As every year in ever form of publication, when the December draws to an end, it is time to lay back and reflect. Looking back onto what has been done, what has been achieve and what maybe not is a good way of locating oneself and re-direct one´s course. This goes for people as well as for projects. With NO FRILLS SAILING.com, I conclude the sixth year of consecutive publishing and what started as a nice spare time side-project have become a settled, fairly well frequented digital magazine. In this, let me start this review by saying Thank you for continuously browsing my site and reading my articles! This is something that really matters to me. Your click is my wage.
Statistically, 2022 was an underperformer: 121 articles had been published, which corresponds to one new article every three days. Pretty standard, compared to 2020 and 2021 with 120 and 123 articles. This is my plan: To make a click on my web-address attractive by assuring you, dearest readers, that you will find something new every third day. Visitor-wise this year is a bit less successful than the two previous years. 323.000 visits compared to 340.000 visits in ´20 and ´21. Since I do not pay for advertising and this website is total dependent on organic search (65% of my total traffic), roughly a third of a million clicks seems to be the maximum. I don´t know. Following the trends of the previous years, my American readers are the majority with 18.2 per cent, that´s one per cent more than last year. Followed by Germans with 11 per cent and my English readers in the UK with 10 per cent. Each one of you – thanks for your continuous interest in my product!
A tough year
With Corona luckily ending the world spiraled down into chaos. War going on in the Ukraine, active hot war propaganda, pipelines blown up, deranged people glueing themselves to roads. Our currencies inflating and a world economy going into recession: Not a nice year indeed. The boating industry, as every other branch too, tries to cope with it and we somehow do. But it´s a very fragile and tense situation and nobody knows what will come out of it.
We saw the comeback of the boat shows, which was a good thing! I really enjoyed La Grande Motte in April and especially Cannes Yachting Festival (LIN) in September. Although I have the feeling that there have been far less new stuff to talk about, I am still very positive. There may be less signatures under even less offers, but interest in boating and yachts is still very high. People, maybe now more than ever, yearn for distraction, people are longing for casting off all lines and sail out into an unburdened and untroubled time.
For me personally the last year was one of the toughest. I had to abandon my Atlantic Loop-project, which was a big time blow for me. I realized that GEKKO, albeit being a wonderful, powerful sailing machine, wouldn´t be the right boat to do it. What I didn´t talked about too much was the other reason: Leaving my job, my colleagues and my company for such a long period of time in such troubled times would not have been ethically right. How can I live a happy-go-lucky lifestyle whilst at home my crew is struggling? No way.
With all that, a significant drop in turnover and a, let´s say, fragile outlook onto the coming year, one must ask oneself if the base for all this is secured. How can I cast off and sail away if the basics aren´t secured? This is the real reason for postponing my Atlantic Loop-project. I am sure that 2023 will also be a tough and decisive year. Don´t get me wrong: I am convinced that people will go on buying boats and have a good time. But it´s harder to sell boats, some segments – mainly the mid-sized cruising yachts from 35 to 45 feet – have gone down whilst other segments – the small units and the big-ass luxury yachts – have increased sales numbers. It will be a year of decisions. A year of creativity and attention, of decisive action and intelligent course corrections. A year that needs a helmsman on duty all the time. That´s my call. And I´ll answer it.
What´s up for 2023?
Hard to say. At first I must say that I am very much looking forward to BOOT boat show in Duesseldorf which will take place in roughly 3 weeks. This used to be the world leading indoor boat show and after two cancelled editions due to the Covid 19-craze it is finally liberating to prepare for this 10 day venue. BOOT was always the best start into the new season for the (at least European) boating industry and all signs are on GO! This time.
I have already published an article which particular boats I look forward to seeing in detail in Duesseldorf. Other than that, shortly thereafter it´s La Grande Motte again for the multihulls and since I will hand over another Excess 11 catamaran next week in Les Sables, I have the feeling that cats will play a larger role in 2023: They are definitely a big trend here!
Also, for me privately, another decision is due to be made: A new boat. I know, I already published some articles about LIMÓN, my new boat, but I am not so sure anymore – as I already explained – if buying this yacht is the best decision. The yacht will be in the water around June or July coming year in the Med and my original plan was to sail her as a “boat office” through the Mediterranean. Work and travel, you could say. Just to re-start my Atlantic voyage project to the end of 2023. I am not so sure anymore. Because right now it seems that I won´t have the privilege to leave Germany for 3 to 4 months. As I said, a helmsman is needed doing his watch determined to steer.
