While the traditional prime sailing regions of the US and Europe languish in the mire of struggling economies and sales of high-end yachts have dropped by 70%, new markets are forging upward. Brazil is one of the most significant.
Brazil sailing - an alluring coastline
Annual yacht sales in the South American country have grown by an amazing 30% every year since 2008, according to analysts at business and finance media outlet Forbes.
Brazil has always been known to have an elite class of super-rich, but an oil boom and high commodity prices have delivered to Brazil a growing middle class who begin to aspire to such pastimes as sailing and the acquisition of their own yacht
And boom times are nor forecast to slow down any time soon. The population is forecast to triple by 2020, and their exports continue to climb, say the analysts.
The country has had a varied past, with times of plenty alternating with times of deep need, and there has always been a deep divide between the super-wealthy and those in abject poverty. However, since the end of the last century, a return to democracy and the country's mineral riches ha vehelped to spread the wealth, resulting in the expanding of the middle classes.
All of this is reflected in the growth of yacht sales and a boom in the number of Brazilians who are leisure sailors.
The Italian boat maker Ferretti says their sales in Brazil represented less than 5 percent of global revenue in 2007, but has grown to an expected extraordinary 40% this year.
A new Ferretti shipyard on the outskirts of Sao Paulo is expected to produce 120 yachts per year once it reaches capacity. Ferretti is not the only company looking to Brazil to expand. Other foreign manufacturers are either involved in Brazil already or looking seriously at what they might be missing out if they don't become so.
Marinas are starting to dot the coastline, and executives are more and more choosing to spend their off-time sailing.
According to Forbes, the number of millionaire households in the nation of 190 million will have increased 230 percent to more than 1 million by 2020. China's figure will rise 91 percent to 2.5 million, Russia's by 221 percent to 1.2 million, and India's by 143 percent to 694,600.
In addition, Giovanni Luigi, CEO of Brazil's largest boat vendor, YachtBrasil, points out that the freshwater boating market is virtually untapped. He says his company projects sales growth of 28 percent this year after racking up $840 million in sales over the past four years.
Good times ahead for Brazil and its (wealthy) sailors.