James Nolan, long-time Boats.com friend and colleague, sent along the following report with highlights from one of Europe's very special boat shows, the Cannes International Boat & Yacht Show, held early in September every year.
James Nolan writes:
Geographic location, stunning scenery and almost perfect weather are some of the reasons that set the boat show in Cannes apart, but there are at least two more. Boat shows can and do have various formats. For some it is as much about the accessories as boat; for others it is family entertainment; but for Cannes, it is all about the boats. There were around 500 on display at this year’s show that took place Sept 8 to 13. The boats at this show tend to be bigger (169 over 20 metres / 65 feet) plus there are a large number of models making their first show appearance (139 at this year’s show).
There were so many new models that it was impossible to see them all and it became a highly subjective decision to determine what it was that set each of them apart from their older competitors. But after three day of conversations at the show, it became apparent that many builders had focused on an important common denominator: increasing the amount of space available for the social activities of conversation, dining, and swimming.
Notable examples included British boat builder Fairline with their Squadron 42; while the smallest in the Fairline Squadron range, the 42 has a flybridge the same size as a 48, together with an expanded dining area. Beneteau introduced their new range of SENSE cruising yachts at the show, and the most visible innovation is the both large and wide stern cockpit, with comfortable seating and easy water access for swimming.
Perhaps the grandest example was Polish boat builder Sunreef Yachts, which introduced one of the biggest cruising sailing catamarans in the world, the Sunreef 102. Although the boat was designed to go into charter, the Swiss owner has a school and had the boat also designed with his students in mind. It can take up to 12 people on charter together with a crew of 5. The huge outdoor space is one of the best assets of large cruising catamarans. Passengers have a choice of staying in the shade of the 50-square-metre cockpit or can enjoy sunbathing on the equally large flybridge and bow nets. The covered cockpit has a long sofa and table to ensure comfortable dining and relaxing moments for the guests. In the evening, a “starry sky” effect will be ensured thanks to the discrete LED lights in the ceiling. The flybridge is supplied with a fully equipped bar and dining area along with deck chairs to relax while sunbathing.
Space is, of course, the final frontier, and no discussion of it would be complete without the mention of Wally Yachts, builders of some of the most modern and dramatic power boat designs. The 55 Wallypower, which made its debut at Cannes, continues to push the boundaries. Its sleek black design is contrasted by large amounts of teak-decked open space. Incorporated into the design is a multifunctional hydraulically powered platform at the stern. It serves as a passerelle, swim ladder, tender lift and loading platform, making getting on and off the boat or in and out of the water a much more elegant affair. When fully opened it triples the size of the stern platform.