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Monaco Yacht Show 2020: What will the superyacht fleet look like in light of major participants withdrawing?

By Katia Damborsky   30 May 2020

After several major shipyards and brokerage firms announced their decision to withdraw from the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show in mid-May, the future of the world’s most prestigious yachting event was uncertain. However, the Monaco Yacht Show remains resolute, confirming it intends to go ahead as planned this September; but what exactly can we expect from the 2020 edition? What will the 2020 superyacht fleet look like if the industry’s biggest players don’t participate?

Earlier in May, it was made public that LYBRA and SYBAss- two associations which represent the world's leading brokerage firms and shipyards- have officially withdrawn from the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show. 

Both associations have made it clear that they intend to participate in future editions of the show, and have cited Coronavirus concerns as their primary reason for withdrawing. You can read a more detailed account of SYBAss and LYBRA withdrawing.

Questions were raised over the feasibility of the Monaco Yacht Show until organizers Informa stated that the show is still set to go ahead between September 23 - 26 as scheduled, with the final deadline for cancelling set for July 20. They also introduced a number of stringent new health and safety protocols. 

But without some of the biggest shipyards and brokerage firms in the industry, what will the Monaco Yacht Show look like this year? We've analyzed our internal intelligence data to establish to what extent this decision will impact the fleet and the market this year. 

Essential context: Who are SYBAss and LYBRA?

tender floats alongside superyacht at monaco yacht show

SYBAss and LYBRA are two separate associations that independently represent a cross-section of the industry’s leading shipyards and brokerage firms.

SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) represents 21 shipyards, including many of the biggest names in yacht building. Feadship, Lurssen, Oceanco, Abeking & Rasmussen, Benetti, Amels and Damen, Heesen, CRN, SanLorenzo, Nobiskrug and Perini Navi are just a handful of prestigious SYBAss members.

SYBAss members collectively account for 60% of all yachts measuring over 40m on the water today- an impressive figure by any standard.

SYBAss members collectively account for 60% of all yachts measuring over 40m on the water today.

LYBRA is the Large Yacht Brokers’ Association. They represent some of the industry’s biggest brokerage firms, and their members are collectively responsible for a huge number of large superyachts available both for sale and private yacht charter.

LYBRA members include Burgess, Edmiston, Fraser, IYC, Northrop & Johnson, Ocean Independence, Yachtzoo and Y.CO.

Both SYBAss and LYBRA have historically been responsible for a large fleet of superyachts at past editions of the Monaco Yacht Show.

How much of an impact will SYBAss and LYBRA withdrawing have on the show’s superyacht fleet?

monaco yacht show luxury yachts lined up

In light of the decision made by LYBRA and SYBAss, we have analysed the numbers from past editions of the show to try and get a clearer understanding of what we can expect from the 2020 fleet. 

After reviewing our data, the biggest takeaway is that the 2020 fleet will be much smaller than past years; both in terms of the number of yachts in attendance and the average size of the fleet. 

In fact, of the 10 largest brand new Superyachts at the show last year, only one yacht is not accounted for by LYBRA and SYBAss; the 79.9m / 262’ motor yacht DRAGON.

Even when you look at the 20 largest new yachts at the 2019 edition of the show, there are still only an additional 4 yachts that were not brought by a member of LYBRA or SYBAss. 

To give you some perspective, you can take a closer look at our insight behind the numbers below. 

The impact of SYBAss on the new build superyacht fleet

brokers chat on the decks of superyacht aviva during monaco boat show

For shipyards and designers, the Monaco Yacht Show is the ultimate event to unveil a brand new yacht. It’s usually the first place that the yachting industry becomes acquainted with the finest new deliveries of the year, and it’s where trends are analyzed, designs are scrutinized and the docks are buzzing with talk about all the most exciting yachts at the show. 

As well as being a marketplace, the show is also an opportunity for yachts to be showcased, displayed and admired.

With this in mind, the new build fleet is a hugely important component of the Monaco Yacht Show. 

In 2019, there were exactly 48 brand new Superyachts on display with most (if not all of them) brought by shipyards. The average length of new yachts was 46.5m.

For shipyards and designers, the Monaco Yacht Show is the ultimate event to unveil a brand new yacht. It’s where trends are analyzed and designs are scrutinized.

Of those 48 yachts, 16 were brought by SYBAss members and more than half of those 16 yachts measured over 60m. The average length was 63m, indicating that SYBAss accounted for a huge number of the large new builds at the 2019 show.

For comparison, yachts that weren’t brought by SYBAss members accounted for 32 new build superyachts, and the average length of these yachts was just 38m. 

In fact, there was only one brand new yacht not brought by SYBAss measuring above 50m at the 2019 show; the aforementioned 79.9m / 262’ motor yacht DRAGON.

