Brokers react: 5 different takes on Yachts Miami Beach 2017

Northrop & Johnson

The 2017 edition of Yachts Miami Beach saw several changes, with a new layout and admissions policy, but what did the top yacht brokers really think? What would they change about the show if they could? And how is the US market faring after the recent Presidential election? We spoke to some of the leading figures in the superyacht brokerage world to get their thoughts.

Phillip Bell, sales broker at Northrop & Johnson, said that charging an admission fee for the first time was “certainly a step in the right direction”. He added: “Although we saw less people on the docks this year, the overall feeling was that they were much better quality and not the unqualified crowds usually associated with the Miami show.”

Sales broker Paul Burgess concurred, reporting an “uptick in qualified buyers and interested parties” at the Watson Island area of the show. “I think we definitely will see some sales as a result of Yachts Miami Beach,” he predicted.

Speaking about the division of the show into four areas (Simply Sail Miami, Miami Marine Stadium, Collins Avenue and Watson Island), Bell added: “It's early days for the development of this show, but considering the logistical restrictions associated with hosting a large boat within Miami, dividing up the show is essential. We have some beautiful yachts over 150 feet (46 metres) which have previously been unserviced by the Miami show, so being able to include them now will only help establish this show as one on the main global venues.”

Bell also argued that transportation options between the venues needs to be improved, with three-hour commute times reported during the show.

Turning to the US market in general, Bell concluded: “We are seeing a definite improvement in sales and more serious inquiries, which began a couple of months before the elections took place. Undoubtedly the stock market health has continued this air of confidence through the first quarter of 2017, and the continued strengthening of the US dollar has certainly established the US market as one of the most buoyant within the yachting industry.”

Pictured above, the 50 metre Christensen yacht Casino Royale, which was on display at Yachts Miami Beach 2017 and is currently offered for sale with Northrop & Johnson.


Crispin Baynes, yacht broker at Burgess’ New York office, agrees that the new admissions policy is an improvement: “It acts as a filter, which eases foot traffic on the docks.”

He argued that the layout “probably makes the best use of all the space,” before adding: “For now there seems to be an air of optimism via the current flurry in the US financial markets and this is translating into buyer confidence. But it is hard to say how long this will last.”

Richard Lambert from Burgess’ office in London, argued: “Charging for entry does improve the calibre of the visitors to the show. Watson Island attracted clients interested in purchase and charter, however the number of visitors was extremely low.”

Several brokers from Burgess argued that the show should be shortened to end on Sunday rather than Monday, while the overall impression of the US market was one of “increased confidence” with “an undercurrent of positivity”.

Pictured above, the 55 metre Admiral yacht Quinta Essentia, which was on display at Yachts Miami Beach 2017 and is currently offered for sale with Burgess.

Denison Yacht Sales

“People we met on the docks tended to be more serious than in years past and our team was able to walk away from the show with multiple brokerage and new boat contracts,” reveals Bob Denison, president of Denison Yacht Sales. Despite predicting a 40% decline in overall attendance, Denison expects business to be up across the board.

“I think four locations is too much,” he added. “Rumour is that two of the locations will be combined next year with Strictly Sail moving from Bayside to Virginia Key. There's not much we can do about the other two locations as Watson Island is the only solution for deep draft boats that can't make it into Collins Avenue.”

Denison puts the positivity in the market down to the Presidential election bringing an end to political uncertainty. “The market is certainly more alive, but this isn't something Mr Trump can take personal credit for,” he continued. "The months following presidential elections always tend to be more positive. Nobody likes the uncertainty election season brings, especially when extremist on both sides do their best to convince us the world will end if their candidate isn't elected."

In term of improvements, Denison had one key suggestion: “In the future I'd love to see that main Collins Avenue thoroughfare double in size. It would obviously be more expensive, but would allow more room for desks, flags, and most importantly for boaters to stop and interact with the brokers and yachts without feeling like they're getting in the way of traffic.”

Pictured above, the 72.5 metre Dunya yacht Axioma, which was on display at Yachts Miami Beach 2017 and is currently offered for sale with Yachting Partners International and Denison Yacht Sales.

RJC Yachts

Bob Cury at RJC Yacht Sales was upbeat about the state of the US market, claiming that it is “as strong as it has ever been”. He described the new admission charge as “one of the best ideas the organisers have had,” as it helped to sort out the serious buyers from the more casual visitors.

However, Cury added: “The layout is poor, as the site at Island Gardens was five miles from the main display, splitting up the boats and suffering poor attendance. The problem now is not finding buyers as much as finding late model inventory. A recently delivered Westport, for example, is hard to find but potential buyers are there.”

Pictured above, the 46 metre Richmond yacht Status Quo, which was displayed at Yachts Miami Beach 2017 and is currently listed for sale with RJC Yacht Sales.

HMY Yachts

Rob Bowman from HMY Yachts described this year’s Yachts Miami Beach as “one of the best in recent memory”, praising the admission fee as a “positive change” despite its effect on attendance.

“This was a benefit for our team as they got to spend more one-on-one time with each client,” he added. “Everyone was commenting about the quality of buyers this year and how this was a great show to meet fresh clients that the team had not already engaged. We hope there continues to be an entry fee for the show next year.”

Bowman argued that the four distinct areas of the show helped to “spread out the audience”, with HMY Yachts brokers reporting “great success” at both Yachts Miami Beach and the Miami International Boat Show: “Anything that allows our sales team to spend more time with clients at the show is a positive."

On the state of the US market, Bowman concluded: “It’s still too early to tell what the true impact of a Trump administration and a GOP controlled congress will be, but our key performance indicators show that 2017 looks to be a strong year. Our brokerage sales for January 2017 are up 42% over January 2016 and February looks to be ahead of last year by double digits as well.

“As long as consumer confidence remains high, I think we are in for another 24 months of increased sales. The market has certainly shifted to larger motor yachts and we feel that we are in a good position to benefit from that trend.”

Pictured above is the 29.41 metre Princess yacht Livernano, which was on display at Yachts Miami Beach 2017 and is currently offered for sale with HMY Yachts.

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