FORT LAUDERDALE BOAT SHOW, OFF TO A SOGGY START, ENDS UP A SUCCESS
As the late-season Tropical Storm Sandy gained strength just a short distance offshore, all rallied, “The show must go on.” Tents went up and everyone tried to put on a brave face in spite of the sparse traffic on opening day – generally reserved for VIPs – amid gale-force winds and showers. Friday’s traffic was little better, and potential customers who braved the weather seemed eager to deal.
From the charter perspective, the show was a success with a steady stream of qualified clients requesting additional information and a chance to view the lovely yachts. Crews were relaxed and gracious when meeting their guests and escorting them through their yachts and answering a myriad of questions. More than one plate of gourmet cookies was passed around to smiling visitors, thanks to chefs “putting their best foot forward.”
The sheer size of the show, reportedly over three million square feet – and representing more than $3 billion worth of yachts, engines and gear – still challenges visitors to see the whole thing. For many, this is a rare opportunity to see such huge yachts such as the 200-foot Benetti DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER towering above the main face dock at the Bahia Mar.
Although comments about rescheduling the show beyond hurricane season and grumpy comments about the weather in general prevailed, the clientele appeared to be of a serious nature and in a cautious buying mood. One exhibitor chimed in, “Boating is, after all, all about weather.”