As the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show draws to a close, organisers have begun questioning the event’s relevance in the super-yacht sector and are analysing industry efforts to attract a younger and broader demographic of buyers as existing boat owners are accusing of greying the industry.
The Fort Lauderdale event is unlike other super yacht events in that it offers a wide range of vessels and accessories for beginners up to accomplished yachtsmen.
Speaking to an invited audience at a seminar hosted by Burgess aboard aboard the American built 86 Metre Cakewalk, Efrem Zimbalist, the CEO of Show Management, the event’s organising company, said “The challenge is to make the show really great for each of the types of boats there are.”
One example of how the organisers have worked to make sure the show remains relevant to boating enthusiasts is to create areas with unique personalities within the show.
SYBAss the super yacht builders association has taken that offer up and created the Superyacht Experience which is to all intents and purpoesses is a show within a show
For Jonathan Beckett, CEO of large yacht broker Burgess, the super-yacht area works well for companies like his whose clients often have only a few hours to spend at the show and want to maximize their time. He said “It’s a very, very big show, but it’s a good show if you want to come look at super-yachts and look at tenders as well, so having the boats and booths close together helps.”
The show has other key priorities on its agenda include how it can market itself and the whole industry to a more global audience.
According to a survey by Active Interest Media Marine Group, the answer lays with younger affluent American boaters, mostly single and without kids who they have dubbed social animals. It is they we were told at a pre show briefing who are to become the evangelists for the marine industry, influencing their friends to go boating and give the leisure activity a try.
But boat shows are only any good if they sell boats. Noting that the Monaco Yacht Show in September was a good event for Burgess Jonathan Beckett said of Fort Lauderdale, “We’re looking for the needle in a haystack. We need one man on one day on one yacht. Of the eight offers we had on different yachts at the Monaco show three of have gone to contract, we will have to wait and see what this show brings us by way of a return on our heavy investment.”
Lon McCloskey, president of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, said, “The measure of success mostly lies in the number of qualified leads a broker ends up with at the shows end. If you can come back with a new serious enquiries you can work that’s a marked success, even though it might takesix months to see them complete “
Cakewalk was not the only US built super yacht on display
The Trinity Finish Line a custom 36.7 metre yacht from Trinity Yachts is the realisation of her American owner, a serial owner of yachts from this yard.
He hopes that the design and performance of this yacht will serve as inspiration to other American yachtsmen to build in the United States.
Capable of speeds in excess of 23 knots with a range over 3,600 nautical miles, her normal cruising grounds will be the East Coast of the United States as well as the Bahamas, the yacht’s draft has been specifically designed to be 5’6” (1.7m) in half-load condition. The shallow draught enables her to access specific ports like Daytona Beach, Florida.
Hatteras Yachts used the show to introduce their new 100 Raised Pilothouse super yacht. With a massive flybridge, an overall length of 31.09 metre, and a beam of 6.86 metres, her entertainment spaces and interior volume are comparable with a yacht of much larger in size.