Report: Superyacht sales sail ahead in 2015

Story highlights

  • Sales of boats 24m and above climb 40%
  • More than 450 mega-yachts sold last year
  • Russian billionaire spends $450m on yacht

(CNN)It's smooth sailing ahead for the mega-wealthy, as global sales of superyachts took off last year.

Sales of boats larger than 24 meters climbed 40% in 2015, according to The 2016 Wealth Report issued by London-based property agency Knight Frank. The increased follows a 35% rise in 2014 -- thanks in part to plummeting oil prices over the past two years.
With the increase in sales came a shift in lifestyle, according to the report. Sailing destinations broke off from the traditional watery playgrounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean to less familiar hideaways in Asia and the Antarctic.
    "In a world where many UHNWIs (ultra high-net-worth individuals) are cash rich yet time poor, yachting continues to provide the ultimate sanctuary for privacy and an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends," read the report, which cited underrepresentation of superyacht ownership in North America and Asia.
    More than 450 mega-yachts were sold in 2015, worth a combined value of over $3 billion, according to yacht brokers Camper & Nicholsons International.
    One quarter of the yacht sales fell into the elite category of those larger than 40 meters, with three quarters of sales in the 24 to 40-meter range. The number of yachts sold above 40 meters rose 7% last year, according to Camper & Nicholsons.
    Motor yachts outpaced sales of traditional sailboats, which saw numbers decline by 7.7% last year.
    The largest motor yacht sold in 2015 was the 134 meter Serene, and the largest sailing yacht sold was the 52 meter Red Dragon.
    Initial designs for the 143-meter behemoth called for three masts, each taller than the Statue of Liberty and as long as one-and-a-half American football fields.