Lauderdale Wrap-up: For Some, the Best Show Ever
By Peter A. Janssen
Now that it’s come and gone, how good was the much-heralded Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show? Consider what happened at Back Cove. “We sold a Back Cove 41 before the opening to a person who didn’t want to risk waiting until the show was underway,” said Bentley Collins, VP of marketing and sales for Back Cove and Sabre.
Elsewhere, across the universe of cruising boat manufacturers, the show was a big success, with lots of new models among the 1,500 boats on display, and a continuing trend toward outboard power. Aurore Bordage, marketing manager of Beneteau America, said “we had a good show, especially for our outboard ranges.” She also said there was a lot of interest in Beneteau’s new Swift Trawler 47, which was launched at the show.
Many builders also reported seeing a younger crowd. “We had a great show with lots of traffic,” said Sam Bisset, marketing director for Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats. “We saw a lot of new faces and young families.”
George Sass, Jr, the head of global marketing for Grand Banks and Palm Beach, said “the show turned out well for us. We sold a Palm Beach 55 and a Grand Banks 60, with a lot of interest in the new GB 52.” (See our story on this new boat in this week’s Cruising Odyssey.) Sass also said that both companies had “a host of sea trials” after the show. “For us, it’s all about the ride and performance and we really encourage potential customers to get on board with us.” After the show Mark Richards, the president of both companies and one of the best sailors in the world, flew back to Australia for a 200-mile warm-up race for the grueling Sydney-Hobart race, which he’s won a record eight times.
For his part, Collins said the show was “very successful” for Sabre and Back Cove. “Having the Sabre 66 Dirigo there restated our place in the bigger boat category. The Sabre 45 and 48 continued their incredible run. Both models are backlogged for 12-18 months. And the Back Cove 34O was jammed all weekend and new orders were taken.”
Roe O’Brien, marketing director at MJM Yachts, said they were “very pleased with the turnout. Interestingly, there was a broad geographic representation. Some of our best prospects came from Southern California, Toronto and Chicago.”
Dave Northrop, the president of Maritimo America, said, “We had an excellent show, sold more boats than any previous Fort Lauderdale show. The new X60 sold multiple units, but so did the ever-popular M54 flybridge.” Northrop also said that new dealers “really came on strong. We’re looking forward to a great few month ahead.”
At Nordhavn, Jenny Stern, the director of marketing, said “it was a good show for us, with a huge positive buzz about the brand. Those who know and love the brand are really into it.” She also said that “the Vripack collaboration is exciting and people loved the 3-D goggles.” (See our story about that in this week’s Cruising Odyssey.)
Boston Whaler announced record sales at the show. “This year was a smashing success,” said Whaler President Nick Stickler.” Whaler introduced three new boats at the show, including the 380 Realm, a combination cabin cruiser and center console.
See our reviews of 40 new cruising boats at the show here: