Cannes: Rainy first day and low visitor turnout

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The opening day of the Cannes Yachting Festival was dampened by heavy rains and small crowds. Many outdoor press conferences announcing new models were canceled. Some booths were reported to be leaking from the unseasonably wet weather.

Despite the opening day blues, this year’s event promises to have a record number of new-boat debuts from exhibitors from France, Italy, Turkey, the U.K. and Germany.

Groupe Beneteau said it is launching 34 new models across its 12 brands at the show. U.K. builders Sunseeker, Princess and Fairline also announced multiple launches, while the Azimut-Benetti Group is launching its Azimut Grande S10, S8 and 78 Flybridge. Other companies launching new boats at Cannes include DutchCraft, QNautic, Bluegame, Bilgin, Arcadia, Otam, Invictus, Silent, Sirena and others.

The organizers of the show have made significant changes to the layout this year, dividing the 550 boats in the water between larger motoryachts and powerboats in the Le Vieux Port area and a new area for 120 sailboats and catamarans in the adjoining harbor of Porto Canto. That section will have 2,600 feet of docks and 43,000 square feet of floor space. Porto Canto will also have a “toys” section for jet boards, personal watercraft and other items.

“Our customers have always asked for more space, and there have been more and more requests,” Sylvie Ernoult, show director, told Trade Only Today. “Our strategy with the new layout is to highlight sailing, and as such, we are almost the only boat show to present such a concentration of beautiful sailing boats.”

Ernoult says organizers worked closely with sailboat builders and custom yards that were concerned about being isolated in a separate area. That was pertinent for brands that build both sailing yachts and motoryachts. Ernoult says the concerns were addressed and that the show has now “tidied up” the organizational layout of the different boat types.

“Visitors will be able to enjoy better circulation at the show and also more space,” Ernoult says. “It also allowed us to highlight certain special sections, such as the catamaran sector or the RIB area. Our visitors can now easily find what they are looking for.”

Show organizers also created an area for outboards and repositioned the RIB section into the middle of the show, with about 50 rigid hull inflatables larger than 30 feet available for testing. A water taxi between the venues is planned every 15 minutes, along with a shuttle. Some exhibitors are planning to have displays at the sail and power venues.

“For us, it is a very good thing,” Thierry Berest, area sales engineer for Yanmar Europe, told Trade Only Today. “It allows us to have a real hub for sailboats and another hub for powerboats. We make the propulsion for 70 percent of the world’s sailing market, so it was inconceivable not to be present in Port Canto, where we will share the stand with Vetus, which belongs to the same group.”

Ernoult says moving sailboats to their own venue also will allow more dedicated space for other types of boats. The event’s luxury gallery is larger this year as well, to feature more tableware, linens, accessories, jewelry, fashion and other interior items.

The show will conclude on Sept. 15. 


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