In the fall of 2008, having visited Greenland and Ireland, we were looking for a place to store FPB 83 Wind Horse for the winter. Several of our cruising friends recommended that we talk to Berthon in Lymington, UK, and we ended up leaving her in their very capable care.
We were more than a little impressed with the facilities, the efficiency that the yard displayed on some projects they did for us, and the overall tenor of the operation. During this time we met and became friends with Sue Grant, the managing director of Berthon International, the brokerage arm of the company. We knew of Sue by reputation, as she had handled the resale of a number of our sailing designs.
We should digress for a moment and tell you that we have never had anyone represent us for new boat sales, preferring to have a direct relationship with our clients. But in the process of getting to know Sue and her team, we decided to vary from our 30+ year policy, and worked out an arrangement whereby Berthon represented the FPBs in Europe. This has turned out well for ourselves and the FPB family.
Berthon has offices in the US, UK, and south of France. They are known as cruising yacht specialists, sell around 200 yachts each year, and have been one of the major sponsors of the ARC cross Atlantic cruising rally since its inception. In other words, they understand what it takes to cruise long term successfully.
Which brings us to to the subject of what is normally the biggest cost associated with owning a new yacht: its value when the time comes to move on.
Sue Grant will bring you up to date on the current state of the international yacht brokerage market, and where FPBs stand in relation thereto. Berthon has managed the resale of the three FPBs that have come to market since the program started:
“Since 2008/09 the face of the international brokerage market has shifted enormously. Massive economic problems and changes have inevitably affected the sale and purchase of something that is discretionary spending (although many yachtsmen would put a yacht on the essential list of life purchases).
The number of buyers has fallen, as the number of those who need to sell has grown, and this has in the past few years led to a downward spiral in price. The problem has been exacerbated by currency fluctuation and the fact that many yacht owners have stopped using and maintaining their yachts.
Since the beginning of 2014, the market has stabilised somewhat, and the volume of brokerage yachts selling has increased. The market now is much smaller than before, but it has reset. There has been a definite increase in buyer confidence (which is what the brokerage market needs) in the US, UK, and Northern Europe specifically. Yacht buyers from these areas have also taken advantage of currency shift to buy well.
The general rule of thumb is that a new yacht will sell used for around 50% of her build cost. However, with one FPB 83 and 2 FPB 64s sold, we are starting to see a unique brokerage pattern emerge that is different from anything else on the market.
There are 2 important factors which set FPBs apart:
- They have no competition. There is no close alternative brand equivalent. If you are looking for an FPB and understand the concept, nothing else will be on your radar.
- The level of support offered by Circa and Dashew Offshore means that you buy not just the yacht, but you enter into a family. There are a number of other brands that offer after-sales service, but not at the level and not with the commitment offered by the whole FPB team.
While there can be no guarantees that this trend will continue, the on-going exploits of the FPB family, the press that the FPB brand has received, and the low rate of new FPB production, bode well for the future.”
Sue handled the resale of Wind Horse, Grey Wolf (shown above), and Iron Lady (shown below).
For more information, contact Sue Grant at Sue.Grant@Berthon.co.uk.