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2008 Private Preview: Three for the Show

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Each October, virtually every boat manufacturer in the world comes to southeastern Florida. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has taken place annually since 1959, when it featured 47 vessels, the longest of which measured 26 feet. Last year the event covered six sites encompassing more than 3 million square feet and showcased more than 1,500 watercraft—from 16-foot tenders to 200-foot-plus superyachts. The show, which attracts 130,000 attendees on average, displays more boats than any other event of its kind on the planet, and builders scramble to ready their new craft for it.

This year’s show, from October 25 through 29, will include the world premieres of about a dozen yachts. Among these will be the 5800 Sovran from Tiara Yachts of Holland, Mich., a builder of open and express cruisers. This curvaceous, 58-foot cruiser lets in an abundance of natural light and has a good deal of open space in the helm and upper salon. The galley, positioned on its own level between the salon and the lower staterooms, is bathed in natural light from the forward windshield. The $1.5 million Sovran includes an advanced propulsion system that gives it a 520-mile range at 35 mph and a top speed of 40 mph. Its three diesel engines can be controlled by a single joystick, allowing for precise maneuvers. “We made everything as owner-friendly as possible,” says Tiara CEO David Slikkers. “The result is a yacht approaching 60 feet long that can be handled by just two people.”

The Bertram 700, the new 74-foot flagship in a renowned sportfishing line, also will premiere at Fort Lauderdale. Bertram Yacht, a division of Italy’s Ferretti boatbuilding empire, has eschewed the spartan interior of most sportfishing vessels in favor of an airy, open salon. “We designed the boat for both fishing and cruising, without sacrificing either,” says Bertram vice president Don Jones. The master stateroom includes a king-size bed and large optional side windows, and the cockpit features a mezzanine deck that is much larger than that of any other Bertram. The yacht’s price begins at about $3.8 million.

The Italian builder Azimut Yachts also is preparing a debut for the show. The $1 million 47′ Flybridge is much more spacious than similarly sized yachts, with three roomy staterooms, two of which have en suite heads. The large flybridge extends aft, sheltering the entire cockpit, and the company’s characteristic trapezoidal windows provide plenty of light inside. “One of the most important innovations on this boat is the lower-deck galley,” says Azimut CEO Federico Martini. “It’s a large, well-lit, separate space that makes it possible to cook without interfering with life aboard the yacht. We’ve also added a second dinette beside the helm station so that the owner can socialize with guests while navigating.”

Boats from Abeking & Rasmussen, Burger Boat Co., Johnson Yachts, Kingship, Lürssen Yachts, Royal Denship, Viking Yachts, and Westport Yachts are expected to debut at Fort Lauderdale as well. “All the manufacturers are pushing to finish their new boats,” notes Efrem Zimbalist III, president and CEO of Show Management, the show’s organizer. “They don’t want to miss this.”

Azimut Yachts, +39.011.93.161, www­.azimutyachts.com

Bertram Yacht, 305.633.8011, www­.bertram.com

Tiara Yachts, 616.392.7163, www­.tiarayachts.com

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