Recognized as the largest in-water boat event in the world, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is a must-visit occasion for any yacht enthusiast worth their salt. One of the top experiences on the yachting calendar, FLIBS celebrates its 60th edition this year with an entirely spectacular and ever-expanding fleet of superyachts, sport fishing vessels, go-fast boats, submersibles, and everything else in between. This year hosts a vast range of around 200 yachts over 80-foot.
Taking place from 30 October through to 3 November and with six pre-existing locations—the Bahia Mar Yachting Centre, Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Pier 66 Marina, Sails Marina/Pier 66 South and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Centre—this year’s show will debut a seventh site located at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina’s new “Pier South” property. The new location will expand the exhibition space to a total of three million square feet, all connected by an intricate network of water and ground transportation services. More importantly, the new Pier South property will host the all-new Superyacht Village, the star attraction of 2019.
A designated superyacht enclave featuring the most impressive boats in the show, the Superyacht Village’s dedicated marina and on-land exhibition space can accommodate yachts measuring up to 300-foot and will feature key exhibits by renowned shipyards. You’ll see the bonkers Mansion Yacht, the first yacht made entirely of stainless steel with four 18-foot hydraulic legs. With a lifting capacity of over 450,000kg each, the legs serve to anchor and elevate the yacht above the water as a kind of oceanfront mansion—but one that motor from beach to beach. Of course, the showstopper has to be Lürssen’s stunning and aptly named Madsummer (pictured above). Measuring an eye-popping 311 feet, this vessel is the show’s largest and newest megayacht. Marvel at designer Harrison Eidsgaard’s sleek exterior—the helipad alone looks like it could accommodate Airforce 2—or climb on board to check out the epic 39-foot swimming pool, as well as the upper-deck skylight and fireplace.
An on-site dining destination, exclusive VIP events and areas of discovery will also be present within the Superyacht Village, including a bevy of elite yacht toys that most can only dream of. Surrounding the boats in the Village, the display will take in helicopters, personal submarines, exotic and collectible automotive, and other luxury items to showcase the superyacht lifestyle. As always, there will also be an outstanding selection of luxury charter yachts, with top brokerage houses listing some of the hottest yacht real estate on the charter market at present.
If you’re only visiting for a couple of days, make some time to view the Village’s watersports demonstrations designed to help guests to improve on their skills, as well as listen in on the boat handling seminars, fishing clinics and topics of debate up for discussion hosted by Dutch media outlet SuperYacht Times. Aimed at yacht buyers, owners and professionals alike, SuperYacht Times will host three 45-minute seminars across the first three days of the show. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to step in the shoes of a yacht owner, then the 11 a.m. seminar on Friday 1 November aptly named “Yacht Owner Insight” is just the ticket. Two experienced owners—Carl Allen of Allen Exploration (owner of Westport 164-foot Gigi and 180-foot Damen Yacht Support Vessel Axis), and Brian O’Sullivan (owner of 136-foot Komokwa) will share their experiences on buying a yacht, what to look out for and what to be careful of, as well as tips on cruising destinations and yacht ownership. And if you’re in the market for a state-of-the-art vessel making its debut at the show, then you’re also in luck.
Conceived by Dutch shipyard Heesen and designed by Omega Architects, Vida is an as yet unseen 55m steel FDHF superyacht. Unable to make her promised international debut at Monaco Yacht Show, this sports fishing mothership will reveal her pioneering naval architecture and contemporary design at FLIBS instead. A stunning 760GT motor yacht with a top speed of 15.5 knots, her sistership—Project Pollux—is currently in build and set to deliver in October 2020. Sundeck Yachts is revealing its new flagship 580 model—a fast cruising trawler whose transitional hull will get up on plane with speeds up to 25 knots—and the Italian Ferretti Group is showcasing two new innovations, the Ferretti Yachts 720 and the 48′ Wallytender, alongside its extensive fleet of classic greats. Don’t miss the stunning Riva 56′ Rivale, a glamorous open-top sports cruiser and the first new model in 2017 after the passing of Carlo Riva.
