Changing consumer attitudes and a taste for new types of models are predicted to shake up the luxury yachting industry in 2023. At the start of the new year, we look ahead to this year’s anticipated trends.
Living for Today
The number of superyachts under construction has risen from 1,024 in 2022 to 1,203, making this year another record-breaker. Prompted by the extreme circumstances of the pandemic, customers have stopped saving and are splashing out on a superyacht instead. With a huge increase in new builds leaving shipyards struggling to keep up with demand (Burgess defined the average wait-time for custom yachts as now taking up to four years), the second-hand market has also spiked. Brokers have also noticed charter slots are yet again booking up quickly, and luxury travel agents including Pelorus and Eyos have seen more clients than ever investing in “once in a lifetime” expedition trips to adventurous locations.
The demand for expedition-capable vessels continues to rise, reflecting a clear trend in owners wanting to explore extreme cruising grounds from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle. Explorer yachts are typically full displacement vessels with longer cruising ranges, extended storage space, hardy hulls for venturing into frozen waters and impressive water toys and facilities including helipads, dive centres, ski rooms or submersibles. In 2023, expedition yachts have become the second most popular type of vessel under construction, with hotly anticipated deliveries including Damen’s 75m Wingman, a 100m-plus explorer by Freire and Lürssen’s 107m Project Icecap.
Rise of the Dayboat
Expect an influx of new dayboat models in 2023 as major shipyards cater to a growing demand. Influenced by the success of brands like Van Dutch, Pardo, Fjord and Axopar, Sunseeker is debuting its Superhawk 55 at Boot Dusseldorf 2023 and Jeanneau’s DB/43 had over a year of orders before its premiere at last September’s Cannes Yachting Festival. Before production had even started, Sunreef had already received six orders for its new 55 Open Power. “Boaters are increasingly using their boats for short day trips. In the 30-50ft size, luxury dayboats are progressively becoming the main segment of the market in the Mediterranean and Florida,” said Paul Blanc, Brand Director of Jeanneau, which debuts its next dayboat, the DB/37, at Boot Dusseldorf 2023. Sunseeker’s Sales Director Sean Robertson anticipates that the Superhawk 55 will “take the market by storm” after being “hounded by clients and dealers for the last seven or eight years” to produce such a model.
An Eco-conscious Fleet
In 2022, only six superyachts with hybrid engines were delivered. Expect more in 2023 as boat builders increasingly focus on launching eco-conscious vessels, many of which will also incorporate greener materials like synthetic teak decking, faux leather upholstery and the addition of solar panels as alternative energy sources. The largest hybrid deliveries slated for 2023 are Lürssen’s Project Icecap and Admiral’s 76m Project Blue Marlin. Amels is expected to deliver multiple 60m hybrids (Project Snow and Project Witchcraft), Wider is producing multiple models of its green Widercat 92 and construction is progressing well on Silent Yachts’ VisionF 82 model, while Sunreef’s many solar-electric or hybrid Eco projects include the recently commissioned Sunreef 43M Eco.
As travel destinations open around the world, many superyacht hubs are investing in upgraded facilities to attract the best boats to their cruising grounds. Visitors can now expect better connectivity, enhanced security and services and larger berths to accommodate ever-lengthening yachts. Some of the biggest overhauls in Asia recently include the multi-million upgrade of ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove in Singapore and the new Lantau Yacht Club in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, Hurricane Hole marina in The Bahamas has reopened its doors after extensive renovations and Costa Rica’s new Flamingo Marina is underway following the country’s relaxation of yachting restrictions. Further into the future, there are several major marina projects currently under construction in The Middle East, including NEOM city in Saudi Arabia, The Pearl marina in Doha and Dubai Harbour in the UAE.
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