Annapolis Boat Show
e’re seeing a bull market for the next 18 months,” says
Bill Goggins, CEO of Harken speaking at the company’s annual breakfast briefing at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis.
Goggins is not alone in his optimism. The US economy is strong and, with tax cuts on the way, the mood at Annapolis was positive, even buoyant. “We had a record year in 2017 and builders are seeing record demand [this year],” says Goggins. “Builders are not overproducing and not expanding beyond what the market can bear, so the sun is out economically.”
It’s not only being seen in new yachts, he says. With a huge stock of keenly priced secondhand yachts around, and a steadily growing interest in younger ‘craft’ Diyers, the company is also seeing money poured into restorations and refits.
The market for new yachts below
50ft is slow with the notable exception of the ever-popular J Boats. But over
50ft it’s bubbling. The bigger European brands dominate – new US launches are very scarce. Younger buyers, feeling financially confident, are being lured by big volume monohulls and, increasingly, multihulls that offer lots of interior space, indoor steering and all-round protection.
While indigenous US designs and builds are relatively few and far between, this is where we are seeing pockets of the most astonishing and daring development. You might call them ‘Space X’ projects, usually funded by billionaires, and two outstanding examples right now are the fully foiling, hybrid wing mast/ soft sail Eagle Class 53 weekender (right), and the zero emission hydrogen-powered Daedalus 80 (page 78).