The newly renamed Cannes Yachting Festival got off to a glittering start last week with many of the industry’s leading names from 34 countries in attendance ready to unveil 100 world premieres at le Vieux Port.
The first day at the show - previously known as the Festival de la Plaisance de Cannes - was rounded off with a champagne reception on the rooftop of Club VIP on Albert Edouard’s Jetée 133. Show manager Sylvie Ernoult spoke of her satisfaction at maintaining the same levels of interest from exhibitors and visitors as last year in an increasingly difficult marketplace.
‘The feeling at the show is roughly the same as last year, it’s been a busy first day,’ she said. ‘We are expecting 50,000 visitors during the course of the show. We have the same number of exhibitors as last year, 480, which, in a difficult economic situation, is pretty positive. We also have the same number of boats in and out of the water. The industry is suffering and it’s not so easy so this is good news.’
With a growing number of exhibitors and visitors migrating from Genoa to Cannes and the recent announcement that Azimut-Benetti will not be displaying their yachts at the Ligurian port next spring, Sylvie added: ‘I don’t think we’re better than Genoa. We took an opportunity in Cannes because it is an international destination whereas Genoa didn’t have this opportunity. The Italian economy is suffering a lot, as is the yachting industry. It’s sad.’
So what sets Cannes apart from the rest? ‘First, the Cannes show has 550 boats, a huge variety of different sized boats and no other show is doing this,’ explains Sylvie. ‘It’s important that we are open to everybody. From €2,000 to €20million, everybody can find something to go out on the water in here.
‘When you are the first show in the calender, you give exhibitors the opportunity to announce their launches and provide their new models. Shipyards need to be innovative and create new things otherwise they don’t survive in this market. We give them the means to do this, so it’s the right place to be at the right time.
‘The sea trial is also unique at Cannes. It is the best way to sell a boat, it gives a lot of selling power to the exhibitor. If you put all this together, you have the magic of Cannes.’
The Azimut-Benetti stand on Jetée Albert Edouard was buzzing with visitors when OO chatted to group spokesman Giovanni Bogetto about the importance of having a presence at Cannes.
‘Cannes is one of the most important boat shows in the world,’ he says. ‘It is the first show in the oncoming season and this year we are presenting four new novelties - the new Azimut 77S, the new Azimut Grande 95RPH and the new Azimut Flybridge 50, while for Benetti, we are presenting the new Benetti Tradition Supreme 108.
‘We have 24 yachts here and it is a great showcase for us internationally. We have our dealer network present here and we are really optimistic.
‘Many people come to the Côte d’Azur from all over the world to holiday here. The weather is still good in September and the hotels and ports are close by, so it’s a combination of those factors that create Cannes and make it one of the most important shows to be at.’
This year, there was more emphasis on creating a lifestyle feel to the show to appeal to visitors outside of yachting. In a nod to New York Fashion Week, which was happening simultaneously on the other side of the Atlantic, Julien Macdonald Haute Couture and Galeries Lafayette held catwalk shows.
Celebrated graffiti artist Mr OneTeas gave a live performance on a huge white screen and Michelin starred chef Adeline Grattard of Yam ‘Tcha in Paris flew south for the day as Godmother of the inauguration of a Saba 50.
A show spokeswoman added: ‘We have more lifestyle brands here than ever before. It’s a conscious decision to attract people who are in Cannes for leisure to come and live the dream for a day.’
The social highlight of the six day show was the Luxmedia Yacht Parade on Saturday night, rounded off with a spectacular firework display at the Carlton Beach.
* All photos by OnboardOnline