Now in its 8th year, the Antibes Yacht Show (AYS) has established itself as a yacht brokers early season shop window for securing some sales of large luxury yachts, and a place for professional superyacht crews to gather before heading off on their summer cruises.
This year signalled a change of management for the event and heralded a decision to allow yacht builders and sales brokers to participate for the first time. This saw the famous Italian luxury boatbuilder Azimut showing up with some stunning yachts, and also the UK shipyard Pendennis, plus the Dutch Royal Huisman putting in an appearance, both of them heavily promoting their superyacht refit capabilities.
With the post recession price reductions still very much in evidence on pre-owned superyachts there has been a strong growth in refit projects, with owners choosing to grab bargains, at prices sometimes 40% below pre 2008 levels. They then often spend the difference on having the yacht completely refitted with their own personal tastes fully reflected in the interior furnishings etc. So, the opening day of the 2014 Antibes Yacht Show was greeted with clear blue skies overhead, a pleasant breeze and temperatures nudging the low 20′s C. At 15.00hrs a small crowd gathered to see the mayor of Juan-les-Pins cut the tape and declare the show officially open.
It was indeed a great day for dock walking and taking in the sights of all the well-prepared shiny yachts. Their crews smartly dressed in crisp white uniforms, and all waiting for new owners or charterers to come on board, view the goods, and hopefully spend! Being principally a brokerage show, one thing that AYS clearly manages to demonstrate is that a lot of good value, solidly built and well maintained boats are available in the market at fair value prices, without potential buyers having to delve into new builds. As an extra bonus, and almost as if arranged especially on the day, visitors were treated to the sight of the massive megayacht MY Dilbar slipping stealthily into the port.
All heads turned and conversations stopped in mid flow, as her unmissable profile virtually filled the skyline before she slowly turned, went astern and tied up on her berth right next to the show area. Superyacht Dilbar is a 110 metre (361 ft) long steel yacht, with aluminium superstructure built by the Lurrsen yard in Germany and launched in 2008. She accommodates 20 passengers and 47 crew.
Her owner is Russian oligarch, Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov who has an estimated fortune of USD 18 billion, he is said to be one of Russia’s wealthiest men, and the world’s 34th richest person.