The global order book for superyachts continues to cruise at a steady pace this year, with interesting trends towards larger vessels and more high-tech engineering, according to a report by international classification society RINA Services.
Although the 30 to 45-metre sector remains the core of the industry in terms of delivery numbers, there is an increasing demand for larger yachts over 60 metres. Around 40 mega yachts over 80 metres are under construction or being delivered this year.
The large-project segment has boosted figures in Germany in particular, which leads the field in terms of gross tonnage. In terms of units, however, Italian shipyards remain the market leaders with a 45% share of the global order book.
The trend for explorer or expedition yachts is also growing. A number of yards are now specialising in expedition yachts, which are often built to ice class and require specific features including helicopter pads, diving tenders and submarines.
A large fleet and low prices mean interesting opportunities in the pre-owned yacht market, which is in turn boosting the refit and conversion sector.
RINA is heavily involved in overseeing upgrades and refits to meet new environmental and safety standards such as the BWM Convention. Many owners even wish to exceed required standards. Demand for RINA’s additional class notations for environmental aspects, including Green Plus
and Hybrid Propulsion, indicates a widespread desire to own a truly “green” vessel.
“Along with environmental aspects, comfort is a major driver of innovation in superyacht design. Our consulting engineering services, in particular our specialist noise and vibration expertise, are increasingly requested as yachtbuilders strive to push the boundaries and meet the high standards of onboard comfort expected by today’s owners,” RINA said.
A significant trend is to build or refit yachts, particularly those over 40 metres, according to the Charter Code. The charter market is expected to remain strong in Europe, the US and the Middle East.
“Self-sailing yachts” may not yet exist, but technology is certainly lowering the barriers to entry into the yachting world. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the yachting industry, according to RINA.
Automation already makes it easier to navigate and control a yacht safely, so fewer crew members may be needed in coming years. Technical improvements such as joysticks and the azipod system allow less experienced owners to sail and berth smaller yachts themselves.
“The most crucial challenge for all in the superyacht industry right now is to constantly raise quality standards. A product at this price should be delivered in perfect condition and come with perfect after-sales service,” RINA said.
“RINA of course is involved and fully committed to this ideal and the process to reach it. Innovation and technological advance are the keys to unlocking this challenge and securing our future.”