Don't feel too bad about the economy, members of the creative underclass: the superrich are still doing okay. While ordinary people like you fret over your outstanding subprime loans and plug the leaks in your rickety little rowboat with used chewing gum, the superrich are doing well enough to ensure that the Superyacht (an actual term!) industry is growing strongly. There are nearly 20% more requests this year for yachts longer than 130 feet. How many feet does one need? But god bless our economic superiors for providing the liquidity to fuel this crazy global economy. And don't be jealous; there's a benefit here for commoners, too:
The report also puts into perspective the astounding growth rate over the past decade for jumbo yachts. In 1997, there were just 241 yachts of 80-feet or more under construction around the world. Last year, there were 916 such boats being built.
The average price for motoryachts longer than 100 feet was $10.3 million in 2007. The average price for sailing yachts of the same length was $9 million (although, to the dismay of traditionalists, sailing yachts now make up a tiny fraction of the large yacht market).
Ironically, the biggest constraint to the industry's growth isn't the economy - it's staffing. The report says that about 25,000 crewmembers are necessary for today's fleet of superyachts, but only about 15,000 currently work aboard yachts. Shortages of captains and engineers, it notes, are especially acute.
Get your ass to yacht school, stat.