Another busy charter season over, now the boat yards are filling up fast

The superyacht Lady Moura is back in Palma's Club de Mar for the winter and a series of other yachts have also returned as the charter season comes to an end in the Balearics. But the end of the season does not mean a rest for the local nautical industry, yachts of all sizes are now queuing up to get out of the water and on to the hard for a winter refit and repair. Many will be hoping to have all the work done as quickly as possible so they can head to the Caribbean or the Pacific for the winter season. Despite all the doom and gloom in the Balearics this summer, the yacht charter industry has had few complaints - the only complaint being the standard one about the Balearic government's refusal to help the highly lucrative industry grow to meet demand in the Balearics. With superyachts getting bigger and bigger, the Balearic nautical industry is well aware of the need for more large moorings. The Monaco International boat show, which caters for the top end of the industry, is looming and many of the participants will be unable to miss seeing the huge floating dock off the coast. Ironically the dock was built in Spain and was then towed to Monaco which has realised the need to provide the yachting industry with more facilities and space to meet demand and also fight off groping competition from other Mediterranean regions keen to cash in on the business. Only last month the Balearic government was forced to recognise that the yachting sector injects a huge amount of money into the local economy, employs thousands of local people and also attracts “quality tourists,” the ones the Balearic government likes -- the big spenders. A report by the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations provided undeniable evidence of just how important the industry is to the Balearics and the massive potential it poses, but only if the local government changes its attitude to the industry. The government has agreed to review the situation and allow some marina expansion projects to go ahead, along with a complete overhaul of all marinas in order to improve facilities and services. Some of the chandlers have spoken of a slight dip in business this season, but industry experts claim that has been caused by tougher competition and more chandlers in the market. The charter companies have been working flat out as usual and some of the yacht brokers, especially in the north east of the island, have reported record sales. The first indication to how next summer will perform comes next month at the Southampton Boat Show. In the meantime, a second shipment of yachts is soon to set sail for the United States and the Caribbean with a third, leaving in the middle of next month, heading for the America's Cup in New Zealand. A number of yachts will be heading Down Under from Palma with a few others being picked up on the way in Fort Lauderdale.

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