An­napo­lis Boat Show

Yachting World - - Front Page -

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).

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