Monaco Yacht Show eyes economic turning point

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It is always questionable at the Monaco Yacht Show what the bigger spectacle is: the superyachts in the glittering waters of the Port Hercules, teak decks shimmering in the sun; or the customers who come to shop, hoping to drop their next 100 million euros on a floating palace.

Where boats are concerned, nothing is too outlandish, according to the Wall Street Journal. One of the biggest show-stoppers this year will be Oceanco's Nirvana, displayed in broker Edmiston & Co.'s new quay. The 88.5-meter boat comes complete with two reptile tanks, containing water dragons, bearded lizards and exotic frogs, and a retractable swimming-pool cover to turn one's sunset swim into an evening dance floor (yours for 230 million euros).

Or there's Feadship's 78.5-meter Hampshire 2, whose helicopter landing pad can be transformed into a tennis, netball or baseball court at the touch of a button (price upon request).

As for the clientele, the Sept. 19-22 show is where suntans come in one color — all-year round.

But gloss aside, those inside the yachting world are hoping the event will attract some much-needed cash to the industry, which has been hampered by the recession, even if it comes at a discount.

"Simply due to the nature of the market, people will be looking for a good deal," Rory Trahair of Edmiston told the paper. "You don't need to pay a premium. It is a buyers' market, no question. However, sellers are unwilling to accept that the market has changed, so our job is to negotiate."

"There are boats which will have 40 percent off their original build cost," Jonathan Beckett, chief executive of Burgess Yachts, told the paper. "Everyone is looking for a deal. However, there is a difference between a deal and a steal."

Despite that, the mood remains cautiously optimistic. "Everyone is hoping for this great upsurge," says Mike Reeves, of yacht interior designers Claydon Reeves, which is bringing its glass-sided concept yacht Exo to the show.. "It has been very flat for a while and the boom time is over, but maybe this is the big turning point."

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