There are boat shows, and there is CCYS. By all accounts, the second edition of the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show, which took place from 8-11 December at Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas was a resounding success, earning its stripes as a firm fixture on the winter boat show calendar.
Hosted by IGY Marinas in partnership with the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA), from start to finish, the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show was a vibrant showcase of all the USVI has to offer the ever-growing global fleet of charter yachts.
Commenting on the success of this year’s event, IYBA President Paul Flannery said: “IYBA and IGY partnered on this event with the sole purpose of providing the yacht charter community with a show that meets their needs. With valuable input from attendees, we will continue to make this the best charter yacht show in the Caribbean.”
Heading up IGY’s team on the ground, Phil Blake, GM of Yacht Haven Grande said: “As the venue for the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show, the lineup of high caliber yachts demonstrated YHG’s ability to host and exhibit some of the world’s most renowned charter yachts and, together with our multi award-winning team, facilities, restaurants and shops, it’s the perfect setting for a world class charter yacht show.”
CCYS – A show designed for brokers
Almost 100 charter brokers came from all over the world, with 29 coming to St. Thomas directly from Antigua, as well as the 60m motor yacht Slipstream which was welcomed with great cheer on the evening of 8 December. A total of 13 incredible yachts now lined the docks, perfectly framed by the bluest of skies and pristine waters, ready for three days of viewings and a packed schedule of social activities.
Setting the tone for the whole event, brokers were invited to an elegant reception at Cutlass & Cane Restaurant while the CCYS Captains’ Dinner was hosted at 13 Restaurant, sponsored by Apollo Jets and renowned US vintner Justin Wines.
The next morning kicked off with an IYBA seminar moderated by Nicole Caulfield of RJC Yachts Sales & Charter, with an esteemed panel presenting an update on regulations for cruising the USVI. Detailed information on this topic can be found on VIPCA’s website here. A second seminar on the following day looked in detail at the IYBA charter contract, with further information available here.
Yacht visits took place each morning and afternoon, with ample time for brokers to tour every vessel and get acquainted with the captains and crew. The new in-water display of tenders and toys was also a big hit, with exciting exhibits from top brands including Seabob, Lift Foils and AquaBanas, as well as Solace Boats and Volvo Penta who presented their fuel-efficient 42 foot tender represented by Denison Yacht Sales.
Lunches were catered by Twist 340 in the main tent and sponsored by AquaBanas inflatable floating decks and Newcoast Finance which specialises in marine and charter yacht financing and insurance services. Throughout the show, beverages were provided by CC1 Virgin Islands.
Excursions were another popular addition this year, giving charter brokers the opportunity to explore local cruising grounds on a luxury catamaran, while charter managers had the chance to get out on the water and experience firsthand some of the latest yacht toys on the market.
Commenting on her experience, Shawn Laird, Senior Charter Manager at N&J said: “This was my first Caribbean Charter Yacht Show in St. Thomas and overall, it was a very good boat show. I was so pleased to see the turnout of brokers who were able to really capture the vibe of each crew and yacht without being rushed. From a marketing perspective, Northrop & Johnson is very pleased with the level of exposure, and we have no doubt that we will see bookings as a result.”
Spotlight on the USVI
Returning as the headline sponsor, the USVI Department of Tourism sponsored the show’s gala dinner which was catered by Indigo 4 and brought to life with an extraordinary display of Caribbean music and dance. “We were thrilled to return as headline sponsor of the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show – the charter yacht community is an important part of our local economy and this year it was a truly exceptional event.” said USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte.
For the beautiful islands that extend their welcome to the yachting community, the economic benefits are clear, but beyond the beauty and Caribbean charm of the USVI, a rich and complex history lies at its heart. Recognising the importance of the synergy and respect that must exist between visiting yachts and their island hosts, the 9th of December marked the joyous unveiling of a stunning three part installation by renowned local artist Edney Freeman.
“The installation of the Mocko Jumbies bronze sculptures at the heart of Yacht Haven Grande, created by the artist Edney Freeman, commends IGY marinas’ continuous support of the Virgin Islands,” said Charlie Irons, GM Real Estate. “It has been an incredible experience and an honour working on this project with Mr. Freeman, knowing the impact this will have on the local community as well as visitors to the Virgin Islands who enjoy learning about its deep history.”
A chance for yachts and their crew to shine
Changing up the usual format, this year’s chef competition took place during the Yacht Hop which was sponsored by SEA.AI and overseen by Chef Julius Jackson. “It was an honour to host the CCYS Tapas & Cocktail competition this year and having the brokers as judges added to the fun and gave crew another opportunity to showcase their vessels,” said Julius. “Participating yachts pulled out all the stops and created a small margin of victory - I was especially impressed with the way they paid homage to the local Virgin Island theme of colours and flavours. I'm excited for next year!”
Congratulations and cash prizes were awarded to the following winners during the gala dinner:
Tapas: First place Aquanova; second place QTR
Cocktails: First place Next Chapter; second place Silver Lining
Best Presentation: Aquanova
Best Taste: Next Chapter
Normally reserved exclusively for IGY Trident member yachts, a number of crew also had the chance to polish up their skills in a taster session with the luxury hospitality experts at Forbes Travel Guide. Led by Megan Torrance, Senior VP of Learning & Development, crew members discussed the meaning of luxury and the details that make all the difference in the way we interact and communicate with clients. Engaging crew in practical exercises and role play, key themes were graciousness, a sense of place, being present and the plus one rule.
On the final evening of the show, a spectacular crew party was hosted in the property’s stunning pool area. Sponsored by Maho Crew who also provided the show uniforms, a fun time was had by all as crew members danced the night away to music by DJ Kash, with delicious hot and cold food and no shortage of Cruzan rum punch!
Beyond the show itself, all attending yachts also benefit from a complementary listing on IYBA’s YachtBroker.org and a yacht profile on SuperyachtStories.com, which includes promotion on social media.
The show organisers would like to thank all participating brokers, yachts, crew and sponsors, with special thanks to Ward’s Marine Electric who sponsored the Wards Welcome Lounge. Further thanks go to Business Risk Advisors, Viya, World Fuel Services, Southland Gaming, Kohler Marine, Ambient Yoga, Aeré, and Yonder Insurance.
We look forward to welcoming you all at the Caribbean Charter Yacht Show in St. Thomas again next year!