By David Gee
Okay, I admit it. Any boat show I attend from now on that doesn't have a "Superyacht Village" might be a bit of a disappointment.
Day two of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show saw us in morning press events once again. For me, it was Groupe Beneteau to begin with, a company that builds 200 different boat models across 12 brands. They had just released their 2018-2019 fiscal year earnings report, so they began with the numbers; sales of $1.45 billion (€1.3 billion), an increase of 3.8% compared with the same period a year ago. The company has recently launched 34 different models, so there was lots of product talk to go with the financial performance.
From there we went to the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, where we saw plenty of cool center consoles, some outboard engine manufacturers and some of the smaller boats from various manufacturers. Other than the fact we had shorts and short-sleeved shirts on, and the air conditioning felt good, I can't say it seemed any different than a typical January boat show you might go to in Chicago or Minneapolis.
But again, those places don't have the Superyacht Village. So we walked across the 17th Street Causeway Bridge from the convention center to the iconic Pier 66, and made our way in right next to a couple of very large yachts. I think they could qualify as super.
The one on the right in the image, M/Y Madsummer (aptly named),is a 311-foot, 95-meter, steel-hulled vessel with a 46-foot beam.
Madsummer features a 12 meter swimming pool, huge spa and has extensive diving facilities. She is helicopter-ready and is capable of worldwide cruising with 10 spacious staterooms. It is for sale, and also available for charter this winter for $1.4 million. Per week. By the way, I don't think that includes food - or fuel. And if you're concerned about the cost of those last two things, forget it.
The Superyacht Village also featured lots of other fun toys such as helicopters, various offerings from McLaren, Ferrari, and Lamborghini, a $2.4 million RV and a $3 million submersible that is available for immediate delivery.
From there we walked through a gauntlet of brokerage boats of various sizes, and then boarded a water taxi for the trip back to the show's hub. Yes, a water taxi, as opposed to the more conventional kind. Another reason to love the show.
Past the superyachts we went, then by some super and super big homes, and we alighted not far from some fun restaurants, where we paused for lunch.
In the afternoon I spent some time at the Aviara Boats space. If you might remember, they are a very upscale dayboat, powered by a choice of Ilmor sterndrives or outboards, in 32 and 36-foot models, and manufactured in the MasterCraft plant in Tennessee. They are being sold through an exclusive national distribution partnership with MarineMax. This was the first time I had see the boats in person and I was impressed. They certainly aren't an answer to a question I'm asking, but day boats with lots of tech and features are a thing right now.
Walking around the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and logging lots of steps is also a thing. We did a little over five miles, and our feet - and the Lord - willing, we'll live to fight and walk another day.