Charter broker Rebecca Riley of Paradise Yacht Charters attended the 2011 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October. Here is her report from the docks based on a conversation with CharterWave editor Kim Kavin.
I heard the weather was nasty. Were there any charter clients on the docks at all?
I was very busy this year. I had many more clients attending than a couple of years ago, for sure. The mood was generally upbeat. I sensed a pent-up demand from both buyers and charterers who have been on the sidelines for a couple of years and who are anxious to get back on the water.
With that said, the weather was indeed horrid. It was brutally hot and humid the first day, and then there were torrential rains. From Friday to Sunday we had 11 inches of rain! This certainly cut down on traffic, but the people who were at this year’s show were serious about yachting.
What were some of the best charter yachts you saw?
I was thrilled to see the 2002 Trinity motoryacht Wheels, a 124-footer that just completed a refit. This yacht has always been well-maintained, but the owner has just redone the main saloon furnishings and décor, as well as new deck furnishings, giving her a fresh and updated look.
This is a great yacht with five staterooms including a main-deck VIP that is perfect for guests wanting to avoid stairs to lower-deck accommodations. It is great to have a five-stateroom yacht that charters for a base rate of $50,000 a week.
What did you hear about the upcoming winter charter season. Are bookings coming in?
This is a great charter season for me. Several holiday charters are already booked , and I’m working on three more right now.
Yachts seem to have been heavily booked this summer, and that trend is continuing into the winter season. I already have a few charters booked for next spring and summer, too.
What other trends did you notice at the Fort Lauderdale show in terms of charter?
I’m noticing less willingness on the part of owners to negotiate weekly base rates. Some yachts have reduced their prices during the past couple of years to be more competitive, and since bookings are returning to the levels of three or four years ago, the owners don’t feel the need to discount any further.
Some will still give a reasonable free delivery – or perhaps eight days for the price of seven – but that’s about it. And even then, these exceptions are limited to off peak times and locations.
To contact charter broker Rebecca Riley directly, check out the Paradise Yacht Charters website.
Editor’s Note: Paradise Yacht Charters is a sponsor of CharterWave, where this blog originates.