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Yachts descend on Miami Beach

The show will be the biggest ever, with the same verve but a new name denoting ‘28 years on Collins Avenue’
Yachts Miami Beach has been a February fixture along Collins Avenue for 28 years.

Yachts Miami Beach has been a February fixture along Collins Avenue for 28 years.

The 2016 edition of Yachts Miami Beach — formerly the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach — will be the largest in its 28-year history. The show takes place Feb. 11-15 on a mile-long stretch of Indian Creek Waterway along Collins Avenue, where it has been held for nearly three decades.

The show has expanded north along Collins Avenue this year, covering 1.2 million square feet of space, and has added a second location — Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina on Watson Island, which will feature a selection of superyachts.

“We will have a limited selection of superyachts there because they will be very large,” says Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of Show Management, the company that produces the show with the Florida Yacht Brokers Association. (Show Management and Soundings Trade Only are part of Active Interest Media.) “These will be yachts that don’t fit in Indian Creek and can take advantage of the deep harbor on Watson Island.”

A number of factors are contributing to the show’s growth, Zimbalist says. “Not only are we seeing growth in yachts themselves, but in the tenders that go with them. The high-end center consoles and tenders are growing, and specifically at the Miami Beach show. We’re known for being a large-yacht show, but we are seeing strong growth in that tender [and] center console category, as well.”

In addition, more builders from overseas continue to be attracted to the U.S. market. “The fact is, the U.S. market remains the strongest market in the world,” Zimbalist says. “The strong dollar makes it even more attractive for foreign manufacturers to sell here and to bring offshore brokerage boats to sell into the U.S. market.”

New name, new logo

Yachts Miami Beach has always run concurrently with the Miami International Boat Show, and though attendees sometimes assumed that both shows were part of the same event, they have always been separately owned and operated. However, the seamless interaction between the two created confusion when the show run by the National Marine Manufacturers Association changed venues (see Page 20).

“We have a big communications program lined up to make sure that as the NMMA show moves from Miami Beach Convention Center to Miami Marine Stadium that all of our exhibitors and attendees know that we’re still here where we’ve always been,” Zimbalist says. “We’ve changed the name of the show from the Yacht & Brokerage Show to Yachts Miami Beach, and the intent of that, in part, is to have a very self-explanatory name that says what it is and where it is, that we’re on Miami Beach, and we are staying there. The tagline is, ‘28 years on Collins Avenue.’ ”

The name is also very sleek and sounds a bit more like the large European shows that focus on the yachting segment. “We surveyed every boat and yacht show in the world when selecting this name,” Zimbalist says. “I think the former name was informative in that it told everybody that we have brokerage boats, but I think that message has been received. The central message now is that we’re in Miami Beach and we’ll stay there.”

The name also speaks to the fact that the show specifically presents large yachts in the water and appeals to a high-net-worth audience. The new logo does the same, with the outline of a yacht “cut out” of an orange half-sun — giving the illusion of a sun setting on the ocean as a yacht glides by. “Yachts Miami Beach” is beneath in ocean blue lettering.

Yachts and debuts

There are 12 yachts over 130 feet booked for the Watson Island venue, which can accommodate vessels as large as 500 feet. As is typical with larger yachts, people interested in boarding those vessels have been urged to contact the brokers exhibiting them to schedule appointments.

The largest yacht remained anonymous in early January, but it is 280 feet and being displayed by Burgess Yachts. The company also plans to bring Silverfast, a 252-foot Silver yacht. Lady Lola, a 205-foot Oceanco, will be shown by Merle Wood & Associates, and a new 193-foot Trinity called Skyfall is being offered by Goldfinger Charters LCD.

Thirteen yachts over 100 feet are scheduled to appear along Collins Avenue. The largest are Themis, a 156-foot Trinity, and Status Quo, a 150-foot Richmond, both with Robert J. Cury & Associates.

Viking Yachts is bringing its new 80-foot Enclosed Bridge and 48 Convertible, as well as many others from its lineup, says Peter Frederiksen, Viking’s communications director. “We’ll probably have a 14- or 15-boat display at this year’s Yachts Miami Beach,” he says. “We’ll probably bring every model we build from 42 to 92 feet. We’ll also be talking about a new motoryacht that’s coming — an 82 that isn’t ready yet but will probably be out in the spring. We’ll have the new 48 and the new 80 Enclosed Bridge. We’re going to go gung-ho like we always do and let people see what Viking is doing.”

The Miami Beach show is unique for Viking because buyers typically buy the boats that are on display. “We see a lot of people order in Fort Lauderdale so they have them ready for the summer,” Frederiksen says, adding that Viking has a backlog. “In Miami Beach, they buy the boats we have there because that’s the boat they’re going to get if they want it for summer.

“It’s always a pretty good show for us.” he adds. “A lot of times people come to a show, and they’re hemming and hawing. But if we explain there’s a backlog, so if they don’t take that one at the show they’re not going to see one for a year, it really motivates people. Sometimes that boat show [creates] verve and excitement that makes people say, ‘Let’s do this.’ ”

Superyachts that are too big for the Collins Avenue venue will be displayed at Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina, shown in this composite photo/rendering.

