The 8th Antibes Yacht Show kicked off the season last Wednesday at Port Vauban with crews from all over the Mediterranean attending the event as well as yacht manufacturers being welcomed for the first time.
Highlights included the Sea Changes Conference at the Royal Hotel, with a loud and lively two hour debate from industry professionals and a panel including Captain Roger Towner of the MCA, Joey Meen of the PYA and Richard Falk of the RYA.
Covering hot topics including the upcoming Ship’s Cooks Certificate, Seafarer’s Employment Agreements, the importance of kill cords in light of the recent tragedy involving the Milligan family in Padstow and the success of the GUEST programme, it ranked as one of the liveliest Sea Changes debates ever.
Bluewater’s Training Director John Wyborn said: ‘We find the Sea Changes Conference very useful because people are very receptive. It was long but everyone stayed engaged and involved in the discussions right to the end.’
One of the recurring themes of this year’s show was the importance of training for crew.
The ISS hosted a number of seminars including Attracting and Growing the Next Generation of Talent presided over by Norma Trease with contributions from a panel including Captain Richard LeQuesne, ACrew’s Abi Wallace, Danni Gavin from Aspect Maritime Consulting and our own Sam Watson from OnboardOnline.
The show continued until Saturday with the launch of Yachting Pages Directory, and our very own Ports & Shoreside directory. There was also a cocktail party for exhibitors on Friday evening and Bluewater’s eagerly awaited crew party at the Royal Hotel, where the Chef’s competition created excitement with a prestigious internship for the winner at Hearth, a top New York restaurant.
However, the show was a lot quieter than usual with builders represented only by Azimut, Pendennis and Royal Huisman concentrating on showcasing their refit expertise.
With around 100 yachts and exhibitors taking part, the show felt less populated than in previous years with lower footfall around the tents and jetty. It may be that the close proximity of MYBA’s Genoa Charter Show this week as well as the fast growing Palma Superyacht Show in Mallorca has had an impact on AYS’s 2014 attendance.
Stars of the show included the impressive Azimut 110 Avella charter yacht, which had a complete refit last year, and the Mari Cha III, a 147 ft high performance hybrid cruiser which is currently up for sale for around $13 million USD.
Despite the lower exhibitor and visitor levels, the AYS was well supported by industry professionals. Yann Joannon, director of Les Voiles d’Antibes, said: ‘It’s more for charters, there are only two modern sailing boats here but it’s a nice place to meet all the people we know from the Antibes area. I have a lot of friends at the AYS and it’s better to meet here in the sunshine than in the office!
‘It’s the beginning of the yachting season, everyone talks and it’s good to see what the exhibitors are doing. It’s great for socialising and looking at new ideas.'
'We talk with the organisers here about the problems they have encountered this year in terms of berthing and exhibitor tents and we share information with people who are interested in supporting the Voiles d’Antibes in June.’
Captain Roger Towner, Chief Examiner at the MCA, added: ‘Any occasion which allows us to get the message out to the industry as a body is always useful, whether it’s Antibes, Monaco or Fort Lauderdale. It’s always useful to speak at a forum like the Sea Changes Conference, with people asking questions, even if I didn’t like some of the questions! It’s important to come and engage with the industry.’
John Wyborn added: ‘I hope the yacht show continues because it’s good to have a gathering before the season starts.’
See more great photos here!