The 22nd, Dubai International Boat Show has had a phenomenal opening, with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opening the event to the public on the 4th of March, continuing till the 8th, showcasing 430 boats, valued at 1.8 billion AED, from a wide variety of fifty different global and local brands. With the whole world looking up to Dubai, especially after the World Expo 2020, the boat show is definitely a good start for the city to showcase its place in the world as an economic and financial centre. Moreover, hosting the Expo 2020 is also set to have a significant impact on the marine industry in Dubai and the UAE, acting as a catalyst for economic growth, attracting more high net worth individuals and investors to the country, marine industry experts say. Over the past few years, the Dubai marina has successfully managed to grow itself into a fully serviced yacht marina, where a yacht owner not only get their basic mooring, but also get facilities and services where they can take care of their yachts. The boat show is now recognised as one of the top ten in the world and this definitely is considered as a major platform for builders and exhibitors, both local and international.
There is a trend into new market segment; with purchasers preferring new models, latest technologies, locally well-built yachts, and so on, in contrast to owning a second hand yacht. Moreover, survey shows that a relatively high amount of 'High Net Worth' individuals are located in the Middle East region, indirectly influencing the yachting industry. With the country returning to a stable economy, the Dubai yachting industry is looking forward to a brighter future, with more people showing an interest and willingness to buy, relatively affordable, mid-size and small boats and yachts. The show, which is organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre, is expected to draw more than 26,000 visitors from 70 different countries over the five days at the Dubai International Marina Club, Mina Seyahi.
This year's show included twenty percent of new companies and brands, many featuring local builders. The regional launches included new models from Sunseeker; a British manufacturer, ArtMarine, Sea & Desert by Azimut, Princess - 21st Century, Gulf Development Systems, Seapros, Permare, Ray Marine.
Chris Craft, an American manufacturer of small luxury boats, has had its eighth successful exhibition at this year boat show. According to Chris Stokes, the UAE based broker for the manufacturer, the Middle East is a market with an enormous potential for the yachting industry, with more than 70 percent of the wealthy people living in the region. He compared the boat and yacht industry to the cars, when they were first launched in the region, where everybody wanted to get a new car. Thus many similarities can be found in the yachting industry as well. Eight years ago when they started, people were just interested in buying boats, mostly, the cheapest ones among the collection, whereas now a days, the customers are more educated and well informed about the industry, the trends and the products, and therefore, they are more focused on quality and value now a days, even if they have to pay more. Moreover, according to Chris, an expert in the industry, the Dubai boat show has its own advantage, with the setting, the central location with access to the city. However, there exist many limitations and areas where the show can improve to match with the industry's best, such as, the Fort Lauderdale boat show or the Monaco boat show. One is to focus on expanding the size of the marina, to accommodate more boats. With more room, more international manufacturers will come for exhibition, the show will develop and therefore the market as well. And as for the perfect luxury getaway for a yacht traveller, his recommendation is Seychelles, a cluster of beautiful islands located in the Indian Ocean.
The planned, world's largest and fastest-ever all-aluminium yacht, the Silver-Fast, which is 77 meters long which is under construction, will also be announced at the show.
The latest trends in the Middle East market, is the shift towards quality. A well-built and beautifully crafted boat can sell like a hotcake in the current market. Other things include innovation in technology, such as touch screen controls for navigation systems. The demand for pre-owned small boats is also increasing in the area.
Top Five Yachts
1) OceanCo – Nirvana
Length: 86.11 metres
Draft: 3.9 metres
Maximum speed: 20 knots
Undoubtedly the most luxurious, excessive yacht to ever appear at the Dubai International Boat Show is the aptly named Nirvana by Oceanco. At 86-metres, the vessel is not only the largest craft to be showcased, but also the most expensive – costing would-be yachters an astounding US $316 million to buy.
Aside from its own helicopter, two large tenders and numerous jet skis, Nirvana comes complete with luxury en suite accommodation for 12 guests (including four VIP Queen Suites), an oval-shaped 7.5-metre pool and a fully equipped gym. There’s even an on-board cinema (with popcorn machine) and an iguana enclosure in the yacht’s rainforest-themed living area. Nirvana, is one of the top 50 longest mega-yachts in the world and the exhibitor's largest-ever mega-yacht to date. She has a range of 6,800 nautical miles, a maximum speed of 19.5 knots and can accommodate 12 guests in 6 cabins with 27 crew on-board.
2) Wider 42’
Length: 13.3 metres
Draft: 0.88 metres
Maximum speed: 50 knots
For sea lovers who adhere wholeheartedly to the saying “size isn’t everything”, the Wider 42’ could be the perfect yacht for you. Although by no means the largest boat at the show, the 13-metre vessel is certainly one of the most innovative, boasting a unique feature that dramatically increases usable surface area.
At the touch of a button, automatic platforms extend either side of the hull, effectively doubling your waterborne partying space, while simultaneously making you feel like a gadget-toting secret agent.
3) Sunseeker 80 Sport Yacht
Length: 24.72 metres
Draft: 2 metres
Maximum speed: 42 knots
With Sunseeker yachts gracing the silver screen in numerous Bond movies (from Die Another Day to Quantum of Solace), there is no vessel at the Boat Show that will make you feel more like 007 than the 80 Sport Yacht. Debuting in the Middle Eastern region, the boat’s streamlined exterior hides four bedrooms, a crew quarters and luxury living room – adorned with plush leather sofas and a dedicated dining area.
The company has also announced its new flagship 155 Yacht. Available in summer 2014, this vessel is perfectly designed to ferry 12 passengers and 10 crew around the pristine islands of the Caribbean.
4) Gulf Craft Majesty 135
Length: 41 metres
Draft: 2.1 metres
Maximum speed: 23 knots
As one of the larger crafts currently moored in the United Arab Emirates, the sizeable Majesty 135 by Gulf Craft is also arguably the most opulent. With interiors created by Cyrille Bieri Designs, the vessel features an expansive main saloon, panoramic upper deck dining area and a built-in fly-bridge pool.
Everything from the yacht’s bow seating area to the master bedroom’s en suite can be fully customised to the owner’s specifications, ensuring that no two crafts are exactly alike. As if this wasn’t enough, Gulf Craft has also announced the construction of the significantly larger Majesty 155 –the biggest vessel that the company has ever made.
5) Lürssen Yachts Quattroelle
Length: 86.11 metres
Draft: 3.9 metres
Maximum speed: 55 knots
Over the next several days, Quattroelle will cast an impressive shadow over many of the boats at Dubai Marina Yacht Club. It certainly sticks out as one of the most imposing vessels on show, and for good reason. Across its six decks, the craft comfortably accommodates 12 guests in six spacious suites, while an eight-person spa pool, on-board dive station and garage stocked to the brim with jet skis is sure to keep everybody busy.
If you would like to sample the delights that Quattroelle has to offer, the 86-metre giant will set you back an eye-watering US $1.33 million per week to charter.