The Cannes Yachting Festival in France is scheduled to run Sept. 10-15, with nearly 700 boats on display, including 550 in the water, collectively valued at $1.1 billion. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend what is considered the first major consumer boat show of the season. Sales are expected to be about $61 million.
Traditionally, the show has been held at Le Vieux Port, also known as the Old Harbor. There will be two main sites this year: Old Harbor, for powerboats and motoryachts, and Port Canto, for the sailboat portion of the show. The new venue is expected to host 120 sailboats from 30 to 115 feet, with 2,600 feet of docks and 43,000 square feet of floor space. Port Canto will also have a toys area for jet boards, personal watercraft and more.
“Our customers have always asked for more space, and there have been more and more requests,” says Sylvie Ernoult, show director. “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 especially 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,” says Thierry Berest, area sales engineer for Yanmar Europe. “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 throughout the show’s 2 miles of floating docks for other types of boats. The event’s luxury gallery is larger as well, to feature more tableware, linens, accessories, jewelry, fashion and other interior items.
Events during the show include a concours d’élegance for yachts smaller than 40 feet with at least one female crewmember, and a Riviera Card that provides VIP access to such perks as gourmet lunch and helicopter transfer from the airport.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue.