Thursday, October 1

Looking Back at Lauderdale

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Now that the largest show in the U.S. (with 1,500 boats worth $4 billion) has ended, it’s time for a recap. Was it fun? Yes, definitely. Over-the-top? Yes, definitely. Crowded? At times, but not all the time. Was it good for people who are buying and selling boats? Yes, no, and maybe.
One thing was certain. The overwhelming optimism that grew out of the Newport and Annapolis shows earlier in the fall was not repeated, at least not across the board.
The good news first. At Grand Banks and Palm Beach Yachts, Dave Northrop, VP of marketing, said it was a “very productive show.” Chris Hughes, a partner at MJM, said it was “a very good show for all our models – the 50z, 40z and newly announced 35z with outboards.” At Sabre and Back Cove, Bentley Collins, VP of marketing there, reported “very high interest in the new Back Cove 32 and 37 and 41, the latter two being quintessential couples’ cruisers,” with “lots of interest in the Sabre 42 and 48 flybridge.”
Tracy Hess Burgess, director of marketing for Outer Reef Yachts, said two Trident series yachts were sold at the show and that more orders from the Classic series are coming as a result of the show. My colleague Scott Akerman and I walked through the new Trident 62, a three-stateroom, three-head cruiser with Zeus drives and were impressed by the comfort and quality, particularly when we learned the price was an attractive $1.72 million.
Others, however, reported less than enthusiastic results, with a slow Saturday (it rained) and increased competition for new boats from the large displays of brokerage boats.
But at Lauderdale the fun factor seems to win out. The steel band at the entrance, the long line of megayachts (now stretching from Bahia Mar all the way north of the Las Olas bridge), the helicopters, personal submarines, Rolls, Lambos and McLarens, all add up to an exotic taste of boating and a boating lifestyle at another level. It’s always fun to dream, even if briefly.

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