In line with a smaller LOA, almost all non-SYBAss new builds at the 2019 show were production yachts, rather than Custom builds. That's all well and good; but the Cannes Yachting Festival takes place just weeks before the Monaco Yacht Show, and the Cannes boat show does a great job at serving the production-build market. 

busy port hercules in monaco on a bright summers day, superyachts docked across the harbour

The same trends for smaller and non-Custom yachts can be seen in 2018 and 2017, when the average length of new yachts was 45m and 47m respectively. For SYBAss-brought superyachts, the average length shoots up to 58m in 2018 and 62m in 2017.  

Comparatively, non-SYBAss member yachts had an average length of 39m in both 2018 and 2017. However it’s worth noting that there were more non-SYBAss brought new builds measuring over 50m in both 2018 and 2017, compared to just one in 2019. 

From this data, we can reliably predict that there will be a significant reduction in the number of brand new Custom-built superyachts at the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show as a result of SYBAss withdrawing.

From this data, we can reliably predict that there will be a significant reduction in the number of brand new Custom-built superyachts at the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show as a result of SYBAss withdrawing.

From a different perspective, it’s worth remembering the Monaco Yacht Show has a well-deserved reputation for displaying the creme de la creme of new superyachts. To honour such yachts, the show hosts the prestigious Awards Ceremony at the inaugural gala every year- this has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns. 

However at the 2019 edition of the show, yachts brought by SYBAss accounted for all four of the winners and a significant number of the nominees. The same trends are reflected in previous editions of the show as well, suggesting that SYBAss members are largely responsible for the high-quality calibre of superyachts which attend the show every year. 

The impact of LYBRA on the 2020 superyacht fleet

monaco yacht show tender lined up alongside luxury megayacht

The sales fleet represents an important cornerstone of the Monaco Yacht Show for prospective buyers and brokers. The Monaco Yacht Show is well-known for displaying large yachts, and for brokers whose representative firms belong to the Large Yacht Brokers' Association the show is an invaluable opportunity to tour the yachts, bring clients on board or gather information on their behalf.

If we take a look at the sales fleet of 50m+ yachts at Monaco, we can see there were a total of 26 superyachts. Of those, 12 were not represented by LYBRA.

These figures indicate that even without the support of LYBRA, the Monaco Yacht Show still has a good turn-out of superyachts for sale from other brokerage houses. But; that's still almost half of the total sales fleet accounted for by LYBRA members.

Some notable yachts which weren't brought by LYBRA members include Amadea, Plvs Vltra, Luna B and Irimari. On the flip side, some notable yachts which were brought by LYBRA members include Secret, Solo and Triple Seven.

Interesting to note that the largest superyacht for sale at last year's Monaco Yacht Show was 111.5m (365') motor yacht TIS- and she was brought by Lurssen.

Editor's Analysis

Based on last year's numbers, we can accurately predict that the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show lineup will be operating at a significantly reduced capacity. There will still be a good turn-out of yachts, but we can expect to see a much smaller LOA, fewer Custom builds, a significant reduction in the number of new builds and around half the number of larger brokerage yachts. 

As we touched on earlier, the fleet will look more similar to the Cannes Yachting Festival. These two shows take place within weeks of each other; so it remains to be seen whether prospective show-goers would find it worthwhile to attend both shows. Of course, the Monaco Yacht Show will still have some large Custom yachts on display- both old and new, brokerage and non-brokerage- but will it be enough to draw in the same number of show-goers and serious buyers as in years past?

If the calibre of yachts on display isn't the same as in years previously, the Monaco Yacht Show will find it difficult to attract the same market. It also won't be able to live up to its high standards; the show has been keen to highlight that it's celebrating its 30th Edition this year, so show-goers are expecting a lot from the 2020 edition already.

So; if the show is committed to going ahead (with its new safety measures), how can it keep a balance between upholding its reputation for quality yachts and putting on a show to help promote the industry in the midst of COVID-19?

The YachtCharterFleet team has discussed the matter in depth with our internal team and spoken to a number of yacht brokers and dealers. The consensus is the same across the board; the Monaco Yacht Show could go ahead this year under a different name, say the Monaco Yacht Rendez-Vous, and run as an exclusive event dedicated to a select number of attendees who are committed to attending the show. This would also create a safer and more controlled environment for attendees, and would negate criticism about a luxury event of this nature going ahead in the face of a global pandemic.  

Since LYBRA and SYBAss have made it crystal clear that they intend to attend the show next year, the show can still run in 2021 as the Monaco Yacht Show 30th Edition. Having effectively missed a year, the show would be back bigger, better and stronger than ever in 2021. History would also reflect that the show was resolute, and went ahead in order to support the industry- but also made a reasonable judgment about the show's feasibility and whether it would be appropriate in the context of COVID-19. 

At YachtCharterFleet, we are always interested in hearing from our readers. If you'd like to express an opinion or give us feedback on our editorial content, please reach out to us

For more COVID-19 Yacht News, Social Distancing vacation ideas, and travel updates and charter advice, please see our Coronavirus Yacht News.


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