Now that owning a superyacht has lost much of its lustre by its association with Russian money in the public imagination, with a major downturn in the global economy expected, what is the future of the industry over the next few years?
This is what many agents and actors in the superyacht industry are asking themselves. Here is one scenario – excluding nuclear armageddon – for the year 2025
The Russian Bear, having been goaded into invading Ukraine and having swallowed the poisoned bait undergoes regime change. Russia becomes a liberal democracy, duly contrite for its aggression in Syria and Ukraine. Liberal democracy beats back the onslaught of autocracy and becomes established as the new world order, no longer challenged by China. The USA, the EU and Russia are one swathe of colour in the Northern Hemisphere. And, of course, the UK, a little irrelevant after Post Brexit, but still with its dreams.
The superyacht industry which for three years has been keeping a low profile reinvents itself as a carbon-neutral, net-zero industry, with greater transparency of ownership. Expect more tax payable. An emboldened EU enforces protection of coastal waters, forcing yachts to travel further to enjoy panoramas. The Russian Black Sea, now fully tamed and liberal democratised, will be a new destination – Odessa to be a prime destination.
Expedition yachts will explore Siberia. The oligarchs of Russia, duly chastised, will be commandeered to assist the transition from autocracy to liberal democracy in Russia – keeping their money and yachts. Shares in the big agents in Monaco rise again.
By 2025, the superyacht industry will be in rude health. The smaller players will be back again, battered and bruised, while the Big Boys will return from their leisure lounges to transition from downturn to the rising curve on sales. There will be a new order but business as usual, same as it ever was.
Seemingly immune to Covid, the industry by 2025 will prove that adage from the glory days of the Roman Republic: pecunia non olet. Money does not smell.