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Special Report: Super Yachts
As a way of measuring the global economy, this has got to be the coolest. From Abramovich’s Eclipse to a simple $250,000 a week charter, Kipp looks at the industry.
August 8, 2010 12:36 by Liz Peek
Chartering isn’t exactly cheap, but there is a variety of boats available at different price points. Figure on spending as much as $1 million a week for the very largest and most luxurious craft. More reasonable (funny how quickly you can lose your bearings in this sort of analysis) are the boats measuring between 100 and 200 feet, built in the past 10 years, that cost around $250,000 to $350,000 per week. For example, a week on the Christensen-built, 162-foot Remember When costs around $225,000. The boat may be chartered anywhere in the world – including the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, can accommodate up to 12 guests, and has a crew of 10. That fee probably does not include tip for the crew, and other oddments. The boat is gorgeous, and has a number of luxury features, including heated marble floors in the baths. In other words, you may never want to return home.
While practical issues such as finance have impacted the super-yacht market over the past few years, the allure of sailing the world’s oceans in a customized super-yacht has not faded. In fast-growing parts of the world like Asia and the Middle East, appetites for all sorts of luxury goods are soaring. The recent Dubai International Boat Show attracted tens of thousands of visitors and 700 companies. The sale of a 72-meter Sunseeker boat on the show’s first day set the tone. Participants noted that demand for yachts was stronger in the Middle East than in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Similarly, orders are beginning to flow from Asia, which has in recent years accounted for less than 5 percent of demand. While Taiwan and China have emerged as credible suppliers, producing boats for one-third to one-half off the going rate in Western Europe (and reportedly some reduced quality in the bargain), they have recently begun to produce buyers.
The current oversupply of luxury craft will eventually recede, and the industry will stabilize. Wooten, though, remains cautious. “I have the feeling the market will never get back to the overheated level of 2007,” he says. If indeed the Dow Jones is the best indicator of demand, let’s hope his caution is misplaced.