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25 November 2013

Superyachts are back 

One sign of recovery in the global economy may be the rising tide of yachts more than 20 meters long.

Sales of superyachts were more than a fifth higher in the first nine months of the year than in the same period of 2012. The scale of superyachts has increased so much in recent years that boats in the 50-meter range are now considered midsize. And the significant growth in their sales is due in part to an influx of first-time buyers.

Another sign of recovery is that sales of smaller superyachts between 20 and 30 meters are picking up again. When the global economy slumped after the 2008 financial crisis, sales of boats in this range were especially hard hit.

However, some buyers cannot resist the allure of wind in their sails: purchases of sailing superyachts have doubled so far this year from 2012’s figures.

Buying a superyacht is far from an impulse purchase, despite the abundant stories of tech titans going to extravagant lengths to outfit their vessels. Buyers also have to hire a crew and find a place to moor the vessel.

A few Asian buyers have had to leave their superyachts moored in the Mediterranean for lack of a berth to park them at home. Many owners also make their boats available for charter in order to recoup some of the cost of purchase and ownership.

For all the complications, buying a superyacht demonstrates confidence that last year’s income will continue to flow in the years ahead. In that sense, the buyers of big boats are giving a thumbs-up to the global economy.