We will see whether I sell “my” slot of the First 36 or keep it for myself. Other than that I think that 2023 will bring a further consolidation on the boating market: Prices soar (like everywhere) and especially the middle class will cancel their boat purchase or buy smaller units. Everyone focuses on the millionaires and the big units which will tighten competition even more. “May you live in interesting times”, as the Chinese saying goes: And we do! I see it as a challenge. I am not worried nor intimidated. We are prepared, we have a good team and I am sure we will master the white water passage ahead. For NO FRILLS SAILING.com you may expect – as ever – honest, ad-free and fair articles insights, stories and interviews.
Your most beloved articles in 2022
Not surprisingly, there is a Top 3 of your most beloved articles this year. I´ve cancelled out the articles written in the years before which still perform very well. Looking at the 2022-made content one boat sticks out quite obviously and this is before mentioned First 36. The most clicked articles are my first walkthrough in that boat and the POV-on board article.
I must say this does not surprise me. The guys at Seascape are overwhelmed themselves by all the things happening after the boat was finally presented: The sailing properties of the First 36 exceed all expectations. In this, sailing magazines are overturning each other with praise for the boat, and right so! In this, sales numbers are going out the roof, the boat sells much, much better than even the most optimistic outlooks had predicted. Look at my company: We have been among the first to secure a slot – and we got hull #031. I ordered one more during Cannes and got #057, set to be finished in March/April 2024 (!) and one day later I ordered another slot which turned out to be hull #073 for end of 2024. Can you imagine this? They do not even sell to charter fleets because a year´s production would be sold out in a matter of days. Incredible!
She is a wonderful yacht – as wonderful as your second most clicked article of 2022, which is about the asymmetric hulls by design bureau VPLP in the new Excess 14 sailing catamaran. As I said before, I have the feeling that (at least maybe for the European market) the interest in multihulls is rising and we have much more people wanting to go on two or more hulls. I am almost fully booked for appointments in Duesseldorf right now, more than half of these is with Excess catamarans. So here we are, number 2 article. Finally, the third placed goes to two articles.
First is the one that I wrote after my visit to “La Base” in Lorient, my second visit. I had the chance to walk back and forth between the new CHARAL Imoca 60 and the brand new SEA EXPLORER or MALIZIA 3 by our German sailing hero Boris Herrmann. This article stirred up some feedback and I indeed received some phone calls from befriended journalists who make their living out of writing (I, you know it, do it just for fun) and they seemed not to be amused that I publish such a detailed article free of charge. Well …
The other article on Top 3 is about a new boat launched by German yard Hanse. The new 460 is a groundbreaking boat for the brand in many ways. Hanse, in my eyes, has always been the toughest competitor for us as Beneteau dealers. These boats have good sailing properties but are price-wise better than us. Their lack of innovation (“old” hull design, single rudder, very conservative style) and Beneteau´s strive for avantgarde design, state of the art hulls and – for a production cruiser – excellent sailing capabilities was always a USP I could rely on. This has changed with the new Hanse 460 and latest with their brand new 510. French design, great interiors and an upgrade in finishing quality: Fasten your seatbelt! The new Hanse 510 will definitely one of the boats to look at in Duesseldorf for me too.
Happy new Year, Sailors!
Where ever our boat will steer, what ever will be taking place in the coming year – I wish you all a happy one! May you celebrate New Year´s Eve in style with your family, friends and loved ones. Have fun, forget about the hardship and the hurdles we will all have to overcome in 2023. Thanks again for your support and your interest in what I write – tell others about it. I thank you also for the comments and hints, for forgiving the (seldom) typos and sometimes incorrect researched facts. Your feedback is very much appreciated!
Looking forward to a nevertheless great sailing years 2023: Atlantic Ocean is calling, also another edition of VIP-sailing in the Mediterranean and for sure some more sailing action in the Baltic Sea as the owner of the great Omega 42 promised to hand over the boat to me for a prolonged weekend. If I buy a new boat or not – you can be sure that in 2023 as well more than 120 fresh new articles will hopefully bring you relaxed, enjoyable and interesting reading time. Happy new year, Sailors!
As well interesting to read:
Boats to look forward to for BOOT Duesseldorf