The 2014 Monaco Yacht Show launched in spectacular style last Wednesday, with around 115 superyachts dominating the Monaco harbour eyeline alongside 500 exhibitors comprising the industry’s leading names worldwide.
The threatening overcast skies did nothing to dampen the first morning of the 24th edition of the show, which kicked off with breakfast hosted by Benetti and Fraser Yachts on board Ulysses, a 56m motor yacht currently for sale for €38.5m. Around 60 guests feasted on croissants, pastries, fruit and caviar on board at Quai des Etats-Unis while new executive chairman of Fraser Worldwide, Roberto Giorgi, and outgoing chairman Fabio Ermetto, who takes over as Chief Commercial Officer of Benetti, reflected on a record 2014.
Fraser has been selling 40 yachts a month, occupying a leading position amongst brokers and closing 37% more deals globally than their nearest rivals this year according to Fabio, who told guests: 'We sold five yachts in the space of 10 days this summer and, together with bluewater, we enjoyed success selling the 89m M/Y Illusion, the largest Superyacht to be built in China. We also saw a very large increase in charter bookings at the beginning of this year and we are enlarging our team due to more business received.'
His successor Roberto Giorgi spoke to OnboardOnline about the importance of having a presence at MYS. 'We are always here because you need to be part of this cluster,’ he explained. ‘For me, this is one of the biggest yachting clusters - the other one is Fort Lauderdale - and you need to be here networking. You don't necessarily do superyacht deals here - you do them before or after the show - but it's good to be here and have the dialogue.
‘Our business is all about networking. It's very interesting for me this year as it's my first time here as chairman. At Fraser, we are always moving on and trying a new agenda. You should never stop, if you stand still, you will be out.'
With an impressive array of meeting points and venues at Port Hercule, the jewel in the crown was without doubt the stunning Yacht Club de Monaco, the symbolic centrepiece of the principality’s newly remodelled harbour front, which was designed by Lord Norman Foster and opened by Prince Albert of Monaco in June this year.
Launches for Marina di Stabia in Naples and OneOcean Club - a curated collection of six star services, destinations and marinas worldwide, featuring the eagerly awaited Marina Port Vell in Barcelona - were among the events hosted on the spectacular teak sun terraces of the club, which gives guests the impression of being on a grand liner.
At the Upper Deck Lounge, Marimar Lidin, European Sales Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, outlined the island’s plan to become the latest Caribbean Superyacht destination.
'It's our first time here at the show and it is the perfect place to reach those yacht owners, captains and crews that are looking for a new Caribbean destination to sail to in the winter,’ she said. ‘We are concentrating our approach on captains and crews so that they become very knowledgeable about Puerto Rico.
‘Hopefully they will be the prescribers to the yacht owners. We have already attracted 20 Superyachts to San Juan and we are sending out the message that a new undiscovered gem is here, with great shopping, services and berthing which leads straight onto the cobblestones of the old town of St Juan.'
Perhaps the most remarkable of all the launches happening over the four day event was Portview, a unique new port navigation system, which was unveiled exclusively to OnboardOnline by Sea ID’s Kenneth Himschoot at the International Hydrographic Organisation. Similar in style to Street View, the Google sponsored system - which has been developed on the Cote d’Azur but will eventually roll out worldwide - will provide valuable visual inside knowledge on that all important first approach to a marina.
MTN Satellite Communications was also on hand to talk about the recent launch of their Conductor app, which provides a single bespoke solution for captains to orchestrate every element of onboard communications relating to crew, owners and guests as well as their launch of the world’s first dual Ku/Ka antenna. ‘These are the things our customers are asking us for,’ said spokeswoman Liz De Castro at the company’s buzzing pop up lounge bar on Port Hercule. ‘We try and listen to them and deliver what they are asking for.’
Alongside regulars including Bluewater, Y.CO, Pendennis and Camper and Nicholsons, new exhibitor Wild Group International, which specialises in vinyl yacht finishing, revealed why they decided to take a stand at the show for the first time. ‘We’ve had a great response from everyone here,’ says marketing director Clare Hoar. ‘Lots of people have been coming over to chat, they are absolutely fascinated by what we do. We have been coming along to the show in the past to make sure we are seeing the right people but by taking a stand, we can show that we are an established brand which is here to stay.’
* Photo credits: 1&2 OnboardOnline, 3&4 courtesy of Monaco Yacht Show
Read opinion from Richard Donkin: Monaco Yacht Show: A Bizarre Bazaar