Monaco Yacht Show, September 2019: Riding high off the back of a string of exciting brokerage deals, we debuted a fresh new stand opposite our central agency Feadship NEW HAMPSHIRE on Quai l’Hirondelle. At anchor, another beautiful central agency Feadship HERCULINA was joined by the renowned pedigree Oceanco SUNRISE.

The show buzzed and we all felt very proud not just to be cementing our position in the quality Northern European brokerage market, but to take the opportunity to express who we are, and why we have adopted our individual philosophy in this marketplace. How pleased we now are to have done that in person, shaken so many hands and enjoyed the company of our clients and industry friends without a thought for the restrictions that now govern our lives.

Following the show, we were propelled through the next few months; all of us travelling week in, week out. I put down the phone to a client in New York on 30 December and thought nothing of leaving the next day, spending New Year’s Eve on a plane and hitting 2020 running in Ft. Lauderdale with clients, inspections, dinners and sea trials.

However, by February it was clear what was coming, and the travel schedule took on a unique sense of purpose, together with an increasing sense of unease.

At home, March 2020: As we went into lockdown our efforts over the winter resulted in various contracts executed, charters pending, and closings planned. In one example, we had a 70m deal that was surveyed and from which I had just returned from sea-trialling in the Caribbean, with the yacht then making its way to US/Bahamas to close. Our client’s crew were gathering in the UK ready to head to their new charge when the US closed its doors and they were promptly sent back to their families. Many new build clients received letters from their shipyards advising of delays and calling force majeure as delivery schedules came under threat and their supply chains faltered. Charters were cancelled across the board. It was a lot to digest.

The Cecil Wright team, like so many businesses, gathered together from our homes on Zoom calls. Chris was adamant that the guiding principles on which the business was established would see us through. We can now report that, in fact, those principles are seeing us flourish. 

Fundamentally, we are determined to remain a nimble and authentic business that is focused on a select few client relationships, as opposed to having large offices and a high headcount. 

And that has helped! Also, critically, we are technology focused, having over the past four years pioneered the use of 3D scanning. As brokers we do this ourselves. Time consuming and sometimes travel heavy though it is, we find it causes us to inspect every detail and spend valuable time with crew. 

Once locked down we set about using this technological advantage to promote our Central Agency fleet online. We invited brokers from all over the word, sometimes 30 or more at a time, taking tours of our 3D scans via Zoom calls with captains hosting. Many hours were spent with our clients conducting 3D walkthroughs. The result? Five MOAs signed since lockdown, of which two have completed, two remain active, and the one that got away remains in high demand.

In terms of market sentiment, a glance at Henry’s broker news will confirm that the sale and purchase market has returned remarkably well. We see this as testament to the fact that a well-run yacht with appropriate procedures and a robust testing regime is the safest place to be. We also detect a very clear sense of purpose among our clients to cruise to places they have always wanted to visit.

The unique sense of freedom a yacht offers now seems more apparent than ever and, at the time of writing, that sentiment has turned to open optimism with vaccines and improved treatments on the horizon, markets faring well and the US election behind us. There seems, to us, an overwhelming sense that it will soon be time to go yachting again!

So, our view of the coming months? We expect the present sales trend to continue or even improve and we are bracing for a surge in the charter market next summer. Onwards and upwards!

Feadship shines bright

Feadship enjoyed an excellent evening at this year’s World Superyacht Awards, making a clean sweep of all the Neptune trophies for which it was nominated. The virtual presentation event on Friday 13 November saw PI, NAJIBA and LADY S each triumph in their respective categories, with Pi taking home the ultimate accolade by winning the Motoryacht of the Year award. Winner over 5000GT was Lürssen’s mighty FLYING FOX.

Matthew 2 G

Matthew Ruane

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