The Miami Boat Show experienced excellent weather this year, which contributed to an increasingly sunny outlook for the boating industry. A few interesting debuts, including Marlow Yachts’ biggest yacht yet, the Marlow 97E, shown alongside the redesigned 57E; the stylish NISI 76 (featured in the March/April issue of Yachts International), Hargrave’s new flagship Dreamer, IAG’s Primadonna (featured in this issue) and a slew of sexy European boats new to the US market from Princess Yachts, Sunseeker, Azimut, Sessa Marine and more helped entice potential buyers. Qualified leads and actual boat sales quickly brightened the overall mood. A couple of weeks after the show, reports were not evenly upbeat but decidedly improved.
“Quality, not quantity” were oft-heard words.
“During the Miami show, traffic was up around 45 percent over last year. This is not a sharp bounce back, but definitely a strong upturn. The quality of our visitors was strong,” said Eric Cashion, marketing director for Hatteras. The Carolina-based builder displayed several new models, including its very attractive GT Series at its usual location close to the fishing section on the north end of the show. Buyers came for these new models, but also looked at and bought a number of motoryachts.
At the opposite end of the show, Australian builder Riviera—which had the southern most location—also showcased new models, including the 43 Open Flybridge (two of which sold) and the impressive 5800 Sport Yacht with four staterooms (two sold at the show). “This was an extremely successful show for Riviera with overall enquiry and sales up over 200 percent from last year, further reinforcing Riviera’s reputation for quality and innovation, a tremendous achievement and a great start to 2011,” said Chris McCafferty, director of Riviera Yachts.
Big news came from Lazzara Yachts as well. Just before the show, the Tampa-based builder announced the sale of one its stylish LSX 92 models and the arrival of new investors able to infuse the family-owned company with needed cash. Then, to make a good week great, two more LSX92s sold during the show. “Honestly I’m left a little speechless right now. Selling two LSX 92s in two days at the boat show, I’m ecstatic,” President Dick Lazzara said.
Miami newcomer J Craft reported the sale of four of its Torpedos. Ferretti made a strong showing in Miami as is customary, showcasing four models new to the United States and a total of 22 different models across its brands.
“We had an outstanding show for each of the brands across the board. While attendance was consistent with last year’s, we saw a considerable increase in the amount of visitors from Latin America and the Caribbean by over 30 percent of the previous year in addition to an increase in US and European visitor traffic,” said Ferruccio Rossi, who manages Ferretti Group North America.
Westport Yacht Sales, showcasing its latest 130-footer, among other models, also reported robust activity with both new and brokerage boats.
The show seemed to remind customers that with summer vacations on the horizon, the market is full of attractive boats available for charter. Hargrave Custom Yachts—which had a large display with its brand new and impressive 136' Dreamer—saw renewed activity both on the sales and charter side, particularly during the first two days.
“We got one offer accepted at the show and we are working on two more. Hooter Patrol picked up four charters at the show, which was another encouraging sign,” said Hargrave Custom Yachts’ Michael Joyce who remains cautious that outside forces can weaken customers’ confidence.
For a number of builders, both Miami and Dubai were luke warm. Unrest in the Middle East leading to newly inflated fuel prices has the potential to dampen enthusiasm. Still, it seems that we have finally turned a corner.