DUBAI // The market for super-yachts remains buoyant in the face of economic storms, according to the sales forces at the Dubai International Boat Show yesterday. "The guys who buy these yachts are ones who own their own companies, so they still have the money," said Philip Purcell, vice president of sales for Westport Yachts. "Despite all the doom and gloom we're doing OK." Mr Purcell offered a detailed tour of a 40-metre yacht that belongs to a Gulf client.
It has five bedrooms, two living rooms/dining rooms, three decks, a hot tub and crew quarters below. And there was no shortage of boats in the same class at the show, which is in its 17th year. This year's edition for the first time has a "super-yacht pavilion", housing the most exclusive firms and their designs. A 38m yacht priced at US$24m drew hundreds of onlookers. It attracted the attention of one boat lover in particular, Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman of the Emirates Group.
Ali al Jafla, the chief executive of Sunseeker Middle East, said there is still a market for super-yachts in this part of the world. "There are definitely still buyers in the market," he said. "We have had four buyers interested in this yacht", all from the Gulf region. The Sunseeker model has a twin master cabin and a triple deck inclusive of all modern conveniences. "This is what clients want," Mr al Jafla said.
Dubai Maritime City, predicting the growth in the market, just completed the construction of 44 berths, and by 2012 expects to have a total of 650. "There is a demand for boats here, and people are not buying because there is not the space to put them," said Amer Ali, the chief executive of Dubai Maritime City Authority. firstname.lastname@example.org