Axopar 37 in Formentor. |


There’s barely an industry on this planet that hasn’t been bruised and battered by this pandemic, but how has Mallorca’s yachting community fared? With a few adjustments and plenty of spirit, none too badly it seems…

Tim Carbury, Sales Broker from Fraser Yachts, says: “2020 - wow, what a year! I started full of optimism and excitement for what was looking like a hectic spring season, with clients, boat shows, regattas and social events. However, the announcement of a full lockdown and heavy restrictions on international travel soon put the brakes on all that. Despite this, and once the dust settled, it turned into a very active period, with both buyers and sellers evaluating their situations and finding time to rethink what is really important in life. I am extremely happy to say that, from a sales point of view, this manifested into being one of the best years that I have had as a sales broker to date. Bring on 2021 when we can all sail and party together again.”

Bray Marine International’s new office is in Sandbanks

Stuart Bray, Founder of Bray Marine International, has ridden the same rollercoaster: “2020, a year to remember, forget or diversify? For us, it went from booking flights and hotels to attend the Dubai Boat Show in March, to being a ‘no show’ at every boat show in 2020. Clients could not come and use their boats with ease, and there was much debate over safety issues, quarantine rules and so on, so it was time for a rethink. With 85% of my client base being in the UK, many of them on the south coast, after 14 years working from one location in Palma, the decision was made to open up a UK office and work from two. On 1 November, we opened a new waterfront office in Sandbanks, Poole. Using my trusted network of brokers, and giving clients the option of visiting the new UK office before they get on a plane to view, has proved a good move. With the hope the new vaccine can bring, I’m sure 2021 will be a better and busier year for us all. One downside, I’ve lost my tan and now wear socks with my deck shoes…”

Consultant Jonathan Syrett

Consultant Jonathan Syrett from Hamilton Marine had this to say: “Buyers not able to travel, others changing their plans, and even some being very slow in paying their bills, have become the norm of the COVID-19 era. Nevertheless, clients are liking what I can do for them, and I have achieved a far more gratifying work/personal life balance working from my office at home. Numbers of yacht sales are close to recent years’, but I am looking forward to getting back to the ‘new’ normal.”

Sabine Rooker from Scanner RIBs said: “2020 has been a strange year for everybody. Fortunately, we were able to continue working during the long lockdown period and are very lucky that most of our clients could come again to our beautiful island from the end of June to the end of August to use their boats. Some even upgraded to our latest models. It was a short and intense summer, but very successful with good sales. Seems people were happy to spend their money and enjoy life even more after a very restricted spring.”

60m Perini Navi PERSEUS^3 sold by Tim Carbury in November

Teddy Torkington from Multimar Alcudia agrees the summer was short, but sweet: “During lockdown in May, the team were fortunate enough to carry on working and very few ERTEs were issued throughout the entire summer – not too bad considering we have around 20 employees. The season did not start, of course, until the end of June, but many agreed that out on the water was one of the safest and most peaceful spots to be, far from the COVID scenario. Demand for boat charter was high, a blessing during such a difficult year. As for the sales department, maybe not quite as good as 2019 but, to be fair, better than we were expecting. New Axopars have been ordered for 2020-21 and the pre-owned market never really came to a standstill. There were plenty of carpe diem moments, making an awkward journey through the obstacles of 2020 slightly more palatable.”

Trevor Marshall from Boat Care Mallorca looks at it from a different angle: “A very strange year but, despite the fact a lot of overseas owners did not visit their boats, many used the opportunity to undertake large projects instead, such as engine removal and overhaul or teak renewal. Plenty opted to go to dry winter storage to avoid mooring costs - up to 70% cheaper. There was also an increase in enquiries from owners who were concerned about their boat maintenance. These people would not usually have someone look after their boat as they would normally visit regularly. On the upside, most who made a decision to sell their boat expressed that they would be looking to buy again once the COVID situation settles down. And the reduction in flights and boating activity has probably helped the environment and given the island a breather - especially during the high season.”

Erica Lay from EL Crew Co has taken time to work on herself: “During lockdown, yacht recruitment was obviously quieter than usual, so I took that time to work on a number of personal projects. It was nice to finally have the opportunity to continue my own professional development and complete a number of courses to make me better at my job, and enable me to assist both clients and crew in more ways than I currently do. I also used my social media platforms to keep crew and captains informed of official local updates on restrictions and latest news – with all the misinformation flying around, this was something I received a lot of positive feedback for. During all this, I still had a number of jobs popping up so, all in all, it’s been a slow and steady year and, thankfully, figures aren’t much different from normal years… for which I am eternally grateful.”

A Scanner RIB being lifted out in Puerto Portals.

Simon Relph, Editor of The Islander, has had highs and lows: “2020 has thrown up some big challenges for our business, including not being able to print two issues in spring due to us not being able to distribute the printed magazines. Many of our usual outlets closed, and others were not allowed to display any printed matter. We lost many advertisers whom we rely on for our income, especially those connected to charter and travel, who have had no season to speak of. Thankfully, we have been very well supported by many of the businesses involved in repair and refit, and this has enabled us to keep going and produce an average of 160 pages per month. Roll on 2021!”

And finally, from one of Mallorca’s most popular marinas: “Port Adriano has been working from the beginning of the pandemic to ensure that all safety measures were taken for our clients and staff. In fact, Port Adriano was the first in the Balearics to receive the ‘Safe Tourism Certification’. Once it was possible, we revived our events calendar. Thousands of people came to see the Project Zero exhibition, brought to Mallorca from London’s Carnaby Street, with the AfterSun Market and concerts being our main events. With hard work, open minds and team work, we were able to bring joy in uncertain times - always putting safety first.”