An Exclusive Look At The Monaco Yacht Show, The World’s Most Prestigious Superyacht Event

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Port Hercules at night during the show
Port Hercules at night during the show

On September 26-29, 30,400 people descended on Port Hercules for the 28th-annual Monaco Yacht Show. This year’s show attracted 580 leading companies in the yachting industry, plus countless buyers, sellers, yacht owners, brokers, builders, designers, charterers, service providers, and exhibitors from around the world. Over 120 extraordinary superyachts were on display—including around 40 new launches making their world debuts.

A matching Lamborghini tender and car for sale
A matching Lamborghini tender and car for sale

It’s hard to imagine how the show can improve year after year, but this September’s event was better than ever. It was an outstanding success both in terms of the yachts on display and the number of exhibits. Nearly all of Port Hercules was used for the show, and a wide range of items was on presented. Deck furniture, the most sought-after tenders, water toys, prestigious cars, helicopter and private jet manufacturers, designer galleries, superyacht lifestyle products, and hundreds of magazines—anything and everything related to the boat life were on view. A much larger Parvis Piscine Tent and enormous media and business center were also set up and overflowing with products, exhibits, and people.

Olivia Hsu Decker, Merle Wood, Elizabeth Brehany
Olivia Hsu Decker, Merle Wood, Elizabeth Brehany

The division of the layout into thematic zones made for more fluid movements around the quays and tents, allowing visitors to concentrate on their sectors of interest. The bigger tent and open layout meant that the exhibits were easier to walk through—an improvement on last year’s over-crowded displays. The slight drop in overall attendance confirms the better visitor distribution with lower densities around the port—it was down 2% from 2017. This is a logical trend and the result of actions taken by the organizers to encourage private visitors.

The Lürssen party at the Monaco Yacht Club
The Lürssen party at the Monaco Yacht Club

Private parties are a big part of marketing and networking at the show. There were over 130 parties hosted by various yacht owners, brokers, builders, and service providers. I attended Y.CO Monaco’s party on Illusion Plus, a Chinese-built 88.5-meter new yacht that launched in 2018 and is for sale at $145,000,000. However, the most fabulous party was the Lürseen celebration which commemorated the end of summer at the Monaco Yacht Club.

A yacht in harbor during the event
A yacht in the harbor during the event

Two of the largest yachts that launched at the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show were in the area, but not on display this year: Oceanco’s 110-meter Jubilee which is for sale at €275,000,000 and Lürssen’s 85.3-meter Areti which is for sale at €175,000,000.

Port Hercules
Port Hercules

My favorite boat deal of the 2018 show was the 70.2-meter Lürssen-built Saint Nicolas. Crafted in 2007, the six-stateroom yacht was newly refit in 2016 and 2017. Saint Nicolas has never been chartered, and the ship is in immaculate condition. With Lürssen’s pedigree, Saint Nicolas seems like a great deal at €46.7 million. I asked Peter Lürssen about it, and he said if it can be bought for €40 million, I should grab it! It’s co-brokered by Fraser Yachts of Monaco and Merle Wood & Associates of Fort Lauderdale.

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