Monaco Yacht Show: A place for millionaires -- and millennials?

Since its debut nearly three decades ago, The Monaco Yacht Show has become one of the most prestigious event...

Posted: Sep 25, 2018 2:08 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2018 2:08 PM

Since its debut nearly three decades ago, The Monaco Yacht Show has become one of the most prestigious event in the yachting calendar.

From Wednesday, as many as 120 superyachts will be on showcase at Port Hercules, attracting prospective buyers who aspire to travel the world in style.

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And research suggests the age of those buyers is coming down, while the way they view yachting is evolving, too.

Within the next 20 years, the superyacht owner median age -- which is currently between 45 and 55 -- will drop by 10 to 15 years.

The reason for this, the Monaco Yacht Show suggests, is that yachting is simply an "occasional pastime" for millennials.

It's one part of a fast-moving, self-made lifestyle. For them, a yacht is more like a "floating pied-à-terre" for attending luxury events -- from the Monaco Grand Prix to the Cannes Film Festival.

Johan Pizzardini, communications and media manager for the Monaco Yacht Show, says many millennials don't want to be tied down by superyacht ownership, with chartering becoming a more appealing option.

"They're more adventurous," he tells CNN of a group of people now in their 20s and 30s. "New millennials say 'I want to charter a boat this week and next week I'd like to be somewhere else in the world so I'll have another boat.'

READ: Seduced by the whims and charms of sailing the Mediterranean

The younger clients are more interested in what water toys are available onboard, rather than the mahogany furniture, and they want to be more connected to the water. So this means more outdoor entertaining areas such as beach clubs and large decks.

"The way people consume superyachts has changed with the new clients that are entering yachting," Pizzardini says.

READ: Come sail the world -- with 35 other yachts

The most 'outstanding' offering in superyachting

A fleet of unique superyachts will be on display between September 26 and 29 for this year's show -- with 40 vessels making their worldwide debut.

"Every year the fleet is different," Pizzardini says. "Half of the fleet is less than two years old -- so it's a very young fleet.

"If you want to find all these boats in a year you'd have to travel the seven seas -- you'd have to go to the Netherlands, to Germany, to Italy, to Turkey to visit the shipyards.

"But when you're in Monaco you can see the youngest fleet and the most outstanding offering in superyachting ... It's considered a world superyacht hub for the key players."

Among the vessels on display is the new and highly anticipated 295ft Dar superyacht. It'll be the third largest vessel on show with Kismet being the largest -- the award-winning 312ft boat belonging to billionaire Sahid Khan, owner of the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars and English Premier League side Fulham.

The show also offer its premium "Sapphire Experience" service, which provides a money-can't-buy concierge service to VIP guests looking to enter the world of luxury yachting.

READ: Glass, silence and no offices -- What the super rich want on a superyacht

"No one can buy it even if you have the money," Pizzardini says, adding that it's a personalized schedule for people who have little-to-no experience in yachting.

"There is a selection (process) before (the Monaco Yacht Show) and we search to make sure that the ones that would like to have a 'Sapphire Experience' program is really interested in chartering or purchasing a yacht."

As part of the experience, guests are invited to the opening gala, and are given private visits onboard superyachts as well as an exclusive tour of the bay.

First time buyers could be looking at spending up to $62M, with yachts like Amels' Boadicea on sale.

'It's our key event of the calendar'

Jim Dixon from Winch Design -- an award-winning British design studio -- explains that the Monaco Yacht Show is something the studio wouldn't dare miss.

"There are other events and other shows throughout the year but I think everybody recognizes that Monaco is the main event," he says.

"It attracts clients from around the world -- whether they're buying an existing superyacht, or they're looking to charter a superyacht, or they're looking to build something new -- there's so many various different reasons why people would attend it but it's a big show and it attracts a lot of people.

"We don't miss it, every year it's in the calendar."

Dixon says months of preparation is spent ahead of Monaco.

"It is really our key event of the calendar and it's our stage to promote ourselves to clients, to the industry, to shipyards and to suppliers.

"It might be an opportunity for us to launch new concepts and new ideas that we've been working on over the previous months. Usually, we'll have a boat or several boats there built by different ship yards."

READ: Is yacht hacking the nest big cybercrime?

As well as hosting discussions, the show is an opportunity for Winch to schedule appointments in advance with various connections such as clients and shipyards.

"We've been around the industry for such a long time that people know we're going to be there and if they want to talk to us that's where they can do so."

READ: Confessions of a superyacht stewardess

Superyacht stewardess and on-board yoga teacher, Chelsea Nielsen, says the Monaco Yacht Show is one of the best places to be if you're looking for work on a boat.

"That's how you start building contacts and start building your CV," she tells CNN Sport. "Anywhere you can be during any big boat show is a really great way."

The Monaco Yacht Show also has a Captains and Crew Lounge -- a place where they can be thanked for their hard work onboard, Pizzardini says.

"There's a lounge where they can come for refreshments, breakfast, lunch, speed job meetings," he says.

"It's a hide out specifically for them where they can chat, play music, drink a little bit and then Friday night we organize a special party for them with gifts.

"It's a chance to celebrate and thank the captains and crew members that are part of the industry."

Visit CNN.com/sailing to read more news and features

Ultimately, Pizzardini says, that's what the Monaco Yacht Show is -- a celebration of the quintessence of the superyacht lifestyle

And with over 36,000 participants and attendees, for those in the market for a new superyacht, Port Hercules is the place to be.

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