Despite several intense gusts of rain that scattered visitors on day two, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) closed yesterday after a busy five-day race, with organizers reporting high attendance and exhibitors saying the show this year had more serious buyers than tire shooters. .
The number of superyachts in attendance was down from previous shows and the presence of European yachting leaders was conspicuously absent, largely due to the United States’ travel ban on Europe which will expire on November 8.
“We saw a much smaller show than in the past,” said Stefanos Macrymichalos, CEO of the International Yacht Company. Robb Report. “But I think it was a much better event for those who want to buy or charter yachts. We didn’t see people coming to the show for entertainment.
Still, there were plenty of spectators taking selfies alongside the larger superyachts, such as the 251ft. Walk, the biggest yacht in the show. But even the small number of visitors allowed to visit this personalized Feadship, which launched last January, was highly qualified. “We see a billionaire every few hours,” said Feadship America executive Robb Report.
Macrymichalos said 2021 is set to be a banner year for his South Florida-based charter and brokerage firm, with several brokerage yachts in stock having been sold and the number of charter weeks for its fleet up by 35 % for the year. “We have also seen many charterers who now wish to buy their own yachts through transactions,” he said. “It started in August 2020 and hasn’t stopped since.
Fraser Yachts cited similar double-digit increases in brokerage sales and its charter business grew 58% in 2020 from the previous year. “Last year was one of our best years – we more than doubled our sales compared to 2019,” Michael Busacca, COO of Fraser Yachts, said at a press conference. “We had the strongest growth in the 24 to 34 meters [79- to 115-foot.] segment, with sales up 80%, and 40% of them were first-time buyers. “
While many boat builders have announced show premieres, others have used FLIBS to launch their yachts to the world. Viking Yachts launched its 63 Convertible, while sister company Valhalla presented its new 46 center console.
Ocean Alexander’s 35R, which won the Best in Show award, drew crowds eager to see the new world premiere. The number one hull had been pre-sold, but the second hull was sold at the show. The Prestige high-volume X70 was a first at the show, and the company has announced that it will launch a new X60 next year, with a multihull in the works. The Ferretti Group had four American premieres, including the Pershing 6X, Ferretti Yachts 1000, Ferretti Yachts 780 and Riva 88 Folgore.
Other manufacturers reported strong sales even before the show. Federico Ferrante, President of Azimut-Benetti USA, said Robb Report its new Verve 42 recorded 14 sales before it even arrived from Italy for its world debut in the FLIBS, while sister company Benetti’s Oasis 34M, which was not completed, has drawn 20 orders.
Italian yacht builder Sanlorenzo, which hosted the global launch of its SL 106A and the US premieres of the SL96A and Bluegame BGX70, said it has doubled US sales in the past 12 months. Sanlorenzo President Massimo Perotti said nearly 50 percent of sales are made to first-time buyers. “We are seeing a lot of newcomers going into the business,” he said. Robb Report. “Covid gave them a good reason to own. “
Perotti pointed to a 2019 Deloitte study of the boating market, which found that only 3.0% of very high net worth people own yachts. “I expect that number to be a bit higher by the end of this year,” he says, “but even if we can move it to 4.5%, that’s enough for a change. significant market. “
Sean Robertson of Sunseeker also pointed out that the first buyers are coming to the show. “The quality of this show is fantastic,” said the UK yacht builder’s sales manager. Sunseeker has previewed its Manhattan 55 and 65 sports yachts in the United States. It plans to launch two to three models per year after launching five models in four categories earlier this year.
The irony is that with the onslaught of first-time buyers and global supply chain issues, yacht builders are scrambling to meet demand, with delivery times pushed back from 12 to 36 months, according to the. model. “The used boat market has practically disappeared,” says Robertson. “At previous shows in Europe this fall, there was almost a sense of hopelessness among buyers wanting to know what they could get. Now people seem more willing to wait for what they want.
This record-breaking frenzy for new and used boat shows will continue, most of FLIBS exhibitors say Robb Report speak with. “Yachts appear to be one of the safest havens for wealthy people,” said Macrymichalos of IYC. “But it’s not just the rich people, it’s spreading across the board and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of slowing down.”