KEEPING IT REAL
Over the last years, production boatbuilders have steadily gravitated towards larger yachts. Almost every major manufacturer has angled for the luxury market, sometimes to the detriment of development in the 30-50ft size. Development of mid-range yachts – and demand for them – has stagnated.
But these bigger builds are also much more complex and draw in exponentially larger quantities of business resources, money and focus. Now we are seeing builders such as Oyster and Bavaria, both under new ownership after financial troubles, return their attention to the family cruisers that made their names.
The world’s largest yacht builder, Groupe Beneteau, is also refreshing its range of smaller yachts. It recently bought a majority shareholding in Slovenian Seascape, which makes sporty weekenders and pocket family cruisers of 14-27ft, while its Jeanneau brand will get a new Sunfast range. The objective is to get a new wave of younger people and families interested in buying a yacht and getting out on the water.
We love exciting new designs, no matter the size, but there has been a dearth of true innovation in yachts under 55ft. So it’s great to see builders take a fresh and enthusiastic interest in ‘keeping it real’, and hopefully we’ll see many exciting smaller yachts coming on stream.