Boating: Bahamian Rhapsody

  • Fluto Shinzawa

As its second edition approaches, the International Yacht & Jet Show already has a legend attached to it. The story goes that a Scottish gentleman was enjoying his vacation in the Bahamas last April, and after gambling (presumably with some degree of success) in the casino at Atlantis, the Paradise Island resort, he decided to purchase a yacht. Coincidentally, he learned from the Atlantis casino manager, the IY&JS was taking place five minutes away at the Hurricane Hole Yacht Club.

The Scot visited the show, had his fancy caught by a 118-foot Millennium yacht, and asked Millennium Super Yachts founder John Staluppi about the price of the boat. When told that it was $7.6 million, the Scotsman balked and countered with a $7.3 million offer. Staluppi refused. After fruitlessly haggling over the price, the Scot proposed that they flip a coin for the $300,000 difference. Staluppi agreed—and won. "He was quite happy," says show president Peter Bryant, insisting that the story is true.

This year, Bryant expects the IY&JS (April 25 through 27) to draw even more serious buyers (and perhaps the occasional high-stakes coin-flipper). In fact, he hopes to double last year’s attendance of 1,200, while at the same time maintaining an air of exclusivity. The event is modeled after the Monaco Yacht Show, where the items on sale are strictly yachts; mass-market merchandise such as bilge pumps and T-shirts, staples at the crowded Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the Miami International Boat Show, are not available. "What Monaco does very well is keep it a high-end event," Bryant says. "Through security, they keep out the tire-kickers. Personalities come to the show and they don’t get mobbed by people. They stroll leisurely and have a nice time."

Large-scale shows such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami attract the most yachts, boatbuilders, and industry professionals, but for serious buyers, the shows can be difficult to negotiate. "Fort Lauderdale is a hell of a boat show, but their gate is a big revenue," Bryant says. "They want everybody and their brother to come along. We will never become the Fort Lauderdale show. We don’t have the space and the slips to become that. What we have space for is to have a high-end social occasion wrapped around a yacht and jet show."

Last year, the 118-foot Millennium plus a 105-foot Broward sportfisherman and a 76-foot Donzi were purchased at the show. Trinity Yachts, Cheoy Lee Shipyards, and Broward are among the boatbuilders that will display yachts this year, while Merle Wood & Associates, International Yacht Collection, Chamberlain Yacht Sales, and other yacht brokerage firms will bring some of their inventory to the show, ranging from go-fasts to fishing boats to superyachts.

The show will also include a jet exhibit at Million Air, a Nassau fixed-base operator, where local charter companies will display their planes and promote their services. A helicopter shuttle will be available for flights between Hurricane Hole and Million Air (traffic can make downtown Nassau resemble Manhattan). And if you prefer to mix some pleasure with your business in the Bahamas, remember that the Atlantis casino is just minutes away from the show, though legend has it that the most intriguing wagers can take place on the docks.

International Yacht & Jet Show, 561.279.0410, www.iyjs.com

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