Camper & Nicholsons International, in collaboration with SuperYachtTimes.com, have just released the second annual Super Yachting Index for 2008. The 54-page report chronicles trends in the global superyacht industry last year in new builds, brokerage and charter.

Last year, the authors reported, was a good year for the superyacht industry, (defined by yachts over 23m/80ft), though they did see some significant trends emerge because of the global economic downturn. “There may have been a lot of doom and gloom in the second half of the year, but it remains that 2008 was overall an excellent year for the yachting industry, with an unparalleled level of sales and charter activity,” wrote Jillian Montgomery and Laurent Perignon of Camper & Nicholsons. “Had the worldwide economic situation not impacted the industry so suddenly and abruptly during the last quarter of 2008, the business value generated would probably have been better than the exceptional previous year of 2007.”

But the downturn also prompted many yacht owners to list their boats during the second half of the year. The authors report that brokerage activity was slightly higher in unit sales than 2007, but their value was down about 20 per cent to an estimated US$2.6bn in sales. The number of new listings also doubled to over 1,000, compared to about 500 in 2007. “As this pattern coincided with a slowdown in sales, there was a total of approximately 1,600 superyachts for sale at the end 2008, which is around one-third of the fleet,” wrote the authors. Traditionally, they add, there has never been more than 25 per cent of the international superyacht fleet in the brokerage market.

The report said that new deliveries of yachts over 30m/100ft reached its highest point ever, with over 10,000 metres of superyachts delivered. The number of projects increased by 20 per cent compared to 2007, while the total length was up by 25 per cent. “This means that not only did the total number of new deliveries increase but so did the average length of the new superyachts went up to 41m/123ft against 39m/117ft in 2007,” wrote Merijn de Waard and Maarten Janssen of SuperYachtTimes.com. “The total combined value of all new delivered yachts in 2008 was a staggering