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Superyacht Sales Are Soaring Thanks to a Wave of Newly Minted Billionaires

Over 200 new superyachts were launched this year up to September, up from 165 in the same period of 2019.

Megayachts Moored at Rybovich Superyacht Marina Adobe Stock

Sales of superyachts are booming thanks to a big rise in the number of billionaires, who are splurging up to $600 million on luxury vessels in an attempt to avoid places hit by the pandemic.

The multimillion-dollar global luxury boat industry is rebounding quickly after near paralysis at the onset of the pandemic, with “2021 significantly outperforming any of the last 12 years,” the superyacht brokers Fraser Yachts said.

Sales of vessels longer than 30m (98 feet) increased by more than 8 percent in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, according to the industry publication the Superyacht Group.

More than 200 new superyachts were launched this year up to September, up from 165 in the same period of 2019, and there are orders for 330 to be built before 2023.

“Some have seen that their ultra-rich friends who own yachts had a nice time during the pandemic, while they had to lock themselves at home,” said Pepe Garcia, chairman of the Spanish shipyards MB92, the world’s leading superyacht refit firm. “I think this phenomenon is going to last for a few years.”

According to Forbes’s 2021 list, there are 2,755 billionaires worldwide, a rise of 660 compared with last year. The publication said that a “staggering 86 percent are richer than a year ago”.

Hasna by Burgess Yachts

The 240-foot superyacht Hasna was built in 2017. It was later sold for almost £80 million ($108.5 million) and renamed Lunasea Jim Raycroft/Burgess Yachts

The Times UK revealed in May that a superyacht, the three-mast “Y721,” is thought to be being built near Rotterdam for Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. The vessel, which is 127m (416 feet) long, has already been seen undergoing tests at sea since being maneuvered from the sheds at the Zwijndrecht shipyard for the first time, according to Boat International.

“The record-breaking black-hulled project is set to become the world’s largest sailing yacht when delivered in 2022, unseating the current titleholder Sea Cloud,” it added.

Although it is not known how much Bezos has paid for his superyacht, the cost can range from $10 million second-hand to $600 million new, industry figures show.

And if you cannot afford to buy one outright, how about renting one for your next vacation?

A one-week luxury charter for up to 12 passengers in Greece or Italy can cost between €300,000 and €500,000 (or roughly $350,000 to $580,000), two market sources said. Onboard facilities include spas, Michelin-level dining, watersports instruction and fitness classes.

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