Palm Beach: “All about the quality”

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Exhibitors at the Palm Beach International Boat Show described a strong show, citing good traffic from the smaller inflatables to the superyachts. Trade Only Today attended on Saturday, noting busy docks, happy attendees and generally pleased exhibitors. The word “quality” was used repeatedly by the dozen exhibitors interviewed to describe the attendees.

“I’ve worked this show for many years and it seems to have become the new Broward County,” says Nick Bischoff, Benetti Yachts’ manager for the Americas. “Our clients, especially our Benetti clients, don’t necessarily want to go to Miami or FLIBS, but want the products brought to them here.”

Bischoff said he had seen “good quality attendees,” rather than large numbers of visitors come to the Italian superyacht builder’s display. Benetti had two megayachts on display, including a Benetti 125 Fast called Lejos 3 and a custom Benetti 48-meter yacht called Elidrea. “The attendance started out strong on Thursday and the first two days were filled quality traffic,” he said on Saturday.

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It’s unusual for the company to close deals at a show, said Bischoff, but he thought that it might happen this year with a 116 Mediterraneo. “We met the potential buyers a few weeks before the show and they seemed interested in trading their current yacht,” says Bischoff. “It typically takes six months to two years to close a deal, but sometimes you get a spontaneous buyer who wants to buy now if you have the right product available.”

Numarine’s sales and marketing manager Ali Tanir also used the word “quality” to describe visitors to their in-water exhibit. The Turkish builder displayed a new 78 HTS, which had an advanced entertainment system by Furrion Marine that had been displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The system featured an “artificial intelligence concierge” called “Angel” that controlled onboard functions by voice recognition.

Tanir said Angel had helped drive some prospective clients to see the yacht, but it was a bigger draw in Las Vegas among the CES techno-geeks. “It’s an interesting system but we’re also proud of the design of the 78-footer, which has the first bridge of its kind.”

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Federico Ferrante, president of Azimut Benetti Yachts USA, said he was “very happy” with this year’s Palm Beach show. Ferrante said Azimut, displayed by MarineMax, had sold four units by Saturday. He expected more sales to follow.

“This is the largest Azimut presence we’ve ever had at Palm Beach,” he said. “We have all five model ranges here, including two superyacht Grande models. The only criticism I would make is the timing of the show. We think it’s too close to Miami. It could move into April and still catch the clients who are heading north for the summer.”

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Roger Moore, owner of Nautical Ventures, echoed the “quality” refrain. “All the feedback we’ve had was positive,” said Moore. “We didn’t see the crowd that we’d expected but the quality was excellent. We’ve even managed to sell a few boats.”

Moore’s dealership represents the Axopar, Brabus, Beneteau’s Antares line, Glastron and tender brands. The company also sponsored the “Aquazone” on the south end of the show, which was a large in-water area that had been cordoned off. Nautical Ventures has demos of jet boats and Seabobs in the water, as well as electric-powered standup paddle boards, and even an electric-powered surfboard that reaches 30 mph.

“Typically, we set up an Aquazone that is a 30 by 60-ft. above-water pool, but we decided to skip that this year and use the in-water portion set up by Informa,” says Moore. “It worked out really well. We had a lot of excited attendees and did many demos.”

On Saturday, the show seemed busy and the showgoers seemed happy.

“This is always one of our favorite shows,” says Ezgi Hafizoglu, president of Vicem Yachts. “We were in the same location as last year but there is more traffic. We’re also seeing the quality of the attendees.”

Hafizoglu said Palm Beach, FLIBS, Newport and Annapolis are the four main shows done by Vicem. “We’re seeing good volume this year and it’s going great,” she said. “The show has been amazing.” 

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