How do you judge the success of an ocean cruising yacht? You can tell a lot from where you see them and where you don’t. It’s also instructive to look at the builder’s order book. If you buy one now, how long will you have to wait for delivery? Another indicator is how well (or poorly) they hold their value on the secondhand market. By any of these measures, Neel Trimarans is absolutely nailing it.
You’ll often see Neel tris anchored in remote parts of the Hebrides and far-flung atolls of the South Pacific but they’re rarely seen in crowded, mainstream cruising destinations like the Ionian, the Virgin Islands or the Solent. Depending on which model of Neel tri you want, you’ll probably have to wait at least eight months and possibly up to two years. And a survey of brokerage websites suggests that there isn’t a great deal of difference between the asking price of a two-year-old Neel and the cost of a new one.
Despite the disruptions of the Covid pandemic, the La Rochellebased shipyard is still steadily growing. ‘We built about 30 boats last year,’ says Neel founder Eric Bruneel, ‘and this year we expect to build 45 to 50.’ The latest, smallest model, the Neel 43, is coming off the production line at a rate of one boat every two weeks and demand is still outstripping supply. Read on.