The world’s largest in-water marine industry event, the Fort Lauderdale International Boatshow (FLIBS) kicked off on 25 October to receive mixed reviews from exhibitors. For this 53rd edition, on display were boats, yachts, electronics and engines to the value of approximately $3bn.

At 10am on opening day, exhibitors were unimpressed by the apparent lack of preparedness by organizers. The show opened unceremoniously with walkways still being carpeted as the first visitors drifted through the tents. The aerial flyover, which had been planned for 10am, was re-scheduled due to the rough weather.

Talk of the weather (rather than the industry) dominated Thursday as exhibitors braced themselves for the ominous looking front coming in off the Caribbean, where dozens of lives had already been lost. By late afternoon, the 400/500 Tent was evacuated amid fears for exhibitors’ safety. The move proved to be prudent, as some time later, the tent tops were blown open, leaving stands vulnerable to the lashing wind and rain.

Meanwhile, it was business as usual in the Shipbuilders’ Tent, where exhibitors drank early evening beers demonstrating a “keep calm and carry on” attitude. It was only when whistle-blowing local fire crew trooped through the tent, close to 6pm, that people finally reluctantly left for the evening. The abandoned tent was left flexing and rippling dramatically, posing the question as to whether it would still be standing in the morning.

From Friday, as Hurricane Sandy made its way north, the weather calmed somewhat, although winds were still strong. By Saturday the sun encouraged many more visitors, giving certain areas of the show a crowded but relaxed atmosphere.

During FLIBS, many yacht builders placed a strong emphasis on decentralization and the extension of worldwide service networks. The Ferretti Group, who are leading builders of smaller yachts (ranging from 15m to 33m), were keen to demonstrate their commitment to the US and Latin America by moving Italian employees to service departments in the area.

Benetti communicated a similar message by revealing their expectations for the growing market of the Americas. Benetti CEO, Vincenzo Poerio, said it was a “great market” and anticipated that many more boats would be sold in the coming months. Benetti explained that it was eager to “strengthen [its] sales footprint worldwide”.

Burgess consolidated its new OceanStyle division with a strong presence, displaying six yachts, at and nearby the show, ranging from 21.9m to 35.5m. Richard Lambert, Managing Director of OceanStyle Yachting comments, “The Show this year was very positive with strong interest from new and existing clients. Even though the weather caused certain disruption this did not dampen the enthusiasm from yacht buyers or the professional yachting industry.”

The Superyacht Business yacht of choice was the new 50m flagship Mangusta 165, Misunderstood, which was delivered to her owner at the beginning of the summer. By all accounts this Fort Lauderdale based attorney has already spent many hours cruising onboard with his family, the yacht having been being spotted all over the Med.

Designed by Stefano Righini, in collaboration with the Overmarine team, the Mangusta 165 is the fastest composite Maxi Open yacht ever to be built. Capable of achieving speeds of 38 knots, the yard says the yacht demonstrates very little noise and vibration even at high speed.

With the pure lines and a sporty profile more commonly seen in an open, the cavernous spaces within come as a surprise, imbuing the yacht with a tardis like quality. The main saloon is a huge, fluid space of 7,783 square metres that reaches, undivided, all the way to the helm. Putting an emphasis on attention to detail, the interior fit out is of a superior quality with even the grains of the woods matching in direction. The sense of fun the yacht is capable of bestowing on guests is palpable, with numerous details for entertainment, such as the many screens, waterslide and extendable diving board. This was a yacht the SB team did not want to leave.

Overmarine Group revealed that although the hurricane had stopped visitors, they had experienced an “interesting show”. Maurizio Balducci, CEO of Overmarine Group, comments, “This is the first 50 metre Mangusta yacht in the United States. It’s a highly successful model for Overmarine Group, as indeed the seven units delivered since she was first presented in 2007 clearly show.” During FLIBS the company announced the sale of three new units; a 50 metre flagship from the Mangusta 165 range and two of the brand new Mangusta 94 models.

Overall this year’s edition of FLIBS proved to be as eventful as ever; Sandy’s uninvited appearance, L