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

The Market Report 2024

By Sue Grant

The Berthon Market Report has become something of a tradition, and as I sit down to write for this year, I am reminded of what a rollercoaster of external political and social economic events have been the theme over the past 5 years. We live in truly interesting times and each year they seem to become yet more interesting.

During these years, we have seen a worldwide pandemic, global warming and political instability, which has created enormous hardship and suffering in many areas of the world. We are far from through the worst of these and the little Berthon Sales Group ship has shortened sail and changed course many times over the past five years. We have seen the Covid bounce of yacht sales, currency shift, and beautiful cruising grounds wiped off the bluewater cruising agenda until further notice, regime change and war. Just when we thought that the breeze was easing and the seas were becoming less confused, 2023 came along…

We have lived the continuation of the tragedy that is the conflict in Ukraine, Hurricane Otis in Mexico, major earthquakes in Turkey, Morocco and Syria and floods in China. And of course in Africa, a humanitarian crisis continues to play out. Politically, extremes on the left and right create instability for all on Planet Earth, and into the mix, 49% of the population on Earth will go to the polls in 2024 including the USA, Taiwan, Russia, the European Parliament, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia, India and the UK.


Despite all this, my trusty little Shed is warm and snug, and the Berthon Sales Group delivered a solid result in 2023. It was a year of change with a planned repositioning across the whole business. We believe that it is important to be nimble and to anticipate change – just carrying on doing the things that used to work, does not cut it and certainly leaves no room for us to offer increased service levels to our clients.

For sure, the fulcrum has pivoted and we are now operating in a buyers’ market but there are pockets of the market where yacht sales are still hot – and where you are selling gear that people want, bargain hunters are always disappointed.

We always try to highlight those issues that are of concern to yachtsmen and the thorny issue of VAT does not go away. The post Brexit VAT shock is now behind us and whilst His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs’ rules may not be liked by many, they are at least quite clear and do not change. The main challenge with the treatment of VAT is the lack of clarity in various areas in Europe, which means that it is important to research and understand the local rules before arrival, as these may be subject to change at the drop of a hat in some places. Our VAT Sherpa Simon Anslow updates us.

Technology is moving fast in all areas from yacht construction to communications to design and production methods. This is now being harnessed to the increasingly urgent need to be greener and kinder to the planet. Electric drive, hydrogen, solar and the rest are being incorporated into yacht design and construction and the drive to use technology to facilitate this is ramping quickly.

At the core of the change in our marketplace has been the rise in cost of new yacht manufacture as builders have coped with increased labour and material costs, and supply chain issues, which have seen new yacht costs rise between 15 and 33%. A shortage of skilled craftsman is a big issue as the workforce ages and there are too few younger people with the needed skills available to step up. Apprentice programmes like the one at Berthon Boat Company are in overdrive but it takes 4 years to make a skilled craftsman, so the challenge is a medium term one.


2024 will see most builders with many yachts to deliver. Some of them doubtless at low margin with fixed price contracts at the time of order in 2022 or 2023.

The production builders geared up for the Covid bounce, and rather like a super tanker turning, reducing output is not a job of two minutes so they now float on rising levels of unsold stock. As interest rates have risen, stocking dealers are in an uncomfortable position as the market slows.

This does not mean that the new yacht market is dying, far from it. It is currently those builders who build yachts for owners rather than for stock, and who deliver a high quality product that people want and who appreciate great quality and engaging with their new yacht in build are busy. This change has been fundamental to our decision to refine our new yacht offering at Berthon, where we love working with clients on their journey through the construction of a yacht that is built just for them.

The rate at which new yacht pricing has increased has provided a buffer to the brokerage market, with good quality brokerage yachts continuing to sell at good prices, although not of course at the premium prices that we saw during the Covid bounce, but certainly at 2019 levels. We now have a normal brokerage market. As ever the mature and unloved, whacky and over-priced are definitel wallflowers, particularly as the number of brokerage yachts on the market is increasing.

Covid saw many new entrants to the sport and we have written before of the need to tick the stuff on the bucket list and this is still happening. We hear from World Cruising later in this publication who run an amazing series of bluewater events including the iconic Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).

What we are also seeing since Covid are new younger sailors swelling the ranks of yachting and with them has come an increase in fractional ownership, boat clubs and shared ownership schemes that reduce the risk of yacht ownership financially and meet the millennial demand for experiences rather than ownership. This trend is now spreading quickly through yachting.

