Chart a Smart Course: Navigating Ft. Lauderdale’s International Boat Show, 2016

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The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is spread across seven locations featuring 1500 boats with over three million square feet of exhibit space. You don’t want to arrive without a plan. We’ve done this a time or two, so please take advantage of our experience to streamline yours.

The Value of a VIP Ticket

One of the best ways to see as many of your ideal yachts as possible is to sign up for the VIP Experience. Put a yacht concierge to work for you, scheduling appointments, while you enjoy the benefits of the Windward Club’s nibbles and beverages in a civilized, club-like setting. It helps to have your list of preferred yachts made prior to arrival, so review The Best of Yachting’s show preview, and cross check with the show’s website list of yachts on display, then put the task in the hands of a yacht concierge while you relax in the Windward Lounge.

Photo Courtesy QuintEvents
Photo Courtesy QuintEvents

Navigating Solo

If you’re bareboating without the concierge, we applaud your skills but have a few tips. Before you even open your valise to pack gear for the gorgeous Florida weather, contact a broker, or the agents showing the boats you want to see to arrange tours in advance and ensure your interest is noted. If you haven’t already, download the My Boat Show app featured on the show website. You’ll have access to everything in the program, maps, and more, with lots of helpful features.

Parking, Joyrides, and Water Taxis

If you did not sign up online for a valet parking pass, you’ll need a four leaf clover and a divining rod to locate a space. We’ve often found convenient parking but it comes at a price. Most hotels offer on-site parking making this a non-issue, but if you’re thinking of driving from one of the big luxury hotels north on A1A a few blocks to the show, plan to crawl along in bumper to bumper traffic for a long time. For quicker transport, hop a Joyride pedicab. These cyclist chauffeurs are phenomenal, working hard and fast to get you from point A to point B in record time. Tip them well and they’ll share their phone numbers, coming to your rescue whenever you need them throughout the show.

water-taxi

Other options include parking at the Galleria Mall, The Riverside Hotel, or the War Memorial and taking the water taxi to the show. Water taxis are also a nice way to get around the various locations of the show, including Pier 66, the Sails Marina, the Convention Center, and back to the Bahia Mar or Las Olas Marinas, with strategic stops at the Hilton and the Swimming Hall of Fame. The captains are entertaining, dishing local facts and juicy stories along the way. Buy an all-day ticket for $10 at any of the stops.

Head Straight for the Superyacht Life’s Crème de la Crème

Entering through the South Gate Entrance just north of the Bahia Mar Hotel, continue straight west through the gate toward the Bahia Mar Face Dock, then turn right, walking north toward Superyacht Life where the largest yachts are docked. Superyachts line the length of the Face Dock, so indulge in whatever bright shiny thing catches your eye on the way en route. You’ll know when you get there. Look for the Windward Club on the land side, then turn left and wander through the Superyacht Life and Superyacht Tender exhibit areas to see what’s new.

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Top Superyacht on board tours for 2016 include this year’s award-winning beauty Heesen Galactica Super Nova in slip #4 and Feadship Savannah in slip #5. Lürssen TV and Feadship Madsummer are both a short walk onto dock 15 A-5. The stunning Lürssen Solandge, expected to make an appearance, is presently anchored off the coast of France with increasingly less time to make an Atlantic crossing. Others along the Hall of Fame dock include Codecasa Apogee, Oceanco Lady Lola, Icon Yachts Party Girl, Hakvoort Just Js, Trinity Yachts Mia Elise II, Benetti Mine Games and Lady Luck, Trinity Yachts Skyfall, Christensen Chasseur, and Feadship Huntress. If you haven’t seen the Mangusta Moonraker at a previous show, she is a worthy of attention, as is the Classic Bilgin Yachts Clarity, both at Face Dock 14.

Support vessels are currently in high demand, making the Amels Damen Fast & Furious superyacht support vessel in slip #13 an interesting stop. Hinckley’s stunning runabout the Talaria 34, along with a couple of their other suitable-as-tender boats, will be in slip #16 along the Face Dock. Walking back out to the Face Dock, continue the stroll northward, under the Las Olas Bridge, all the way to Las Olas Marina, stopping to talk with the crew desks to schedule on board tours. At the marina, hop on the water taxi and head to Pier 66. The water taxi routes are split into North, South, and River Routes, so you’ll have to change boats from the North Route to the South Route at Bahia Mar.

Pier 66 Marina

Once at Pier 66, head to Pelican Landing for a cold drink and an excellent burger, sandwich, or seafood entree in a casual waterfront atmosphere with a great view. Then take a peek at Trinity Themis, Ocean Independence Sycara, Azimut Benetti Francine, and Feadship Centinela IV. If you’re a sailing fan, the Cambridge Yacht Group 115′ sloop Manutara, the Gunboat 55, and Lagoon L560 multihull deserve attention. Then get back on the water taxi and head back to Bahia Mar’s south end E, F, and G Docks, for some thrilling designs.

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Sleek Speed at Bahia Mar’s E, F, and G Docks

Here, along Bahia Mar’s E, F, and G Docks is where you’ll find the Riva 88 Florida, Riva Domino Super 88, Rivarama, Riva Cruiser, and Pershing 92 and 54, along with the Sunseeker 131. The clutch of Delta Powerboats and the dramatic Evo 43 await at the F/G Docks. The sleek Donzi 58 and the Viking Convertible 55 are on C Dock. After review, head to the Superyacht Pavilion via the Face Dock, perhaps with a stop the Gosling’s Rum tent at the land end of C/D Dock.

Toys Galore at the Superyacht Pavilion

Submarines, underwater vehicles, towables, inflatables, and safety gear, along with some handsome ways to feather the seafaring nest line the rows of exhibits in the Superyacht Pavilion. Look for Deep Trekker’s ROV remote operated vehicles, the U Boat Worx new 3-person submarine, Sea Bob water scooters, waterproof Splash Drones, Third Lung hookah diving systems, SUPs, and ingenious new developments in watersports equipment.

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Tomorrow’s Another Day …

Hopefully, there will be appointments scheduled for on board tours of your preferred yachts, which could take much of the second day’s agenda. This route could easily be broken into two days, however, exploring the Bahia Mar Face Dock and Superyacht Life areas at a more leisurely pace on the first day, then moving to Pier 66 and the south docks of Bahia Mar on the second, adding a third for convention center clinics, exhibits, and new products. Now that you’re fully prepped, it’s time to pack. See you at the show!

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