Last week the eighth Quaynote Future of Superyachts conference took place at the Nixe Palace Hotel in Palma de Mallorca. One hundred delegates gathered over the two days to discuss the future direction of the market and offer insight from their respective fields.
Patrick Coote, global marketing director of Fraser Yachts, kicked off the proceedings with a presentation on “The market of superyachts: current and future”. Pertinent issues he drew attention to were yacht price reductions saying, “Too many brokers are getting listings from over-inflated prices – it’s unprofessional and sends out a terrible message to the buyers.” Coote warned that these continual price drops cause the market to stagnate as buyers sit and wait for an opportune moment to commit. He also warned that the huge growth of internet based brokers has been damaging to more traditional brokerage houses. Traditional “gentleman’s agreements” are apparently being ignored by these web-based companies, who are listing as many yachts as possible, sometimes using imagery commissioned by another company.
Coote also warned that new yacht managers in the industry were having a damaging effect by creating unrealistic expectations amongst owners. Coote revealed that new yacht managers have been tempting clients with the promise of low budgets, thereby securing new relationships. Of course such tight budgets are ultimately unsustainable and cutting corners will lead to serious maintenance issues in the long run.
Simon Turner, director at Northrop & Johnson, gave the audience a thorough overview of the market in Asia. Turner explained that one of the biggest problems the industry has to overcome is the work ethic in Asia – holidays are rare. Turner also advised that the Asian population is more likely to be tempted into yachting if yachts are perceived as more groundbreaking and imaginative. He illustrated his point with McConaghy’s Adastra, the 42.5m power trimaran built for Hong Kong clients, as well as the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.
Other notable talks were from Fabrizio Ottoni Limena, MD of Brazil Yacht Services, speaking about yachting in Brazil, and Udo Kleinitz of ICOMIA’s presentation on the IMO Tier III amendments. Rather more dry, but nevertheless useful and informative, were talks on LY2, LY3 and the PYC. Port State Control was covered by Richard Schiferli, secretary general at the Paris MoU.
The conference was accompanied by valuable networking opportunities with champagne roundtables and a cocktail party on the terrace. Delegates also enjoyed a lavish four-course lunch on both days and exceptional catering. The hotel provided a luxurious setting, not least when the J Class racing of the Superyacht Cup could be viewed from the terrace.
Of the conference, Marcela Royer, CSO of IT moves IT said, “It’s my favorite place to learn new information about the industry – in only two days I really got a wide overview of the market, from territorial markets (Asia, Brasil, etc) all the way to new charter opportunities, new types of suppliers, and the future of technology. Not only is the conference a great place to learn, it’s also a great place to meet interesting people and share ideas.”
Peter Edwards, yacht manager at Royal Oceanic, added, “This conference is one of the best Royale Oceanic go to so we were pleased to be asked to speak. They had a number of officials from organisations such as the Paris MoU that we wouldn’t usually have access to.”
Alison Singhal, director, Quaynote Communications told SB, “We were really impressed at the calibre of the speakers who generated lots of debate and discussion from the 100 delegates over the two days.”
The conference was certainly valuable in terms of opportunities to meet delegates from across the globe; educationally it also delivered a hearty punch with many facets of the industry covered. The only criticism mentioned by a few delegates was that some of the sessions were over-long and more direction could have been given to keep each session tighter.
Image: Delegates enjoy the view from the hotel terrace at lunchtime