Opening day of the 28th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show was about as glorious as it could get. On one of those perfect South Florida days of clear blue skies and a cool breeze and surrounded by stunning yachts, everyone from crew to brokers to visitors seemed in good spirits.
Guests were seen and heard enjoying the spectacle and visiting yachts.
“I can tell there’s money here,” said Dean Anthony, a broker with Ferretti Group as a couple walked by sipping champagne. “Thirty years of doing this, you can tell.”
Crew, too, took the less stressful show in stride, taking time to wander the docks or mingle with passers by.
“We had more people here today than we had in all of the Miami show,” said Capt. Hendre du Plessis of the 162-foot Christensen M/Y Remember When. Though the show opened at noon yesterday, by mid-afternoon he said there had already been several tours onboard.
“Out of all of them, this is the show I would do,” he said. “The fixed docks here [at Palm Harbor Marina] are nice. It’s not as hectic as the Lauderdale show. The parking is better, and the location is really nice. And there’s a better class of people walking down the docks.”
That was a general consensus among crew.
“You get good, qualified buyers here, people walking around who can write a check,” said Capt. Tom Gray of the 92-foot M/Y Miss Lisa. “The parking is better and there’s a downtown area where you can go after work. It’s the most enjoyable of the shows. I love this show.”
This year, the Palm Beach show features about 800 yachts of all sizes, including more than 100 yachts of 80 feet and larger. Based solely on the number of vessels, this show beats the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, held each February, which had 500-600 this year, said Daniel Grant of Pierson Grant, which does public relations for the show.
Of course, Miami has its advantages, too. Admission to that show is free, so there tend to be more people on the docks. And the sheer volume there makes brokers happy.
“Miami is an international show; this is more of a regional show,” Anthony said. “All the brokerages and all the manufacturers are in Miami. We had 2,000 people come through our display. I walked away from the show with a stack of leads like this. We had 50-60 leads each.
“This show is probably half that, less than half,” he said. “But this show’s growing; there are some real boats here now. It’s easier to get to and has nice product.”
As in Miami, the International Game Fishing Association is hosting sportfishing seminars near Meyer Amphitheater south of the Datura Street exit. Trawler Port, though smaller than it was in Miami, is again hosting seminars about cruising that might interest yacht crew, including one on the Bahamas and a two-part seminar on cruising the Great Loop. Find Trawler Fest on Ramp 2.
In an effort to add to the buzz, producers of the show have started a contest to find the best Instagram photos taken during the show. Tag them with #PalmBeachBoatShow where they will be posted on the show’s Facebook page. The five photos with the most likes will receive a free one-year subscription to a participating marine publication (PassageMaker, Power & Motoryacht, Soundings, Soundings Trade Only and Yachts International). Those magazines are owned by AIM Media, which owns Show Management, producers of the show.
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comment at email@example.com.