The global superyacht market is riding high on sales and charter success this year. Leading from the front is the United States, which accounted for 47% of the total number of yachts sold in Q1 2021, and now, IYC is further strengthening its reach by opening a new California office enabling the company to seamlessly operate out of both US coasts.
IYC is an international company with 13 offices throughout the globe in strategic yachting hubs. It maintains the largest charter fleet around the world and remains the only charter company in the industry to list more than 100 yachts. With clients on both US coasts who often have houses in Southern California and/or New York, opening a California office will complement IYC’s Newport and Nantucket offerings, and is the logical next step for the company, says IYC's Matthew Stone who will be leading the office.
“The Californian market is consistently ranked #2 in North American sales, followed by Newport. Both are small numbers compared to Florida, but with the population of ultra-high net worth individuals that reside there opening a California office has been on our radar for a while.”
“Demand in California is at an all-time high,” he adds. “A lot of new buyers are entering the market and it's across the board in all categories, from larger center consoles, to motor yachts 80 feet and above, and in the superyacht category, too.”
Overseen by Stone, the new California office will build upon the existing IYC infrastructure and offer its full range of services to create a full-scale sales operation. “A California office provides a holistic experience that well-rounds us here in North America,” says Stone. “Opportunities in this region that have been on the horizon for some time are now presenting themselves, and IYC’s agility throughout the pandemic has allowed us to capitalize on this.”
Equipped with a large database of existing clients in California, IYC has seen new construction opportunities open up and recently signed a new central agency agreement on a vessel that homeports in the area. Having boots on the ground on both the east and west coasts provides all-inclusive support for clients and the holistic experience that IYC as a brand has become known for.
“It’s by putting our clients’ needs first that has enabled us to develop a full-service company,” says Stone. “We're consistently ranked within the top three companies for yacht sales. We have the largest charter management platform in the industry. We have a retail charter team, a yacht insurance division, so having that all under one roof provides a level of comfort and accountability.”
Add to that IYC’s partnership with Magellan jets, and the ability to arrange a seamless experience from one point of contact to another is fully achievable. “We have a team, the support and the relationships to facilitate a deal anywhere in the world,” says Stone. “An office in California extends our North American presence and paves the way for future expansion, because we're able to control the client’s experience from start to finish and do so in a safe manner.”
Having strategic hubs in California and South Florida creates a seamless service for IYC clients, but having informed personnel does, too. “I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, going to The Bahamas on weekends for fishing and diving, but I also spent a lot of time sailing in California,” explains Stone, who started out as a deck hand and worked his way up to captain, obtaining his license at the age of 21. An established career in sales and brokerage followed, including earning “Broker of the Year” in 2018 and 2019.
“I’m born and bred in the industry. My stepdad was a captain. My father was an avid boater, and I am fortunate to be blessed with that in my lineage,” he says. “Being able to put our clients first from a place of experience and knowledge is central to IYC’s brand.”
Stone, who has been licensed in California for the past three years and has established clients in the area, says the biggest problem at present is inventory.
“We're seeing a huge influx in demand, which means superyachts are only on the market for around six days before they have an offer and multiple backup offers. A boat of that size in normal terms could be on the market for a year to two and sometimes even longer, so clients are having to act quick,” he explains. “Buying a yacht is often an impulsive decision, backed by a lot of emotion. When a customer decides they want to see a boat, they often only call a couple of days in advance and you need to be able to provide the resources when and where they want it. At IYC, we've had a number of transactions close this year that were sight unseen and having teams in various parts of the world who can support the client wherever they are is what has got those deals over the finish line.”
In terms of a location, the cruising opportunities that California offers clients is also incredibly alluring. San Diego to Los Angeles has the largest infrastructure for accommodating yachts, but California’s proximity to Catalina Island, Mexico and beyond is where Stone sees the value potential. “California is the gateway to the Pacific. That’s coinciding with clients’ changing desires to get a little more off the beaten path, such as Alaska in the summertime, and Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. All of these places are increasingly appealing to our clients who have an expedition mindset.”
The entire explorer yacht category is up in sales, too. Stone, who specializes in new construction, notes that production manufacturers are also investing in the market. San Lorenzo (which recorded the highest number of yachts sold by shipyards in Q1) is building an expedition line, while Numarine and Bering are building semi-production expedition boats.
“I have a couple of clients in the expedition category, one of which is building a 55-foot game boat that will eventually become the chase boat for his larger expedition yacht,” says Stone. “I believe the industry is going to continue to have a large focus on this area. Sprinkles of opportunities began presenting themselves while we were vetting the process for opening an office in California, and we look forward to announcing some of those hopefully in the very near future.”
Reach out to the new IYC California Offices for more information.
1722 Hermosa Ave
Hermosa Beach, California 90254
Email: [email protected]