A nation with an entrenched yachting culture and a sizeable amount of wealth, the United States has always been a thriving market for the superyacht industry. Having recently completed a busy period of US spring yacht shows, Moravia Yachting’s Charter and Sales Broker Alastair Callender can confirm that the superyacht market has become more US-dominant than ever.
“Demand in the sales market has slowed somewhat due to a lack of availability and, on the charter market, demand is continuing to outstrip availability for the summer season ahead. I’ve never seen the charter market busier than it was last year and I am cautiously optimistic that this is not slowing down – personally, I have seen there’s even more demand across all size ranges in 2023. I am advising my clients to book as early as possible, especially if specific dates are requested,” advises Alastair.
“Demand in the sales market has slowed somewhat due to a lack of availability and, on the charter market, demand is continuing to outstrip availability for the summer season ahead”
Both the charter and brokerage markets in the US have been extremely buoyant over the last couple of years following a surge in demand ignited by the pandemic. So much so that there was a noticeable shortage of inventory for sale at the 2022 US yacht shows. Even though the total number of superyachts sold in 2022 was less than the historic levels of 2021, interestingly the share of yachts sold to American buyers has remained largely unchanged.
“I am proud to be running the Americas for Moravia Yachting, given that this is one of the most important regions for the superyacht industry,” adds Alastair. “Nearly a quarter of all yacht owners are based here in the USA, and almost a third of all superyachts being built over 40m (131ft) are for buyers from North America. The USA has remained the main driver of yacht sales globally in the last year.”
At the recent Palm Beach International Boat Show, there was a good line-up of quality yachts to satisfy many different requirements. “It was a very positive show that provided many opportunities for showing clients a variety of superyachts on both the sales and charter markets,” reflects Alastair. One of the standout yachts on display was the 75m (246’) Feadship ARROW. Launched recently in 2020 and available for charter, it’s the first time the yacht has been listed on the sales market.
“It was a very positive show that provided many opportunities for showing clients a variety of superyachts on both the sales and charter markets”
It is also evident that a younger demographic of US clientele is entering the yachting market, and this is having an impact on usage and design trends across the board. “People are using yachts in a more active way, and that directly correlates with how yachts are being designed,” explains Alastair.
“We’re seeing less formal dining areas and more active spaces and amenities, such as gyms, personal submarines, and heliskiing capabilities. Beach clubs are particularly popular, providing guests access at the waterline to all the water toys but also serving as an additional, versatile lifestyle space that can incorporate a sauna, hammam or even transform into a nightclub.”
With this steady growth in the US market, Alastair is working with more and more first-time charter clients, who are often surprised at how attainable a yacht charter vacation is in terms of budget. “Often clients don’t initially realise you can find extraordinary yacht options at a comparable price point to their other vacations,” explains Alastair. “One such client from the USA had been taking his family on cruise ship vacations for many years. Last summer, he chartered a yacht in the Bahamas for the first time, at a lesser price point per head. He said it was the most magical, experiential vacation of his life and that he would never go back to cruise ships.”
“Often clients don’t initially realise you can find extraordinary yacht options at a comparable price point to their other vacations”
As more US clients discover the unparalleled experience of a yacht charter vacation, it can only be a positive for the brokerage market. As Alastair concludes; “Around 70 per cent of current yacht owners originally chartered, so the high demand on the charter market is very promising, given they may become potential owners in the future.”