Best in Show: Cannes International Boat & Yacht Show, Monaco Yacht Show, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show


It can be argued that Labor Day is a more apt start date for the new year than the increasingly arbitrary January 1. Certainly this is true for the yachting industry. The summer yachting season focuses on vacation and sport; whether one opts for a gently itineraried, month-long sail in the Mediterranean or prefers to attend (or compete in) the regattas at Newport and Sydney, many yacht owners and professionals take a proper vacation from the business-side of things throughout July and August.

When summer ends, though, the yachting world hastens back to business, revitalized and ready for action. As soon as temperatures dip, Cannes undergoes a quick transformation, trading beachgoers for the boating professionals that arrive each September and mark the start of the new season. Mere weeks later, the yachting world’s attention shifts to Monaco. A jaunt across the Atlantic follows in October, as the industry’s elite converge on the shores of South Florida. The shows unite various strata of the yachting industry; new models are unveiled, major deals are struck, and notes are compared. Combining exhibits, parties, and a bustling marketplace, the yacht shows act as an in-depth primer for novices and deliver news and views of the year’s most significant innovations to more seasoned yachters.

 “The boats at Cannes are not necessarily the largest, but it is the best place to see new innovations in technology and design.”

Cannes International Boat & Yacht Show

Cannes, the first stop on the international yacht show circuit (and one of the oldest, in its 31st incarnation this year), took place from September 10 to 15. Compared to other major yacht shows, Cannes draws the largest number of builders and manufacturers, which means patrons are provided with unmatched views of the latest models from top brands assembled along the famed Croisette. The mix of attendees includes serious buyers alongside many boat fans whose primary purpose is to enjoy the displays of some spectacular yachts.

“The boats at Cannes are not necessarily the largest, but it is the best place to see new innovations in technology and design,” explains Diego Marroquin, vice president of luxury yacht brokerage Edmiston. He cites commissioned boats as a major factor in promoting ingenuities that often go beyond the boating world. “Because budgets are big, builders are able to expand the boundaries and sometimes end up creating entirely new materials or technologies that then go on to be used for things besides boats.” Notable unveilings this year included Mamma Mia, a Benetti Classic 120, listed by Edmiston 12.9 million euros. With five cabins and room for 12 guests and eight crew, the 2007 Mamma Mia provides an unmatched opportunity to own a new Benetti without the typical wait.

Monaco Yacht Show

Monaco is the most exclusive of all the yacht shows. The 200-euro entrance fee goes a long way toward deterring less committed boaters, and the illustrious partners, such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Mercecdes-Benz, help elevate the show to its elite status. This year, between September 24 and 27, potential buyers flew in from all over the world to view the rarified offerings and meet with brokers. Marroquin confirmed that typical buyers in Monaco are prepared to spend more than those at Cannes. Interestingly, he also noted that the average buyer is younger now than in years past.

At the 2008 show, the whimsically named 146.9-foot motoryacht Candyscape, from the interior design team at Candy & Candy, caught the attention of the tony crowd. The ship features a number of decadent touches that jibe perfectly with the unusual handle, such as platinum and gold leaf ceilings, silk patterned walls, and embossed animal skins.

Sharing the bright Monaco spotlight was the $45 million Lady Christine. With a 182.5-foot length and sleeping accommodations for 10, the layout is less about maximizing space than it is about enjoying the luxury of space. On the upper deck, the exterior lounge boasts 180-degree views, which can also be seen from the deck-spanning master bedroom, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, a library, gym, and helipad ensure that stargazing is just one of a number of ways to spend one’s time onboard.

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

In its 49th year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show represents a once-a-year standing appointment for just about everyone involved in boating, at every level of the industry. From October 30 to November 4, attendees will come from all over the world to view the impressive collection. It is the world’s largest event of its kind, with some $3 billion worth of ships and related products covering an expanse of 3 million square feet.

Even in the sea of megayachts that Fort Lauderdale’s event will showcase, the 173.9-foot Sea Bowld will be a standout. The immediate availability of boats of this size is a rarity, and Sea Bowld is a particularly capable craft. With a cruising speed of 26 knots and room for 10, it is an ideal ship for long distance travel. Also drawing stares will be the massive Feadship Enterprise V. With clean lines, interiors flooded with natural light, and a comfortable layout suitable for 12 passengers, this boat is simultaneously state of the art and classic.

Abu Dhabi Yacht Show

With the concentration of capital and growth in the Middle East, it is unsurprising that Abu Dhabi will become the setting of a major yacht show in 2009. With very vocal support from the world’s most reputable builders and brokers, Abu Dhabi is poised to be a major player on the circuit. Confirmed exhibitors for the show, which will be from March 12 to 14, include two of the industry’s biggest names: the Rodriguez Group and Island Global Yachting. Considering the spending power in the Emirates and Persian Gulf region, sales and charter brokers are anticipating a busy four days. The first day of the show is reserved for royalty, and the following three days will be by invitation only, with right of entrée extended only to certain individuals from the Gulf regions.

For more information on any of the ships featured, contact Diego Marroquin at Edmiston & Company: