By Peter Franklin
Antibes Yacht Show (AYS) has been a great season opener in the Med during its eight years in existence, providing a conveniently located shop window for yacht brokers, and a well timed gathering point for professional crew before heading off on summer cruises.
The cosy feel in Port Vauban with the show area dramatically bordered by the original Roman stone city wall, and the warmth of the early spring sunshine was still in evidence this year, as was the popular and topical ‘Captains Lounge’ seminars held in the shore side marquee each day.
Speakers at the seminars delivered important updates on such issues as the confusing VAT situation for yachts across the various EU states, and the equally confounding, but still incomplete new legislation for charter licensing in Greece.
But despite all of this, one familiar element that has characterised AYS in previous years was missing…and that was the buzz and bustle of a yacht show that is really on top of its game and growing. There were noticeably less international brokers, exhibitors and visitors at the show, and there seemed to be a lot more local French companies who were there to make up the numbers.
That said, two of the yachts I visited were entered by French based brokers who seemed happy with their decision. West Med charter specialists Mover and Shaker International were offering the Azimut 110 – MY Avella for a year round price of 42,000 euros per week, and had quite a few prospective clients lined up for inspections.
And, Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokers, had secured a great berth starboard side to, on her own finger pier for the 45m (147ft) super maxi yacht – Mari Cha III. They too were confident of seeing serious prospective buyers during the show who might part with the $12.95 million US required, in order to become the new owner of this very special performance cruising yacht.
Although the timing of AYS is perfect in one sense, it has to be said that its closeness to two other big Mediterranean yacht shows this year, namely Genoa and Palma de Mallorca must have had some influence on the decision making of many brokers, who would find it financially and logistically difficult (if not impossible) to be at all three events.
I put this to AYS sales manager and organiser Petra Malloier, and I also asked her if she thought that the removal of the 12% matriculation tax on charter yachts in Spain had had an effect on the activity at AYS.
Malloier said; “I don’t think the tax in Spain changes anything regarding our show. The yacht owners want to be in and around the French Riviera. Tax or no tax, the Riviera is just the place to be!”
She continued; “The Palma Superyacht Show certainly does affect us, lets be honest, it must harm our business. Before some yachts came from Palma to the South of France to participate in the show, but this year that did not happen. So of course the Palma show does hurt us, but I would not say that its a big threat.”
Total yachts and exhibitors at AYS numbered around 100, and the show closed on Saturday 26th April..