The 2016 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, overtaking the popular Florida beach community from Nov. 3-7, 2016, is now history, and by the looks of things, it all went very well. Celebrating its 57th year, the show continued to improve almost universally across the board.
Topping 1500 this year, the number of boats on display edged up 4 percent over 2015. Exhibit space expanded to 3 million square feet, the most ever offered, with a value of boats and products on display at over $4 billion. There were 8 yachts in the water that exceeded 200 feet in length.
Crowds flocked to the show’s 7 venues from 30 countries, in numbers calculated at over 100,000 strong. The show is estimated to have contributed in excess of $800 million to the Ft. Lauderdale area economy, including the attraction of over 1,000 landings at nearby FBOs. Additionally, many yacht builder’s press conferences had very good numbers to report, especially with regard to the American customer.
International Superyacht Society Awards
On the eve of the opening day of the show, the ISS dubbed Triton Submarines the winner for Excellence in Innovation at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Awards were announced Thursday evening in the Amaturo Theatre, with a stylish after party and buffet dinner overlooking the New River.
Baltic Yachts Nikata and Vitters Unfurled respectively won awards for best sailboat between 24-40 meters and best sailboat over 40 meters. Benetti’s Ironman took the best power yacht 24-40meters, CRN’s Atlante took the best in the 40-60 meter category, and Feadship’s Savannah the same for the over 65 meter category. The black tie gala was well attended by industry and corporate guests as well as local supporters.
Preview Day’s Successes
Starting the day strong, The Ferretti Group presented news about a number of divisions, including the Florida 88, the Pershing 5x, and the Custom Line Navetta 28, filling a stylish room on the superyacht dock next to the Ferretti booth with industry friends and journalists. Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi led the discussion announcing positive numbers for sales over the previous year. The event celebrated with Champagne and an elegant table of chic small bites.
Sunseeker held a press call on Thursday as well, announcing a return to profitability in addition to debuts of the Predator 68 MK II, the new 131, and the Manhattan 52. Plans for January’s London Boat Show indicated unveiling of the new Manhattan 66.
The New Yachts Company announced a new partnership between Prime Megayacht, recently launched at the Monaco Yacht Show in September, and the Burger Boat Company of the US., offering owners the option to build in the Bloemsma, The Netherlands yard or in the US with Burger. The New Yachts Company founder, Barin Cardenas, made the announcement at the show in Ft. Lauderdale, joined by members of the team from Prime, Whitten Hall of The New Yachts Company, and Daan Balk of Bloemsma.
Later that evening, the Superyacht Life area of the show welcomed guests for canapes and cocktails, with live music and plenty of superyacht conversation. At the Superyacht Pavilion, delicious bites from Ft. Lauderdale’s most accomplished chefs were on parade as ravenous guests devoured several styles of crab cakes, creative ramen dishes, a range of wraps and entrees, and elegant sweets.
The Main Event: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Crowds collected early, remaining throughout the days, to view specific yachts, visit with friends, see what’s new, or simply wander through the exhibits for a pleasant outing. Water taxis shuttled guests between the seven venues with remarkable efficiency, while VIP guests enjoyed a refreshing respite, premium cocktails, and chic noshes throughout the day at The Windward Club, in addition to special shuttle privileges.
Guests were able to access show information on the new Show Management app, complete with maps, events, and special notifications. The show offered several improved dining options, from a fresh salads and sandwiches at The Marketplace, to high top cocktails and light dining at Las Palmas in the Superyacht Pavilion. Trendsetting food trucks were also strategically stationed, allowing guests to dive into some creative contemporary cuisine.
Not Just Yachts
The reason for the show revolves around the boats themselves, but the wealth of products is truly remarkable, introducing some innovative and desirable products that could find the perfect spot at a vacation home or a main home bath or kitchen. For instance, one could view a three-person submarine, a helicopter, any of several luxury sports cars, an abundance of water sports and water play equipment, magnificent shower designs, and space saving kitchen and laundry equipment. Sound and entertainment systems, new materials and textiles, and everything from art to zippers is also on display at the show.
Stars of the Show: Galactica Super Nova and Savannah
The Best of Yachting was privileged to board several stunning yachts over the course of the show, touring this year’s award winner of several notable statuettes, Galactica Super Nova, with her remarkable 6-meter infinity pool, waterfall, and 30-knot capability.
Additionally, the Best of Yachting team refreshed the memory of last year’s tour of Savannah, enjoying views of the pool and the sea from the Nemo Room, and touring the yacht’s interiors after an interview with exterior and interior designer Cristina Gherardi Benardini of CG Design. Cristina’s incredible focus on a continuously flowing design illustrated once again why Savannah earned the title of Motor Yacht of the Year for 2016 at the World Superyacht Awards. Look for an upcoming feature detailing the very interesting conversation with Cristina.
The Best of Yachting was also privileged to speak with naval architect Gregory C. Marshall, and his next in command, Gord Galbraith, gaining insights about how to approach innovative yacht designs like the revolutionary exploration yacht Big Fish, and boats ranging in size from 25 feet to 225 feet. The Best of Yachting will be featuring the conversation in an upcoming post, so watch for that entertaining interview.
The Best of Yachting was also welcomed by Moran Yacht & Ship, touring both Moonraker and Madsummer, two very different designs with different approaches to luxury. Moonraker’s high ceilings and clean, contemporary design appeal to those with more modern tastes, while Madsummer’s extraordinary traditional interpretation would be at home in the most luxurious and elegant stately homes. Both were impeccably designed and detailed.
Good Show from All Aspects
The overall impression was positive, with interest and sales running higher than anticipated, and heavy crowds both Saturday and Sunday. Guests continued to be amazed by what the suppliers, designers, and craftsmen are able to present. Yacht and boat builders continued to find strong support with serious interest in their products.
Actual numbers are yet to be calculated by Show Management, scheduled to run the event through 2046 according to the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. When released, The Best of Yachting will publish an addendum to this article, so check back for additional information.