The Antibes Yacht Show today reported attendance of 15,148. Organisers said it is the first time the show has broken the 15,000-visitor mark since it started in 2007.

The four-day event, which included a live yacht auction, took place April 18-21 on the docks of the old harbour and the International Yacht Club of Antibes. This year’s show took up a smaller footprint because of the organizers’ decision to concentrate on yachts above 20m. Many smaller-boat exhibitors were missing from this year’s show.

“I think the show was better because we focused on the larger yachts,” Muriel Penoty, the show’s organizer, told Superyacht Business. “Not being so spread out was better for the exhibitors, and it also meant there were fewer curious visitors and more quality people.”

Attendance seemed quiet for much of opening day, but after the show’s official opening by Antibes Mayor Jean Leonetti, the crowds were more in evidence on the docks and exhibit tents. It was busiest over the weekend.

Penoty did not say whether the number of exhibitors was smaller than last year. “We had a bigger tent on the IYCA, which compensated for the exhibitors of the smaller boats we used to have,” she said.

Most exhibitors seemed busy during the show. “We saw some good prospects at the show, including some Chinese people who made an offer on one of our yachts,” says Foulques de Raigniac, a broker with Gaspard Yachts. “It wasn’t as busy as last year, but we had more concrete activity. We considered it a good show.”

The International Superyacht Society (ISS) held all-day seminars on Friday on issues impacting superyacht owners and crew. Nearly 100 attended the closing sessions. There were also seminars and recruitment sessions for visiting crew held at the crew lounge.

A new chef lounge was also established this year, in which a Michelin-recognized chef from Gourmet Deliveries met with yacht chefs and participated in scheduled activities.

The new Vicem 46m Vulcan flagship was officially launched at the show, the only new yacht along the docks. “We chose the Antibes show as our launch point, rather than waiting for Cannes or Monaco, so the boat would be seen before summer,” Sebahattin Hafizoglu, Vicem chairman, told Superyacht Business. “We also felt Antibes was a good backdrop for a superyacht of this caliber. It fits right into the Cote D’Azur.”

The highlight of the show was the Prestige Yacht Auction, held on Saturday afternoon. Styled like a fine-arts auction, with a professional French auctioneer and a live television feed to the Star Deck in Monaco, the event succeeded in selling the 77.7m expedition vessel Lone Ranger, as well as creating post-auction bids on several other yachts.

“We were extremely pleased with what the auction achieved,” Tim Morley, the Monaco-based broker who set up the event, told Superyacht Business. “We were hoping for at least one or two boats being sold. The brokers involved on both sides of the sale were happy, and the owners appreciated our professionalism.” The event had a room at the yacht club, but the prevailing bidder was at the satellite Monaco location.

Lone Ranger was reportedly the only yacht sold by the show’s end, though the auction put Oracle Star on the radar screen of multiple buyers. “After the auction, the boat had three bidders who brought the price 22 per cent higher than its reserve price in the auction,” says Morley. “Within 48 hours, a deposit was paid for the boat.” Morley, who plans to hold the auction again during the Monaco show, earlier told SB it could be an annual event at the Antibes show.

Image: aerial view of this year’s show