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Are You Thinking Globally?


The author shares a moment with some new boats in the Azimut fleet in Savona, Italy.

I just returned from Italy where much is happening in the world of boating. So much in fact that I’ve been there twice in the past two months. Of course, the excitement is not confined just to Italy, but it’s a good example of what’s going on the world over. Boatbuilders there are doubling down on their chosen field of endeavor, and boaters are the winners.

You see, Italian companies (and other countries) have begun to understand the real lessons from the recesssion that slowed things down. Here’s what’s going on: Many companies have remembered (all of a sudden) that what they do is design and build boats. And so some of them were looking at their swooning sales even as the collective world economy began to look better start its recovery. They put two and two together and said: No wonder we’re not selling. We’re not building, at least not anything exciting. And we’re not developing new models. So they did.

Two major builders: the Ferretti Group and Azimut Benetti are in the midst of developing whole new lineups, filling gaps with intoxicating new product to the tune of 14 new models over three years for Azimut and 13 models over a year and half for Ferretti’s stable of brands. The appeal of these yachts may not be universal, but they have a lot to offer in way of features, onboard space, and thoughtful design. It’s an infusion of new blood in the marketplace.

The same thing is going on here in the States. Australia, too. The development teams are reviewing holes in their model lineups and making moves to retool the line and fill them. Even custom builders are creating new models on spec and are doing it serially, finding buyers that end up financing their gambles. If this is bankrolling newer, cooler, better boats than ever before, I want a piece of that action.

Here’s the result: You may not be in the market for a brand-new model-year 2017 Italian-built cruiser. But maybe someone your broker knows is. Let’s call him Hal. And Hal has been looking for something newer than what he has. As we know, the late-model year inventory—especially those with the best engine packages, upgraded electronics, and impeccable maintenance records—have begun to thin. And Hal doesn’t want to own two boats, so he’s going to sell one. Now you may not want Hal’s boat. But Jim might. And Jim owns that sweet little cruiser you’ve always liked that he keeps at your marina. So get after it. And don’t think global can’t work in your favor ever again.

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