sensible on price. We expect that this trend will continue in 2024.

Together with the rest of the Berthon Team, we are committed to the drive to improve our offering in all mediums, with granular yacht particulars, good imagery, and video. We believe that yachts should have comprehensive specifications that reflect the technical details of the yacht, her inventory and that we should list recent significant works. All buyers are interested in how her owner has used her and what they love most about her and so we make it a point to deliver on this information too.

We have both become minor and imperfect film functionaries as we work on video content, and our yachts are definitely the real stars. These videos are professionally produced and accurately reflect the sailing yachts that we are selling. Whilst we all cringe at the sound of our own voices, the ability of this medium to inform and to give potential yacht buyers an accurate flavour of the yachts in which they are interested is a vital tool in our marketing armoury. Now that we are through Covid, virtual viewings are old hat, with clients preferring to view live. As they are time poor, they can have confidence that the information delivered in our Berthon videos provide an accurate reflection of the yacht they are taking the time to view. The whole Team worships at the feet of Harry Shutler (known as Harry Camera) our videographer and cameraman, for his ability to perform magic and release high quality material that reflects the Berthon fleet. Visit our YouTube channel and see what we mean…

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