Our voyage towards excellence continues with our first digital Winter Collection released in December 2023, as we step up our use of moving imagery as a key part of the marketing process. This Market Report will contain its own Collection and expect to see more of these great packages providing high resolution images, informative video and granular yacht information. Our marketing team have been toiling on this project for months, and in the UK we are now the proud owners of a Green Room (not as grand as it sounds!) and Harry Camera and the listing crew have put all this together, despite the average performances of our brokers! As ever the yachts are the stars.

On new yachts, we have made some changes for 2024. We said goodbye to our friends at Pearl Yachts at the end of 2023. They deliver excellent motor yachts and we have sold a third of their 62 fleet and have loved working with them. However, we felt that we wanted to return to our roots and so for the UK we are working with Solaris Power with their excellent range of lobster style motor yachts from 40 to 60 feet. Perfect for our UK waters with protection for our shocking weather and great sea keeping.

We continue to work with Solaris Sail and are excited about delivering a 64RS, 40 and the first of the new Solaris 74s to UK buyers in 2024, with the first new 55 on order for delivery in 2025. In the USA we were busy with a delivery of a 44 and 40 in 2023. In Sweden and Finland it is a slow burn process – but watch this space.

Our other offerings of Iguana in the UK, and Rustler, Moody and Sealine in the USA continue to find favour in these markets.


We also finally signed a mandate to sell new Pegasus 50s. Marko Paš, the designer and the build team are old friends, and we look forward to promoting these carbon comfort rocket ships to sailors in the UK and elsewhere. We predict that their clever design is the shape of things to come.

Our offices have developed and changed this year and we have worked hard on positioning and nimble planning for 2024 and beyond.

In the USA, our lovely team had a great year, and as the USA’s growth figures increase and interest rates fall, this important market is busy. We watch results here carefully as where the USA leads, the rest of our market follows. Having the opportunity to sell international listings to Americans who hold strong US dollars helps enormously. We were also pleased to welcome Peter and Jeanie Houghton to the office as managing brokers this year, further strengthening the team.

We have had an office in the South of France for over a decade. It was therefore a big decision for us to close it, which we will do in 2024 as part of a planned strategy to focus our efforts on our operations in the Mediterranean in Palma de Mallorca, where we have both sales and service capabilities. We will do a better job for our clients by focusing our efforts and investment in Spain, where we already have 40 people on the payroll.

This investment is already in hand with a new sales office overlooking the Bay of Palma – it has to be one of the best views that we have ever seen. It also has more space and capability. In the service business, we made a lot of changes in 2023 and will charge into 2024 with a new top team of excellent and technical managers, headed up by Andrew Fairbrass. A new website for the service business completes the overhaul. We can offer an integrated guardiennage, sales and refit service out of this centre, with a satellite operation in Valencia.

Berthon Scandinavia in Sweden has had an epic year. With a great selection of high quality cruising yachts from 30 to 60 feet, many of them built on the island of Orust, our team are acknowledged experts on all yachts built on the Island. The business is growing fast and this summer we added Oslo to our portfolio, where Kim Silfving is selling yachts for us. Epiphany saw a new collaboration with other sales companies from Najad to Arcona, showing our brokerage yachts amongst their new yacht offering in a new covered facility in Henån.

Italy has always been an area that has interested us and we have always listed and sold brokerage yachts from its beautiful coasts. However, the market is a confusing one and the flagging and contract processes are unique to this area, so it is important to work with partners who are experienced brokers and know what works. Italians are mad about yachts and some of the most beautiful yachts on the planet can be found it its waters – take Solaris for example! The market also differs from other areas in that the Italians prefer that the buyer and seller both pay brokerage commission and this is confusing for international buyers. We are delighted that we have found a partner, Filippo Martini, to work with us in this area and his passion for yachts and experience of the local market makes it possible to bring Italian brokerage with a Berthon flavour to our clients.

A nascent collaboration with Chris Hills, originally born and brought up in Lymington close to our HQ, but now operating Down Under in Australia, brings a flavour of Berthon to the Southern Hemisphere.

So a good solid year and one of change to enable the Berthon Sales Group ship to navigate some new waters – not worse – just different – we can’t wait, so bring it on. Fully serviced and rested during a welcome break for the New Year holidays, the same Team remains resolutely in place and we are excited to be working with some new faces, who add to the crew in 2024.

We are a family and this is what binds the Team together, along with a passion for yachts and the fun of working with our clients to help them dive into our wonderful world of yachting.

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