March 28, 2014
Show Time for Berthon USA
Since mid-February, the Berthon USA team have been busy on the road at 3 events which have seen them in Miami, Boston and Virgin Gorda. Now back at Mission Control in Newport and busy with the start of the season, this is what we’ve been up to –
We joined Contest MD Arjen Cornijn to show the all new Contest 42 at Miami this year and she went down an absolute storm! The weather was glorious, the sun shone without cease for the whole show. We were busy with interested yacht buyers for the whole period, and pleased to get out of the Newport gloom for such a great event. Miami was a first for us, and we came away with several good leads for new Contests, especially from South American prospects. Miami really does live up to its reputation as being the gateway to Latin America.
Not only where the South Americans out in force – but there were many Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Western Europeans. It seemed that over 50 of visitors we had were from outside the US. While we don’t have internal numbers to compare, the overall attendance was down about 6%, according to the organizers – partly due to snowstorms further up the East coast, ruining airline schedules.
The Miami show is known for its motor yachts so we were delighted to have so much interest in our pocket Dutch sailing master piece and have lots of follow ups to do. Strictly Sail Miami is its own Sailing yacht only setting, in the heart of downtown Miami, at Mia Marina. Ringed by a shopping arcade, and outdoor restaurants, the location was great, and it really didn’t feel like doing a show – it was way too pleasant!
Once the Show was completed the Contest 42 set off for the Heineken Regatta in St Martin to show the fleet a lot of her transom!
Next up – The New England Boat Show from the 22nd February to 2nd March in Boston.
Staged at Boston’s impressive 500 000 square foot Convention Centre, we had a stand at what is a local show for us, after an absence last year. The first thing we noticed was that the Show was significantly larger than 2 years ago – probably by as much as 30%. There was a noticeable lack of “activities” (by this we mean filler pieces by the show organizers to hide empty spaces), and the organizers announced that they had sold out of exhibition space about a month ahead of the show start.
Attendance was up about 12% from the 2013 to 47,000 – which is a lot! While this show typically features smaller yachts on display, many of our broker colleagues also had booths so the East Coast broker contingent was well represented.
New England Boat Show is the only indoor show we do – and is quite nice not to have to worry about the vagaries of the weather for once. Setting up and breaking down took…. maybe 30 minutes which was epic! Whilst we didn’t expect much out of the Show, we did come out with several promising leads, including one for a new Rustler 33.
After these 2 shows – next up was –
The Swan Rendezvouz at Virgin Gorda
The Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI – it’s hard to find a better place for a Regatta with excellent marina facilities, a selection of local restaurants, and of course, beautiful water with consistent breeze! It was hard to be sorry not to be in the office for this great event.
The Swan Owners’ Rendezvous is all about having fun. To go with this are fabulous yachts, great owners, and it is totally impossible not to have a blast in the perfect sunshine. The opening night was a Caribbean buffet with lots of roti and rum, which of course, the Berthon crew managed to snag as leftovers for our lunch underway the next day, too delicious! Our first race was the Around the Dogs Race, and back for a wine party at the pool.
The Berthon entrant was Swan 62 GLISSE, sold to her current owner by us, with very many thanks for her great hospitality.
Berthon Day was a perfect day in paradise, sailing from BEYC to Scrub Island, a very nice resort on the “mainland”. It was a hotly contested race between Swan 48 AFFINITY, Swan 53 NAI’A and Swan 53 (new shape) MELLIFERA to get to the pool. Line Honors went to GLISSE with her hard working Berthon crew on board and the slight squall we had on the way in created a beautiful rainbow over the marina. The afternoon was spent having fun by the pool, paddle boarding and snorkelling. The water slides participants rated by the Olympic judges, with the best performance given by Kristin who managed to not spill her beverage on the landing! Of course, many iPads also visible later in the afternoon as finally a decent Wifi connection! The staff at Scrub went out of their way to make us welcome, creating a Berthon beverage for the evening, as well as artistic fruit carvings on the buffets.
Dinner had the best view, with an amazing sunsets. In honour of the Swan yachts there were Swans carved out of melons, parrots out of pineapples, and key lime pie to die for as evidenced by those of us who hit dessert first.
The Berthon beverage, of course a rum concoction, was also a hit.
Luckily we were there on the right day, as the day we left, there was a major water main break. We did wonder if our captain used up all the water, they had the most amazing showers to be found in Tortola, with hot water that never ran out…….
One assumes that with a cruising event, yacht owners would be fairly laid back on the course – well that assumption was entirely wrong – out on the water – it was serious!
It was a case of high energy on the course with some tense moments at the starting line and mark rounding’s, minor yelling, and some equipment carnage. Of course, there was also the blisters from pushing those winch buttons that needed attention, that is, if the winch didn’t break. On GLISSE we had winch failure which caused some interesting tacking moments and some very exhausted senior grinders were seen flopping on the docks on our return.
The layday was an opportunity to sneak over to the new Yacht Club Costa Smerelda for the Lora Pianno Superyacht Regatta and watch them all come in, an unbelievable sight. Crews of 40+ were the norm, can you imagine the dinner bill?
Friday night was the pot luck on the dock, which meant that every yacht contributed food on common tables set up on the dock. Well, once again, the Berthon crew avoided the ordinary and boring. Our sea serpent filled with Green curry, appropriately named `Nessie’, was a hit, along with our charming couture eye and neck fashions, as we did a conga line down the dock, blowing away the competition. Our new central listings FIFTH SEASON, an immaculate 2006 Swan 53, was also open for boarding and inspection.
The classic ending is the Around Virgin Gorda Race, which has a tendency to be a drifter on the back side of the island. Not this year, it was a great time, with once again GLISSE scooping line honors, third place on corrected time, and the Bitter End Perpetual Trophy for the best elapsed time.
This was a first for the owner, so with a little convincing, the management allowed the trophy to go on an overnight visit to the yacht, where it took on a life of its own –
It was spotted wearing hats, lounging in the cockpit, having a night out at the pub where this very intoxicated young Irish lad and simply being photogenic. The last dinner was under the stars with a steel drum band concluded the Swan Owners Rendezvous.
A great event, our thanks to the organizers, and for the opportunity to be involved – we had a ball.