Expected to achieve a 32-knot cruising speed and a top speed of 38 knots while still offering efficient cruising, the Palm Beach 70 introduced at FLIBS by Palm Beach Motor Yachts is reportedly designed to appeal to customers looking for a larger version of its efficient cruisers. Boasting an interior finished with golden teak and a spacious flying-bridge, this semi-displacement warped-hull performance yacht effortlessly cuts through water. Its shallow hull also makes it ideal for cruising the Exumas.
“The Palm Beach 70 was born from customer demand—they wanted a larger Palm Beach Motor Yacht,” explains Mark Richards, CEO and founder of Palm Beach Motor Yachts. “We had to build the yacht that we ourselves wanted too, which can stand on her own to meet our high standards of performance, hull efficiency, and aesthetics.”
Size clearly matters this year, as the brand new Azimut Atlantis 45—the first yacht of the Italian yard’s 2019-2020 season of yachts—is also the largest of the Atlantis Collection. Powered by two Volvo 600 (440HP) engines, with IPS transmissions for excellent maneuverability and speeds of up to 33 knots, the debuting Atlantis 45 is the successor of the previous Atlantis 43 model, which itself exceeded all expectations with over 140 yachts delivered in four years. At just 47-foot it offers two guest cabins, with the option of a third bed if required.
But if it’s fast and nippy that you’re after, then the Zeelander Z72, the Dutch shipyard’s 2019 flagship may just get your pulse racing. While the entire Zeelander fleet—the Z44, Z55 and Z72—will be on display at FLIBS, the Z72 has the edge with its 112-square-foot swim platform and “whisper-quiet” power delivered by triple 1,000-hp Volvo Penta IPS1350s for a whopping top speed of 40 knots. The optional propulsion system delivers full control of the yacht through helm joystick control, a wheel and throttle and shift levers.
“We really pushed the boundaries for noise and vibration reduction of the Z72,” says Floris Koopmans, marketing coordinator at Zeelander Yachts. “At full speed her measured sound levels are an astounding 72 decibels, but the experience is even quieter. All you hear is the water of the wake and people in conversation.”
Of course, it’s not just the vessels themselves that will pique the interest of spectators. Italian design company Besenzoni will be exhibiting two new products conceived specifically for the American market; the P 338 Speciale helm seat and the P 242 Seagull Automatica seat. Both designed with comfort in mind, the Speciale Version has no armrests and is mounted on a polished stainless-steel support with a manually adjusted slide while the Automatica is equipped with wide armrests, where controls or storage compartments can be inserted and accessed and is fixed onto a wide and resistant coated electrical support. In keeping with current consumer demand, both options include logo embroidery and custom stitching for the ultimate bespoke product.
Set to welcome more than 100,000 visitors, FLIBS is awash with boats and toys by day, and is a hub of entertainment by night. The Aquazone By Nautical Ventures has established itself as the go-to place to experience cutting-edge marine products, including kayaks, SUPs, yacht toys and more, while the Blue Wild Watersports and Marine Art Expo plays host to some of the world’s leading experts on a variety of stimulating topics, from freediving and underwater photography to spearfishing and lobstering, along with presentations by TV/movie celebrity Manny Puig and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Partnering with the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBASS), the 2nd Annual Sunset Soiree & Yacht Chef Competition promises to be an evening of light entertainment where guests can sample some culinary delights from four world-leading yacht chefs along with premium craft cocktails and tastings from luxury food purveyors.
Other new developments of note include the expanded parking and transportation efforts, offering locals and visitors several parking areas and six different forms of transportation options to and from the show, while The Windward VIP Club—presented by Delta Private Jets, the Official Private Jet Carrier of FLIBS, in partnership with Ulysse Nardin, the Official Timekeeper of FLIBS—will have a spectacular new in-water location anchored in the heart of the show on the main dock at Bahia Mar, providing a unique setting to enjoy the excitement of this international boating spectacular.
Generating a substantial annual statewide economic impact of $857 million, FLIBS features nearly $4 billion in product with show sales exceeding $508 million. Featuring over 1,500 boats and 1,200 exhibitors, with more than 110,000 visitors from around the world expected to attend, the event is undoubtedly one not to be missed.