The 2012 Yacht & Brokerage Show and concurrent Miami International Boat Show in mid-February brought some interesting news to go along with many interesting product launches. As usual, it was an action-packed five days. The overall mood was positive with a consensus among exhibitors of fewer, but more qualified visitors in attendance.
Irwin Jacobs and his business partner, Jean-Paul De Joria of J&D Acquisitions (owners of the Marquis and Carver brands), were among the attention grabbers at the Yacht & Brokerage Show. They took the opportunity of this international event to announce their joint venture with a large multifaceted government-run Chinese group called Poly Technologies, Inc. Poly Technologies Chairman Jiang Lianxiang joined the two investors to announce their collaboration. While acknowledging that full development of the recreational boating industry will take some time in China, Lianxiang said growth has been significant already. For Jacobs and De Joria this matters little, as any incremental sales will be good for the Pulaski, Wisconsin-based company. Jobs will remain in Wisconsin where craftsmen build the Marquis and Carver lines, and the new company, named Poly Marquis Yacht Ltd. will adapt the boats to the habits and expectations of Chinese boaters.
Another important delegation from Asia also attracted attention. Taiwan Yacht Industry Association, currently headed by Horizon Chairman John Lu, joined a group comprised of dignitaries from Kaohsiung City, which will host the first Taiwan International Boat Show in early 2014. Lu and Kristina Hebert (COO of Ward’s Marine Electric and president of the South Florida-based marine industry group MIASF) formalized a cooperation agreement in Miami Beach to further the goals of the yachting industry globally.
Azimut-Benetti also made waves not only for exhibiting the largest yacht at this year’s Yacht & Brokerage Show, but for having the largest yacht ever to dock on the Island Creek Waterway along Collins Avenue. The recently delivered 61-meter (200-foot) Diamonds are Forever loomed large over the smaller craft around her. Benetti only had three challenges getting the yacht to her location, under bridges and through shallow waters surrounding the show, quipped a representative: “her draft, beam and height.” Luckily, it all worked out and owner John Staluppi threw a huge party to showcase his newest yacht, which features a glittering interior by Evan Marshall. It was a must-attend event and guests pressed in a tightly packed group at the foot of the passerelle for a chance to tour the yacht. During a luncheon held at the superb Soho House, the Azimut-Benetti group shared other big news: the construction of a 296-foot (90-meter) custom yacht.
Monte Carlo Yachts showcased its first MYC 76 in Miami, a very attractive flybridge with luxury interior and design by Nuvolari-Lenard, designed specifically for the Americas. Wider, which shared space with Lazzara, continued to turn heads with its thoroughly innovative expandable dayboat. Lazzara had a brand new 92 Sport Yacht, which was designed by her owner to welcome charter guests. The yacht will be available on the West Coast of Florida in the coming months. Hatteras unveiled an appealing design for a 95-foot motoryacht, which is part of a custom series that combines Italian flair with North Carolina tradition. Sanlorenzo presented a seriously stylish 94-foot (29-meter) flybridge motoryacht and feted guests and press with a champagne toast and fine foods.
Overall, the two Miami shows revealed innovation is alive and well in the marine industry and that, seen as a whole, the Americas are once again a worthwhile market as buyers seem ready to re-indulge in their passion for all things nautical.