Monaco Yacht Show adds dash of colour to jets and yachts


Private jets, superyachts and homes. Those are the big three investment targets that tempt the ultra-wealthy; whether they are backed by established money or newly acquired wealth. Two of three were represented at the Monaco Yacht Show, which took place last week.

This year’s event seemed a little quieter (at least on the first two days) than the 2019 show when the organisers assembled the biggest ever superyacht fleet. In those far-off pre-Covid days, Port Hercule welcomed 125 superyachts with a combined value of €3.9bn. This year’s event attracted 100 superyachts, with 37 making their debut).

But there was no missing the excitement on the floating palaces and the quayside pavilions and booths, as brokers, builders, insurance firms, lawyers all reported soaring demand for new and pre-owned yachts. There were just three problems on everyone’s lips. Those were, as in the private jet world, inventory, inventory and inventory.

Opening the Superyacht Finance Forum, Hugo Modderman MD Dolfinance, put the problem succinctly: “The market [availability of superyachts] has dried up. There are only ‘shelf-warmers’ or over-priced yachts ready for sale. High quality yards are fully backed up until 2026.” Major builders, like Heesen, are on course to beat 2019 sales after just three quarters. Analyst VesselsValue predicts about 900 deals will be completed this year – that’s double the normal number.

The conventional wisdom is that yachts (and jets) offer Covid sanctuary in a time of global pandemic. “The global pandemic has reminded us to enjoy today and that life is precious,” said Sam Tucker of VesselsValue – believe it has more to do with strongly appreciating stock markets and a growing pandemic-induced realisation of personal mortality.

Meanwhile, there was a fresh flash of colour to add to the French Riviera autumn (fall) hues at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show courtesy of Airbus Corporate Jets. The OEM chose the event to launch the ACJ TwoTwenty special cabin edition.

Teaming up with French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo, also known as Mr Colourful, the manufacturer is turning the business jet into “a flying contemporary art gallery”, with original designs for each client. The aim is to offer never-done-before novel ambiance” with Kongo’s hand-painted artwork in the main lounge, branded textures and fabrics to create the clients’ own private art gallery. Cabin interiors specialist Comlux will take delivery of the first one early next year with service entry scheduled for early 2023.

“We want to preserve the DNA of comfort in the ways customers live on board [the ACJ TwoTwenty],” Benoit Defforge said at the launch last Thursday (September 23rd), atop the Yacht Club de Monaco. “We also need to be innovative in our world and think about the customers of tomorrow – and yes, we want to be disruptive.”

Above: Introducing the ACJ TwoTwenty special cabin edition, inspired by artist Cyril Kongo.

Below: This year’s Monaco Yacht Show attracted 100 superyachts, with 37 making their debut.

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