6 top brokers give their predictions for 2018


With a grand total of 429 sales, 2017 was the busiest year for the brokerage market since the global financial crisis. To find out what was behind this surge and get some predictions for the year ahead, we spoke to six leading industry figures.

“The year started cautiously, however, as 2017 progressed there was an increase in momentum with the sub-50 metre market proving particularly strong in comparison to previous years,” reports Richard Lambert, head of sales at Burgess. “The larger yacht market did not perform as strongly, the primary driver for this was probably the reduced inventory of yachts for sale in this sector.”

His comments are borne out by the data as the average length of yacht sold in 2017 fell to 35.43 metres from 35.82 metres the year before, despite the high-profile sale of 107.4 metre Ulysses (pictured above) that Burgess and Fraser concluded in October.

Looking ahead to 2018, Lambert continues, “The USA is still the largest market worldwide, however Burgess is investing in new markets globally, especially in Asia.

“The most popular destinations have not changed, with the Western Mediterranean still proving to be the most favoured cruising location, followed closely by the Adriatic. The Caribbean has fared pretty well considering the unfortunate aftermath effects of the hurricanes. Asia still has considerable untapped potential as a winter destination.”


Raphael Sauleau, CEO of Fraser, agrees that the brokerage market enjoyed a particularly productive 12 months, saying, “2017 saw a record year in terms of sales for second hand boats and was by far the best year since 2007.

“The overall healthier status of the global economy, combined with the recent elections in both the US and Europe, have favoured a regain of optimism for buyers,” he continues. “Stocks are high and outlook on new corporate tax legislation in various countries certainly favour the current high spirit. Furthermore, we also see a return of the Russian buyers, which provided us with a very good environment for yachting as a whole.”

Predicting a positive 2018, Sauleau adds, “The main customer markets show signs of strong economies and positive overall outlook for the months to come. The US market leads the pack for the industry as a whole and is followed by Middle Eastern and Eastern European customer bases. Europe and Latin America also play their role, however, in a lesser manner.”

The rise in popularity of extreme destinations is one key trend that Fraser expects to persist in the months and years to come. “We saw an increase in requests for Asian and Indian Pacific destinations over the winter, as well as a growing demand for exploration,” Sauleau reveals, highlighting the Arctic, Northwest Passage, Antarctica, Palau and Burma as notable recent enquiries.

The 67.71 metre superyacht Icon (pictured above) was one of the biggest sales involving Fraser last year.


Another of the major brokerage firms to capitalise on the inflated level of sales last year was IYC, which reported a 25% upswing for 2017. A strong US market and stable EU market was key to this, explains marketing director Irini Saranti.

“Europe and the US will continue to be an area of focus for 2018. Having strong presence in Florida (‘the capital of yachting’), along with our other offices, enables us to continue to maximise our activities in the US, as well as focus on the Latin America and Central America markets (mainly Mexico) where we see a lot of potential.”

On the charter front, Saranti adds that the Bahamas has been the busiest destination for winter 2017-18. “We are also seeing higher activity in the east Mediterranean, with destinations like Greece, Croatia and Montenegro becoming increasingly popular,” she concludes.

The 48.7 metre Bilgin motor yacht Timeless (pictured above) was one of the biggest sales involving IYC last year.

Moran Yacht & Ship

Chris Callahan of Moran Yacht & Ship argues that quality inventory and a strong economy were the key factors behind last year’s success. “2017 was a record year for us, with some of our largest brokerage transactions to date along with high overall sales volume across all market segments,” he says.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Callahan is predicting even bigger things in 2018 for charter as well as new construction, adding, “We think the Americas will continue to be an important market for the foreseeable future.”

Turning to destinations, Callahan reveals, “We have seen quite a bit of interest shift to the Bahamas this winter, with a number of larger vessels visiting the Exumas. I think the largest surprise from my perspective was the amount of last-minute enquiries this year. We always get a number of last-minute enquiries, however, this year it seemed like they were coming in by the minute.”

The 85.1 metre Lürssen superyacht Solandge (pictured above) was one of the biggest sales involving Moran Yacht & Ship last year.

RJC Yacht Sales

“2017 was a record year both in the terms of brokerage sales and charter bookings,” reveals Bob Cury of RJC Yacht Sales. “I believe a big reason for this is the Trump effect as many of our clients are happy to see a 'pro-business' President in the White House.”

For the year ahead, Cury highlights the Miami International Boat Show as the key event in the calendar for engaging with both local and international clients. “The Miami show provides us an excellent platform to display several pedigree yachts from multiple builders,” he adds. “We have attended the Miami Show for over 30 years and have always found the show to be very productive.”

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a couple of lesser-visited destinations have come to the fore, Cury also notes. “Several of the yachts in our charter fleet decided to head south and base themselves out of Antigua and the Grenadines for this Caribbean season. With the holidays just over, we are beginning to receive some very positive feedback from clients who visited these areas over the last few months.”

The 50 metre Trinity motor yacht Impromptu (ex-Mia Elise, pictured above) was one of the biggest sales involving RJC Yacht Sales last year.

Denison Yachting

Bob Denison, president of Denison Yachting, describes 2017 as “a solid year”, with an estimated uptick in business of 10-12% year-on-year. “I think this has a lot to do with consumer confidence being at a 17-year high, along with a very healthy real estate market, and a Dow that keeps climbing,” he explains.

“2017 was also a year we saw significant bitcoin activity. We closed a fairly large catamaran to a client that cashed out of bitcoin and are finalising a charter in the Med to an American client using cryptocurrency. Regardless of the fluctuations, I think we'll continue to see real progress here. I think you'll hear big news from somebody in 2018 regarding a superyacht purchase.”

Geographically speaking, Denison is predicting growth for the West Coast of the USA, specifically the Pacific Northwest, and his prediction for the breakout charter destination of 2018 is tied in with this. “Alaska is a place that we seem to be getting more enquiries for charter. We also think the Bahamas will be a place that sees an uptick this year as the Virgin Islands continue the rebuilding process.”

The 37.5 metre Fitzroy sailing yacht Ludynosa G (pictured above) was one of the biggest sales involving Denison Yachting last year.

Read more

Sponsored listings