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6 February 2024

A World Of Wealth On Display At The Monaco Yacht Show

If there was a league table for European (and well beyond) yacht shows covering the ultimate in yachts it would, without doubt, be championed by the Monaco Yacht Show. It is an extraordinary display of wealth and well-being; it would appear that money is no constraint on indulgence and private enjoyment. The profile of the real spenders manifests itself at Nice airport where there is a constant churn of private jets throughout the show; you can count on there being at least fifty parked at any one time. However, those who can indulge themselves have canny and steely characters; most have made their wealth from astute dealing and money management, so there is a charged atmosphere amongst the exhibitors who work frenetically to loosen those purse strings.
There are, of course, other yacht shows with different agendas; arguably the most relaxed is the Cannes Yachting Festival. It has an appeal wider than the yachting fraternity as it has a glamour to complement the elegant style of the resort. A long weekend in Cannes taking in the Festival must lead many to join the yachting fraternity; a long lunch at one of the pop-up restaurants may just provide the final incentive to make the decision.
The Germans are very serious about most things and enjoying themselves is high up on their priorities. The ‘Boot’ at Dusseldorf is truly vast and covers every conceivable aspect of water sports; it is a veritable encyclopaedia of all things nautical.
Much more light-hearted is the Genoa Boat Show where the Italian flair is very evident. The visitors wear their wealth on their backs; if you want to see aboard a large yacht, make sure that as much jewellery as possible is disported. In making an appointment to view, a quick glance at the jewellery will determine if you are to be welcomed on board.
Whatever else, Monaco is the centre of business in yachting. Monaco’s main harbour is small, but they can still accommodate over 500 exhibitors and well over 200 yachts. Many more yachts are involved as the event spills out along the Riviera with visiting yachts both at anchor and in neighbouring harbours all vying for attention.
All the major builders and brokers go out to impress, Burgess dominates the end of a quay with their impressive display of six yachts led by the majestic 85m. Lurssen built motor yacht ‘Salondge’. Alongside will be a contender for most elegant lines on a motor yacht: the brand new 77m. ‘Silver Fast’ which has a speed to match her name: a maximum of 30 knots. Her sister yacht, at the time named ‘Smeralda’ appropriately sold to Sheik Mohamed of Dubai in record time. A yacht that has circumnavigated the globe in great style is Royal Huisman’s 57.5m. sailing yacht ‘Twizzle’.
It is always interesting to seek out yachts from names that do not necessarily have a high profile. I shall check out Sunrise Yachts 63m. ‘Irimari’ motor yacht. Turkey has for a long time been able to produce high quality at a very competitive price, wisely the owner retained leading stylist Espen Øino so expectations are high.
The leading private aeroplane and yachts’ stylists; Andrew Winch Designs tend to be more associated with the largest one-off yachts as manifested by a total of four yachts with an average length of more than 100m. that are being built at Lurssen’s yards. They are showing their diversity with styling Amels new ‘Limited Edition’ series with the 60m. ‘Lara Sessa’ yacht.
At the opposite end of the scale spectrum, there is equal interest, for example, the intriguing but strangely ugly/beautiful three-man submarine from the Holland based builder; U Boat Worx. Then there is Kevin Glancy with their sublime crockery supplied to so many of the best found yachts. At up to £1,200 per hand-painted dinner plate they set the style. The champagne flows in the ‘Upper Deck Lounge’ where there are many luxury goods that so often find their way onto yachts. Avakian offer appropriately exotic jewellery, last year my preference for one of the largest and best quality emeralds I have ever seen as it had a sublime colour and depth was not the preferred choice of their jeweller to whom I was talking. He pointed out that a much larger stone by a factor of about ten was a real rarity and worth so much more, thus more desirable. Each to his own and for most of us in a different orbit, but such exchanges are so normal in these surrounding.
The draw of the wealthy to Monaco is literally fed by some very accomplished restaurants including the Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse in the l’Hôtel de Paris. As an antidote to the excesses of the show and indeed of this whole city state it is good to get back to the real world. To enjoy a delicious meal with wine in a characterful restaurant with friendly service is still possible without taking a deep breath before examining the bill. I have found three restaurants where you can find that rare combination: Il Terrazzino and its sister restaurant; Il Giardino plus La Maison du Caviar.
If you have not booked an hotel yet, Monaco has nothing left, however staying in resorts along the Riviera is an option as the train service opens up the possibilities, but certainly even as far as Nice hotels will be full.
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