Superyachts that are too big for the Collins Avenue venue will be displayed at Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina, shown in this composite photo/rendering.

The place to be for 65 feet and up

Sea Ray, having brought its larger new boats to Collins Avenue in 2014 and 2015, is set to bring more new product to Yachts Miami Beach, says MarineMax communications manager Abbey Heimensen. “We had not been on Collins Avenue with yachts in some time, but this is our third year displaying there in the water.”

MarineMax does not have a physical location at the show, although some brokers will bring brokerage boats to display, but it comes to the show to help represent the many lines it offers.

“It’s the same way for us as it is in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,” Heimensen says. “We participate with our manufacturers, whether it be with Boston Whaler, Azimut, Hatteras, Ocean Alexander, Sea Ray or our other brands. We’re excited to be representing the best of the best.”

Sea Ray has exciting new models and will have a strong presence at the show, Heimensen says. “Everybody’s going to be very excited. Sea Ray has once again stepped up their game and is giving boaters what they want.

“We’re excited to be at Miami Beach again,” Heimensen adds. “It’s poised to be a fantastic show for us and our manufacturers. We’re excited to be in all the booths we’re in and excited to be representing some of the best brands in the world. Consumers are ready to start purchasing, and our manufacturers have stepped up and are giving the customers what they want.”

Sabre will bring a 54 Flybridge and the new 66 Dirigo to Yachts Miami Beach, says sales and marketing vice president Bentley Collins. “If you want to sell 65-foot boats, you need to have them up on Collins Avenue,” he says. “There’s no question that if the manufacturers play it right and invite their customers there, it’s a great place to be.

“We’re doing our dealer meeting on Wednesday night and introducing two new models there before the show opens,” Collins adds. “We will introduce a concept that we will have in production next fall to get input on that. We will also be going over the 66 and current production to give them an idea where we are. That’s our opportunity to have dealers there and have cocktails around the pool. That’s part of our deal at Collins Avenue.”

International presence

MarineMax also will be on hand to represent a new brand making a presence in the United States. “We’re very excited about the brand,” Heimensen says, declining to specify the new addition. “We think the press and soon-to-be customers are going to love the brand. It just fills out our portfolio.”

Polish builder Galeon will have eight yachts from about 40 to 70 feet at the show, says Zimbalist.

Turkish builder Numarine will debut its new 60 Flybridge at Yachts Miami Beach, part of a growing trend for European builders to make world debuts in the United States.

“What I like about Yachts Miami Beach and the scene on Collins Avenue is it’s got that international clientele coming in to look for bigger boats,” says Collins. “It’s a great show. If you look at a cross-section of boats at the show from 50 feet to 150 feet, it’s a terrific show.”

Frederiksen agrees the presence is diverse. “We have a nice venue on Collins Avenue, and a good display,” he says. “It’s very much a good, very international show.”

That presence has increased because of the strong dollar and the strength of the U.S. market, Zimbalist says. “The American buyer is the strongest of just about any around the world right now. Also, some of the legislative things that have happened and are about to happen, like the sales tax cap, is encouraging people to close the deals in the U.S. and keep their boats here. We are seeing the effect of that.”

The cap is not just on yacht sales but also on repairs, refits and maintenance, Zimbalist says. “These things are making the United States — and South Florida specifically — much more attractive for people to bring their yachts. And while people are here they can go to the boat shows and use all the facilities that South Florida has to offer for cruisers. All of those things are great in making us an even stronger yachting capital of the world.”

Transportation, parking, VIP packages

Although organizers were still working on details, Show Management says there will be transportation to connect Yachts Miami Beach with the NMMA show, or at least to a connection to one of that show’s bus or water taxi stops. They also will run transportation between Yachts Miami Beach and Deep Harbour — another reason it’s important for potential buyers of those yachts to schedule appointments in advance.

“We’d hate for them to get all the way out there and wind up having to wait because the yacht is already being shown, for instance,” Zimbalist says. All of the brokerage firms exhibiting at Deep Harbour will have a presence along Collins Avenue, so potential clients can book appointments and work out transportation with the brokers.

Additionally, organizers have been working closely with city officials to ensure that traffic runs as smoothly as possible and there are minimal disruptions to typical traffic flow. Additional parking also will be available this year, Zimbalist says.

The show is offering VIP packages, which are available Feb. 11-13 and give visitors access to valet parking at the show, catering at an on-site VIP lounge from noon to 7 p.m. and private tour access on board yachts through an on-site concierge. They also allow visitors to schedule car service from Collins Avenue to Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina.

Guests will be invited to the Yachts After Dark invitation-only “yacht hop” on Feb. 11 from 7 to 10 p.m. and the superyacht invitation-only event from the International SeaKeepers Society on Feb. 13 from 8 to 11 p.m. at Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina. VIP packages can be purchased for one or three days.

“South Miami Beach is a happening place, and people come there for multiple reasons — to catch the scene, go to the beach, see the boat show and go to great restaurants,” says Zimbalist. “We think this year’s show will be a great one.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue.



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