Iremember my first boat show like it was this morning. I was 12 or 13. It was inside a convention hall and I worked it hard, boarding every boat I could and collecting every brochure I could get my hands on. I took my bags home and spilled them out on the floor as if it were Halloween, sorting the jon boats, cruisers, houseboats and accessories into piles. When I was 20, I went to my first saltwater boat show in Newport and did the same thing. My focus had shifted to sailing, and I grabbed a giveaway Harken dinghy block that lived on my keychain for at least a dozen years, an ever-present reminder of the sport I love. I’ve been to at least a hundred boat shows in my life and nothing has changed, except that I get paid to go to them now.
Your autumn schedule may be packed with other things. Maybe your thoughts are shifting from the seas to the slopes; maybe you’re closing down your summer houses and teeing up a winter charter in the islands. If you’re in South Florida, maybe it’s business as usual with yet more cruising and fishing adventures on the boards.
I can tell you what my crew and I are doing. We’ve begun our annual rotation through the top boat shows in the world to see what the companies that build the toys we all love have been cooking up. Before the tour ends in Palm Beach in March, we’ll have been on dozens of new yachts, some of which you’ll read about in the pages of Yachts International and on yachtsinternational.com. We’ll sea trial many of the smaller ones that are able to leave the dock. With the bigger ones, we’ll report on various aspects of their design, execution and outfitting and will complement our insights with magnificent photography and video. We’ll be scanning innovative new equipment and the latest trends in yacht services, along with charter destinations we think you’ll enjoy reading about. We also may sample a mojito or a good French rosé along the way.
Among us, the Yachts staff and contributors have attended hundreds of boat shows during our careers. We each manage to make stops at some of the regional shows in New England, the mid-Atlantic and the west coast of Florida, and we maintain a significant team presence at the larger “destination” shows that attract global audiences and exhibitors, and that serve as first-look venues for new models and custom builds. Each show has a different vibe and a different suite of vessels on display.
In the next six months, some or all of us will have attended the bustling Cannes boat show on the French Riviera; the Monaco Yacht Show, the most prestigious superyacht event in the world; the Antigua Charter Yacht Show; the Miami International Boat Show, which has a rich selection of new boats and a concurrent big-boat show called Yachts Miami Beach; the intimate, high-quality Palm Beach International Boat Show; and the mammoth Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in the world, which we preview in this issue.
If you’ve never been to one of these big shows, I strongly recommend attending. Short of rafting up with friends on a summer Sunday afternoon, you’ll never find a better sense of community among like-minded souls.
If you can’t make it to any of these events, we’ll take the hit for you, mojitos and all.