As the summer yachting season in the Mediterranean cools down, Cannes is heating up to host the 2016 Cannes Yachting Festival from Sept. 6-11, welcoming 600 boats, 50,000 people, and a cache of new features. The 39th edition of Europe’s biggest in-water show has scheduled 87 worldwide boat premieres and 156 new boats, boasting the highest number of new launches in any show.

New This Year

The array at the newly installed La Terasse will feature exceptional brands of automobiles, watches, jewelry, leather goods, art, wines, and spirits to complement the luxury lifestyle. Placed on its own pier lined with extraordinary products, La Terasse has a 180° view embracing the Bay of Cannes, the Croisette, and the most lavish VIeux Port yachts, delivering a posh respite.

Also new this year, the catamaran area features 40 boats, both power and sail. Manufacturers like Fontaine Pajot, Leopard, Lagoon, Sun Reef, and Nautitech will display their latest models. The new RIB tender area focuses on the latest in ship to shore RIB transport, collecting the best of the tenders in one spot. Similarly, the new Max La Beauf Marina will put boats up to 12 meters on dry land, with a raised catwalk to provide a bird’s eye view of the newest models.

The Venue

Divided into Le Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto, the two in-water marina areas are connected by the lovely beachside walk along the Croisette. The Superyacht Extension at Vieux Port will show the newest and most majestic yachts, while the Pierre Canto Brokerage and Charter area will celebrate ten years in their own setting. A seven-minute boat ride between the marinas, there are also VIP and public shuttles connecting the two areas, providing a nice rest and pretty view along the way.

Concours d’Elegance

This parade of boats lines up collectors and owners in pre-1980 and post-1980 categories to compete for Concours honors on Thurs., Sept. 8, at 5 pm. Assessed by a jury of experts chaired by Annette Roux, the boats are judged on the quality and design of restoration and preservation, history, rarity, the elegance of the crew, and what often makes the difference, their degree of showmanship. VIP tickets along the festival beach near the VIP pontoon in Vieux Port offer the best view.

The Riviera Card

This exclusive option gives cardholders access to a superior level of service with added perks. A guided tour of the festival on board the organizer’s tender, lunch at the panoramic restaurant on the Roof of the Palais des Festivals, the VIP club, a flute of Roederer Champagne, or, if you prefer, a glass of rose from Domaines Ott, and a helicopter overview. Cardholders will also have priority access to courtesy vehicles from official supplier and festival sponsor, Porsche, at their disposal. Valid for two people, the card also permits holders to make table reservations for the yacht parade.

The Best of the Yachts

With 497 exhibitors and 134 yachts over 20 meters, there are sumptuous choices in every berth. Suggestions for what not to miss include the Sarp 46 from Sarp Yachts featuring Osman Tanju Kalaycioglu naval architecture and Adam Lay interiors; the 46 Fast from Baglietto sporting Paszkowski design; a 49.9 meter Overmarine represented by Burgess Yachts; the ultramodern FX 38 from FX Yachts displaying Scaro Design naval architecture and interiors; the Benetti Vivace 125 Ironman combination of Benetti and Righini naval architecture and Redman Whiteley Dixon interiors; the spectacular CCN 102 Flyingsport Muse; the MCY 105 featuring Monte Carlo Yachts naval architecture and Nuvolari Lenard interiors; and the classic DL 34m beauty pairing Guiseppe Arrabito naval architecture with Enrico Gobbi interiors.

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One of the most intriguing features at the Cannes show is the ability to take yachts out for sea trials. About 80 percent of the boats at the show allow scheduling time on board yachts of interest to log an on-water experience prior to purchase. With a good mix of extraordinary yachts, nearly half the audience coming from abroad, 300,000 square meters of exhibit space, and two marinas, this stellar event launches the yacht show season in grand style.