A new generation of superyachts
Word by Mark Duncan, Commerical and Marketing Director, Yachting Partners International www.ypigroup.com
Over the past few decades, the size of superyachts has continued to increase: at the 1991 inaugural Monaco Yacht Show, the average length was just 32 metres. Today the average yacht length exceeds 47 metres. Not only are the yachts getting bigger, but a new generation of owners are also entering the market, with traditional Middle Eastern, Russian, British and American customers being joined by increasing numbers of Asian, South American and Indian superyacht owners.
While 24 metres is the starting point, superyachts can be found up to 180 meters in size (there are even plans for a 220-metre superyacht in the pipeline). Prices range from $10m to as high as $300m.
The wider superyacht industry has continued to grow too: as a whole, yachting as an industry is estimated to generate around 24 billion euros a year. It involves over 6,000 companies providing everything from design, construction, crewing, yacht management, registration and legal services, yacht charter, yacht sales and purchase, surveying, naval architecture, refits, IT and AV technology, paint, maintenance, marketing, events and a host of other services. The industry employs over 130,000 land-based staff and over 30,000 crew.
The on-board offerings of the yachts and their technological capabilities are developing too. Larger yachts can be equipped with a helipad, a submarine or a fully kitted out beach club with extensive diving gear, lounge area, swim platform and water toys area. State-of-the-art pools and Jacuzzis are often de rigueur, as is a fully-equipped gym with a view, a spa and massage centre, 3D cinema, games room and all the latest water toys – from seabobs and jetskis to waterslides and inflatable sailing yachts.
Yachting uses and incorporates some of the world’s leading technology and research and design covering everything from hybrid engines for increased efficiency and environmental protection, to extensive developments in the use of carbon and glass for design and performance and, of course, state-of-the-art communications technology. One very new introduction is the use of virtual reality in the design and building of new yachts for clients.
Fully immersive virtual reality programmes allow owners to walk through their, as yet, unbuilt yacht so they can take decisions on all sorts of design or build issues based on their ‘real’ experience of being virtually onboard. This can save a significant amount of time, money and heartache for owners because it reduces considerably the risk of having to make expensive change orders once the yacht is already in build.
The number of new yachts being ordered and launched continues to grow as does their size and the complexity of how efficiently they run and perform and what they have to offer their owners. There is increasing interest from new markets such as India, Asia and South America as the number of UHNWIs grows every year. Today, it is estimated around 6% of all those who can afford to savour yachting at its most bespoke actually do. In other words, in the world of superyachts, the opportunities for growth are as deep as the oceans.
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