Welcome to our September issue, which I guess we have to reluctantly admit, marks the end of the traditional Med summer season. I hope that its been a good one for you, and that you have had plenty of opportunity to get afloat and enjoy the cool sea breezes during the unusually hot and tropically humid late July and August period.
If you are professional crew you might be looking forward to some spending some time ashore after a hectic charter season or the demands of summer cruising with owners onboard.
Whatever your interest or vocation in yachting we plan to keep you informed and entertained throughout the autumn and winter months with our usual varied mix of content.
Right now, its hard to avoid commenting on the economic situation as we start to wonder what next year might hold for us all. But some very encouraging news “on the wires” is that three well known and reputable yacht builders whose bankruptcies I mentioned in this column last month, have all been successfully taken over by financially strong suitors.
Jongert BV in The Netherlands has been acquired by a consortium led by the Veka Group who are a well established commercial shipyard operator in Holland. They plan to re-employ around 100 of the 140 workers who lost their jobs in May, continue with the current new build projects and increase production when the market improves.
In France the takeover of Couach Yachts by the Vial Group has resurrected the building of two 37m and two 50m luxury yachts that were already under construction, and will now be delivered to their owners next year.
And locally based superyacht sales agent Philippe Quessaud has informed us that the Danish yacht builder Royal Denship has been saved thanks to a partnership with Italian shipyard IIMG, and will continue to build amongst others, the rugged and seaworthy Explorer range up to 125m.
We hope to bring you more details in the coming issues, but for me all of this is another sign that confidence in the future is underpinned by serious investors who are prepared to put their money into the construction of large yachts!
For more evidence of this you can look to this year’s Monaco Yacht Show and METS in Amsterdam. Both leading events for the superyacht market whose organisers have announced that exhibitor participation will be close to the usual level.
Every bit as positive and buoyed by huge amounts of individual enthusiasm is the competitive sailing side of yachting, evidenced by another great summer of regattas in Mallorca, the only notable absentee being the Audi MedCup.
My biggest regret about taking my holiday (read home leave) in August each year, is missing the opportunity to enjoy classic sailing with the Trofeo Conde de Barcelona Regatta which celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year.
As we went to press, reports on the conclusion to the regatta were coming in, and it seems that the yachts and their crews competed intensely in good conditions, offering their usual spectacle of classic sailing beauty in the Bay of Palma. The Vintage Class was won by the William Fife designed 51ft sloop, Sonata, which happened to be built in the same year that I was born, so I´m not giving it away here! The Classic Category was won by the beautiful Sparkman & Stephens designed Bermuda Yawl, Giraldilla. She was built in 1963 originally for the father of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
What a pity that the full restoration of S/Y Hispania another survivor from the Spanish royal family’s sailing heritage was not completed in time to compete in this anniversary edition of the regatta. Let’s hope that the controversy surrounding the restoration fund, which has now reached the litigation stage in Madrid, does not prevent Hispania from making a resplendent entry in next years event! Peter Franklin