Gentle waves lapping on a sugar-sand beach, a sip of prosecco within a centuries-old piazza, local delicacies served overlooking an azure sea… The blur of sound, color and taste that permeates every inspired travel experience has eluded us en masse this year. Sure, we’ve managed to tick off a few road trips, maybe even a secluded vacation or two, but with ever-tightening airline and international travel restrictions, opportunities for savoring the excitement of a faraway land remain few and far between.
However, we have yachts.
Boat sales, yacht sales and yacht charter bookings have risen dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. New boat sales reached their highest point in a decade in the early summer of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), with a high percentage of dealers reporting dwindling inventory by August. While the most drastic increase in sales exists in the sub-26’ range, larger yachts are having their day in the sun as well.
Buyers who were on the fence about whether to purchase a yacht were swayed a few weeks into the quarantine, say many yacht brokers, such as Denison Yacht Sales, who reported a 25% year-on-year increase in sales in September, 2020.
“Yachting is the obvious answer to shield from exposure risks of COVID, and more importantly reconnect with the people in your life who matter most,” says broker Andy Miles of Miles Yacht Group. As a board member of the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA), Miles says the initial concern over potentially decreased sales in the early days of the pandemic quickly dissipated as inventory was snapped up by buyers looking to get on the water immediately, versus waiting for a new build.
Even charter yacht inquiries and bookings are on the rise, as clients cancel land-based resort or villa reservations and seek safer, more isolated holiday options. “Charter clients enjoy all the amenities of a six-star resort aboard a luxury yacht, from entertainment to fine dining and high-end service from their own private staff and chef,” says Westport Yachts’ charter division manager, Kim Vickery. “Clients are eager to travel and inquiries are converting to confirmed bookings.”
All of this interest in boating has a commensurate effect on demand for interior yacht design. Like homes, yachts now often serve a dual function as remote office and home-on-the-water. From soft goods refreshers to complete refits, a professional yacht designer can oversee your project efficiently – so you and your family and friends can get out on the water tout de suite!
Inspired Travel - Themed Decor
Art, books and accessories gathered from memorable travels or visits to exotic destinations around the world make the best inspirational decor, especially for the happy memories or interesting stories they carry!
The owners of the 161’ Trinity Stay Salty, love travel and art, so we used coffee table books that incorporated both. The art and books act as a reminder of the spirit of travel that has drawn people to the coast for centuries. During the refit project, the owner had the idea to put a large vintage map on the forward bulkhead in the main salon. I wanted this to be a standout piece to channel journeys and encourage exploration, so we commissioned one and jazzed it up with bright splashes of color!
In the skylounge, we emphasized a more organic and playful feel, keeping the focus on this being a space to reflect the fun and rejuvenation of travel to coastal destinations with family and friends.
Spending time with friends and family and creating the space to comfortably accommodate this group is usually the initial brief of any of our design projects. Aboard the 64’ Grand Banks, Paikea II – a refit project that is nearing completion – we are in the process of enlarging, printing and framing photos taken by the owner and his son during their travels with family and friends.
We’ve also had clients who requested no art when we designed the boat because they planned to fill their spaces with special pieces gathered during their travels.
Have Yacht, Will Travel
Charter brokers like Vickery say that while yacht charter in an exotic destination is possible with proper planning and resources, for the foreseeable future, American charter clients and boaters are advised to stay closer to home due to the various travel restrictions and entry requirements in effect from country to country.
But fear not! Even if you have to subdue the wanderlust and put your Mediterranean summer cruising plans on hold, sticking closer to home has endless rewards. From Nova Scotia to St. Lucia and from Cabo to Alaska, North America’s cruising grounds are brimming with cultural gems and natural splendor – with plenty of opportunities for the gathering of artisanal gifts and memorabilia with which to decorate your space.
Today’s yachts are equipped with the latest in wifi and communications technology, enabling business and schooling to continue without interruption. And, what better way to provide your children and grandchildren with real-world education than the experiences gathered while traveling safely by boat?