By Dorie Cox and Lucy Chabot Reed
Charter yacht crew on more than 20 boats worked hard to set up displays and create detailed themes to highlight charter yachts in the Bahamas during the first Bahamas Charter Show in late February. Eighteen boats of more than 80 feet in length were visited by charter brokers in Nassau Yacht Haven and Bay Street Marina in Nassau from Feb. 26 to March 1.
“This show took on a mind of its own,” said Capt. Steve Feldman of the 143-foot (4.6m) M/Y Starship. “It is its own entity between the Miami and Palm Beach shows, and is absolutely good for this time of year. We’ve seen lots of new faces.”
The yacht had recently redone the sky lounge, and by the second day, two brokers indicated they had interested clients.
“We were excited to be part of the show,” said Capt. Timothy Laughridge of M/Y Lady Victoria, a 120-foot (36.6m) Feadship. “I’ve been cruising for 30 years, and after two world tours, the Bahamas is still the most beautiful. Brokers and yachts are uneducated on the Bahamas, and this is a good start.”
Capt. Blake Sellers of M/Y Haven, a 124-foot (37.8m) Trinity, saw many new brokers at the show and said it was worth the effort.
“We would do it again,” he said.
M/Y Vida Boa, a 100-foot (31m) Ferretti, typically spends seven months a year in the Bahamas, and Capt. Ian Shaw said although the yacht already had one charter lined up for the season, a couple of contracts that were in the works were solidified during the show.
“This show is about now,” he said. “We live in a last-minute world; we want it now.” A large percentage of charter bookings are made last minute, he said.
“This show is one of the up-and-coming places to be,” said Capt. Bill Kurtz of M/Y Bella Contessa, a 106-foot (32m) Lazzara, which stays in the Bahamas each year until November.
“Maybe have the show a little earlier, when it’s slower – like January,” he said.
Timing for the show is just right, said Capt. FC Lubbe of M/Y Equinox, an 81-foot (24.7m) yacht based in the Bahamas year-round.
“This is a good time of year; we’re not too busy,” he said. “We’re busiest in July through August, and this is good to book for this year.”
The yacht saw quality brokers, including several new faces, he said.
M/Y Sweet Escape, a 130-foot (39.6m) Christensen, also saw several new brokers on board. The crew were up early in the morning to prepare a Bahamian theme for broker tours, and they were happy with the broker participation.
The show was organized by Worldwide Boat, with Sanaa Vohra at the lead. The company had 10 boats in the show.
“At other shows, brokers are in and out, but here they were sitting and spending time, they learned about the crew,” Vohra said. “It was engaging and intimate, at a Bahamian pace.”
The group is planning for a second show next year.
“We will attract new boats, and we want the same boats,” she said. “We do want more European brokers. The feedback was that it was different, well-planned, and the logistics were good.”
Show organizers provided private transportation between venues, something participants said was helpful, Vohra said.
More than 50 brokers from about 40 brokerages attended the event, including Shannon McCoy, a broker with Worth Avenue Yachts in Fort Lauderdale.
“I think it’s great to fly 40 minutes and see 23 boats,” McCoy said. “And I never get tired of the Bahamas.”
The show was a good opportunity to spend quality time on board with charter crew, said Katie MacPherson, sales and charter consultant with IYC.
“I love the themes; the crew went all out to show what they are capable of,” MacPherson said. “You could really see how the crew engage, and see what the guests see. I like it small and contained. With the ones I’ve already booked, now I can show them more pictures.”
Other yachts in the show include M/Y Baba’s, a 184-foot (56m) Hargrave; M/Y Amarula Sun, a 164-foot (50m) Trinity; M/Y Claire, a 150-foot (46m) Trinity; M/Y At Last, a 145-foot (44m) Heesen; M/Y Relentless, a 145-foot (44m) Trinity; M/Y Murphy’s Law, a 124-foot (38m) Delta; M/Y Alexandra Jane, a 110-foot (34m) Broward; M/Y Beachfront, a 108-foot (33m) Hargrave; M/Y Quintessa, a 94-foot (28.8m) Destiny; and M/Y Halcyon Seas, a 71-foot (21.7m) Marlow.
The four-day event included marina tours and several parties. The final fun day had to be changed to a day at the pool because of high winds. For more information, visit bahamaschartershow.com.
To see our photo gallery from the show, click here.
Dorie Cox is editor and Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome below.