By Olivier Voituriez

There was a fresh breeze of optimism at the 37th Cannes Yachting Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday after its six-day run in France. “With 480 exhibitors and 550 boats, figures are similar to last year’s – but there were more world premieres this year, 95 new yachts,” Sylvie Ernoult, show manager, told SB.

Even though some yards stood out by their absence – such as Rodriguez (declared insolvent this summer), Vicem, Sessa Marine, Couach and Rhéa – the large international brands exhibited their usual number of yachts and new models.

Ferretti Group exhibited 20 yachts – three as world premières (the Custom Line Navetta 28, Ferretti Yacht 650 and Pershing 70). “Yes, there have been sales,” said Andrea Biondi from the yard’s press office.

Azimut-Benetti, which recently announced that it won’t be attending the Genoa boat show in October, exhibited 20 yachts, four as world premieres. “Cannes and Monaco are the leading on-water boat shows in Europe. Interested visitors are up on last year,” Ferrucio Luppi, CEO of the group, told SB. “As we are in the midst of business and discussions, we can’t tell you how many boats we have already sold.”

Sunseeker had 10 boats from 40ft-115ft on display. “Our usual numbers,” Murray Bray, Sunseeker France group dealer, told SB. “There has been excellent international contact. Cannes has become a vital yachting shop window. Those interested in yachts over 75ft will come to Cannes in any case. This is the busiest segment for sales.”

According to SB sources, Sunseeker sold three yachts at the show – one 28m and two Manhattan 75s.

Jean-Paul Chapeleau, general manager of the Jeanneau-Prestige brand (Groupe Beneteau), said that an international clientele turned up in greater numbers at the yard’s stands. “There have been a lot of Russians, Turks and North and South Americans – this is new – and of course a lot of Europeans.”

Halfway through the show, Chapeleau said that business was already on par with the last two years. “It’s in the second half of the show, at the weekend, that sales are made. So we have every hope of doing better than last year.”

According to Patricia Gobbi, Absolute’s general manager, attendance at her stand was up 8%. The Italian boatyard exhibited 10 boats from 40ft-72ft – two as world premieres. “We believe the European market is recovering,” she said. “We haven’t had a sales order in Italy for two years, and we’ve just received two.”

Gobbi said that Absolute has already sold a quarter of its 2015 production.