Antibes’ speaks for yachting

Sep 24, 2013 by Lucy Chabot Reed

A group that is driving to make sure the voices of the yachting industry are heard as the city of Antibes considers expanding its port held its first open public meeting in September, attracting hundreds from the industry and surrounding neighborhoods.

ASAP, the Association for the Support and development of Antibes Port, presented several experts to speak in favor of the development of the port and urged local officials to not only consider the yachting industry when making final decisions about the expansion, but also to keep both residents and businesses informed of its progress.

Below is a report from the group about its activities, translated from the French and edited for space.

Antibes’ place in yachting

For the past 10 years, the fleet of superyachts has increased in size, overtaking the number of berths available in marinas. A general observation shows that there isn’t enough space while in contrast, some slips are empty.

This situation has generated an aggressive competition in marinas across the region to attract megayachts. And although they may prefer Antibes or Palma as a base in the winter, many yachts take refuge toward other destinations to minimize costs. Marinas in Spain, Italy, Croatia, Tunisia or even Cyprus take advantage of the saturation on the Cote d’Azur to add new and bigger berths.

• Porto Adriano in the South West of the Palma Bay has created 34 new berths between 30m and 90m.

• Salamanca Group, a British financing company, has bought back Marina Port Vell in

Barcelona and has 45 berths up to 185m.

• Mataro, also in Barcelona, offers 22 berths for superyachts.

• Porto Tarraco in Tarragone, Spain, offers 81 berths from 30m to 130m.

• Castel Volturno Marina, 35 km from Napoli, Italy, has started construction to offer 1,270 berths, including 25 reserved for superyachts of 50m or more. Completion is expected in 2014.

• Marina Di Loano in southwest Italy will have 1,000 berths up to 65m.

• The new marina of Imperia, in Italy, about 30 minutes from Monaco, has 1,400 berths up to 90m.

• Cala Del Forte, the marina in construction in Ventimiglia, plans to have about 300 berths up to 45m.

• In the north of Sardinia, the marina La Maddalena is about to become the largest marina in Sardinia with 450 berths up to 114m.

• In Licata, south of Sicily, the new marina di Cale del Sole offers 1,500 berths up to 70m.

• In north Tunisia, the new Marina Bizerte should soon open with 800 berths up to 110m.

• The new marina Mandalina in Croatia has 79 berths for superyachts up to 100m.

• Porto Montenegro in the Bay of Kotor, when complete, will offer 640 berths, 130 of which for superyachts up to 150m.

• Karpaz Gate Marina is a new resort in northern Cyprus offering 300 berths, 12 for yachts up to 55m.

• Limassol marina in Cyprus will soon propose 650 berths from 8m to 110m.

• Santa Lucia, the new Port of Saint-Raphaël in France, offers 1,630 berths with structures

dedicated to yachting and touristic services

• The Port Canto in Cannes has been following an ambitious investment program since 2012, offering modern port-related infrastructures: restructuration of the area in water, new management and set up of the quays and pontoons.

Port expansion

All these recent developments offer more than a mooring space to attract superyacht clientele. They develop shops, spas, hotels, restaurants, private properties and other services requested by yacht owners. Most participate in yachting activities and yacht shows presenting their project to yacht users.

In comparison with these new locations, the Port of Antibes doesn’t seem up-to-date anymore.

Expanding the port to 1,642 berths is a key question for the growth of the town, its companies, and its people. Port Vauban must be modernized.

“It is a must and a legal requirement because in 2021, the SAEM (the company that manages the port) will give back the port to the town of Antibes,” Eric Pauget, deputy mayor and president of SAEM, told the magazine Le Point in May.

The redevelopment project of Port Vauban was presented to the town in April 2011, a comprehensive program to welcome more and bigger yachts, add a promenade and shops, and address the environment. It also included an extension of the IYCA [the International Yacht Club of Antibes] quay to welcome 25 more large yachts.

The project as presented in 2011 doesn’t seem to be advancing. Some development has started, including video surveillance of the port, wi-fi, adding a second sanitary area, making the harbour master building handicapped accessible, and repairs to the North Quay and its platforms to withstand flooding.

The great ideas for the future of the port, not yet registered in any established agenda, include:

* Offering to Sophia Antipolis an access to the sea by creating offices on the dedicated quays to companies related to the marine industry.

* Terminate the car parking, for instance by building an underground parking with a walkway to create a uniform area going from the ramparts to the port without any obstacle in view.

* Renovate the ancient ramparts and create a shopping activity around the harbour master’s office.

* Rehabilitate the walkway around the port, which goes from the Old Town to the Fort Carré.

ASAP’s role

But expansion of the port has not yet been addressed. It is because of the lack of information and responses to questions regarding the project — not to mention the failure to involve the yachting community in Antibes, despite it being the primary stakeholder affected — that the industry has created ASAP with the goal of finding solutions in this project beneficial to the people and industry of Antibes.

The ASAP supports the development of the Port of Antibes. It was created at the end of 2011 by Patrick Gilliot, president of yacht crew outfitter Dolphin Wear, who is the group’s president. It has 349 members, of which 100 are local yachting companies representing about 500 jobs.

Its board includes Gilliot, Nick Hill of Hill Robinson, Ulf Sydbeck of Riviera Yacht Support, Chantal Lemeteyer of Monaco Marine, and Muriel Penoty of the Antibes Yacht Show.

The group’s mission is to help communication between the port, the mayor’s office and the future users of the port, professionals as well as individual, and to bring to officials constructive criticism, expertise and data related to the development of the port.

During its press conference on Sept. 6, ASAP announced the creation of seven working groups to individually address the concerns of all stakeholders, from those who live and use the port to yacht crew, the small yacht industry and the superyacht industry.

More specifically, it aims to help the mayor and port determine a final objective.

Since its inception, ASAP has held meetings with officials to communicate its goals and provide data on its efforts related to the project, including an economic study of yachting in the region, and analysis of other port development in the Med. Its goal is to have a working document completed by next summer.

Membership in ASAP is free and open to anyone who lives or works in Antibes or works directly or indirectly with the port.

For more information, visit

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome at


About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Lucy Chabot Reed →