By David Robinson

Tahiti became the centre of focus for the Asia Pacific yacht market late last week with two events held on consecutive days. The Association of Yacht Support Services (AYSS) held its annual PacificNet meeting followed by Superyacht Australia’s 2nd Annual Australia Tahiti Rendezvous.

“This first AYSS PacificNet in Tahiti was a nice success with AYSS agents attending from several countries including Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Fiji. AYSS regional members did have some discussions on how to improve the various charter regulations in the South Pacific to open doors to this particular market,” Etienne Boutin, founder and chief executive of Tahiti Ocean, an AYSS member in Tahiti, told SB.

Captains and crew attended the event to gain Pacific cruising knowledge and meet visiting regional AYSS Yacht Agents. Attendees included crew from sailing superyachts Erica XII, Mondango 3, Douce France, Nephele, Silvertip, Bliss, Salperton, and motoryachts Ultimate Lady and Jambo, both based for charter in Tahiti.

Members of the Australian industry also attended the meeting, including Maryanne Edwards from Superyacht Australia, Steve Fisher from Rivergate marina, Steven Mitchell from Sydney City Marine and Peter Luke from Superyacht Solutions.

“Figures of visiting yachts have been quite steady for a long while, since the America’s Cup in Auckland in 1999 and Sydney’s Olympics in 2000. There are around 45 to 50 yachts over 24m (78ft) calling in Tahiti and further west every year, with better years up to 55 in 2013, and bad years like now at a prospective 35 for 2014,” commented Tahiti Ocean’s Boutin.

“No real explanation could be found for this 25% drop of visits from the average but the Brazil World Cup was thought to have possibly attracted some yachts away,” he said. “Eventually, the round the world tour only attracts a mere 1% of the total luxury yacht fleet every year and this must tell a lot about the motivations behind yacht ownership today.”

In its second edition, the Superyacht Australia Rendezvous drew to a close with a positive mood as attendees hope that more events to come.

Consideration is also being given to New Zealand sharing in the event next year following the recent joint promotion agreement between Australia and New Zealand.

Other plans in consideration include to holding an event in the northern hemisphere such as at the Monaco show.

A further rendezvous for ‘puddle duckers’ smaller yachts in the 10m-16m (35ft-55ft) that venture across the Pacific, is due to be held in Tahiti next weekend. Some 80 yachts are expected to attend.

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