YachtFest San Diego sets records

SAN DIEGO – Attendance at YachtFest San Diego, presented by San Diego Marine Exchange, was up this year with nearly 4,000 people attending, compared to 3,500 the prior year, organizers recently reported.

The show, which featured over 135,000 square feet of docks, barges and exhibit space, kicked off Thursday, Sept. 13 with a stellar showcase of yachts, cars, jets and numerous other sea-faring accessories on display. The festival brought together potential buyers, charterers and admirers to view 40 yachts and megayachts over the course of the four day show.

The show featured more yachts than previous years, with yacht slips for the event sold out, and had the largest number of paid attendees yet, reflecting the growing interest in yachting and San Diego’s commitment to becoming a premier destination for superyachts, according to organizers.

“San Diego is increasingly popular as a mega-yacht destination and homeport, thanks to efforts of local boatyards, brokers and the Port of San Diego,” said Diane Fraser, a yacht charter broker with Fraser Yachts Worldwide. “In addition, the quality of the attendees at YachtFest rivals that of the shows in Ft. Lauderdale and Monaco.”

Among the features of the show were YachtFest’s second annual “All Decked Out” fashion show, with proceeds benefiting the San Diego Armed Services YMCA. The show also offered “Your Career in Yachting – A Ticket Around the World” presented by Merrill-Stevens Crew Placement. The free seminar featured a panel of yachting experts who spoke about employment opportunities in the luxury yacht industry.

Awards handed out

The conclusion of the event brought awards to four exquisite yachts, announced at the Martinis by Moonlight party hosted by The Marine Group on Saturday night. Doug Sharp, of Sharp Design and the YachtFest Board Chair, presented awards in four categories: People’s Choice, Best Interior, Best in Show, and the first ever, Broker’s Choice.

Winning the People’s Choice award was Endless Summer, a 92’ luxury yacht built by Paragon Motor Yachts and featuring two hot tubs and a $320,000 entertainment system.

Taking home the “Best Interior” award was Endurance, a 77-foot Northern Marine trawler that was custom built in 2003 and features three floors of glossy mahogany walls, and a galley with traditional wainscoting and nautical tiles, all designed by the owner’s wife.

Status Quo, a brand-new 142’ superyacht built by Richmond Yachts, took home the Best in Show award and was also the largest in the show this year. It features six guest cabins that sleep up to 12 people, a personal chef, four crew cabins that sleep eight, a dining salon that seats 12, and 13 bathrooms.

Winning the Broker’s Choice award was Thomas Spirit, a 115’ Motor yacht built by Christensen that previously earned the 2004 “Mega Yacht of the Year” award from YachtBroker.com. Thomas Spirit includes four staterooms that sleep up to eight, a formal dining room that seats 10, flat screen TVs throughout, a redwood sauna, and a state-of-the-art kitchen featuring GE Profile appliances, plus crew quarters below deck.

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