Brokers react to The Superyacht Show 2018
by Caroline White
Brokers have taken stock of the first three days of the inaugural Superyacht Show in Barcelona and responded with quiet approval for a pared back and focused event.
The new show, organised by LYBRA and running from May 2-5, features a carefully curated selection of mid-sized to large superyachts, plus stands by a few luxury brands. But there are no ancillary products that might appeal to designers or shipyards — “equipment suppliers and service industry not directly related to owners or clients”, as Antoine Larricq, sales broker at Fraser put it.
The only products on display are ones aimed squarely at the brokers’ target market. “It’s a show dedicated to clients and not a show dedicated to the industry that gravitates around the yachts,” said Larricq.
At many similar events, he said, “the docks are too busy with industry people that are not directly involved with the sale and purchase of yachts. We are a small industry with limited number potential clients — and a fair number of those clients would be intimidated to walk around on those crowded docks.”
Darrell Hall, founding partner and sales broker at Yachtzoo noted that, “[Owners] don’t want heavy traffic coming through their vessel, they want to know their yachts are being displayed for the sole purpose of securing a buyer — and that’s what we should be aiming for.”
The result of removing everything that is not aimed at qualified buyers, seems to be a show that is both exclusive and efficient. “This is a great venue, with great quality vessels and if I was a buyer, this would be exactly the way I’d like to see it,” said Hall.
“Yachts at my disposal without having to trip over pushchairs and people walking around with ice creams — a completely professional show with the aim of procuring a buyer for a vessel.”
It also consequently feels, as Alfredo Lopez, marketing director of Northrop & Johnson puts it, “very exclusive”. “The show is a very manageable size, the inventory is top notch, and the atmosphere is relaxed,” he said. “It’s a completely different experience when you compare it to other yacht shows — it’s elevated.”
This relaxed nature also means that brokers have time to delve deeper into the details of the boats they are showing to clients. For example, Larricq describes the history of 70.25 metre Saint Nicolas, built by Lürssen in 2007 — one owner, the same captain for 10 years, privately used, immaculately kept to the highest standards. The history of a yacht is an intrinsic part of its value, but it takes time to have that conversation.
“Other shows can be such big events, there’s too much pressure, too much rushing from one place to another, too many things to do or to see,” he said. “Here you’re less pressed with time — we are here to show beautiful exclusive yachts, in total discretion, to a selected number of clients.”
Frank Grzeszczak Jr, sales consultant at IYC, feels this event could create a new model for showing superyachts. “I believe this is the way that clients are going to want to experience boat shows,” he says. “I don’t feel that our clients want to, or should be, mixed in with the masses.
“This is an exclusive industry, with highly refined clientele that demand the highest standard in every aspect of business and life. We, as the members of the most exclusive organisation in yachting, LYBRA, are tasked with creating a new standard; we need to make our clients feel special.”
“We just need one or two boats to sell as a result of this show and I think it’s going to send a powerful statement,” said Grzeszczak. “Potentially this is the future of boat shows for people who are serious about selling and chartering their boats.”