OPINION: Yachting takes centre stage thanks to three glitzy shows and Greta


Glitzy yacht shows featuring vessels such as the 80-metre Excellence and climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg are helping to raise the profile of yachting.

The global yachting industry is about to enjoy a moment in the sun, courtesy of three glitzy shows and a Swedish teenager who has just crossed the Atlantic on a high-tech, 18-metre racing yacht equipped with underwater turbines and with zero carbon emissions.

If it’s September in the South of France, then it must be showtime for the superyacht industry. Next month shall see both the Cannes Yachting Festival, staged between September 10th and 15th, quickly followed by the Monaco Yacht Show, from September 25th to 28th.

Both events will showcase the latest superyacht launches, resplendent in their dockside moorings. Luxury yachts starring at the Cannes Yachting Festival include the 27-metre superyacht Sirena 88, from Turkish shipbuilder Sirena Yachts, together with a host of other recent launches.

Wowing the crowds at the Monaco Yacht Show will be the 50-metre Tankoa S501 Hybrid M/Y Bintador and the latest addition to the Damen Yacht Support Range – the 46-metre Joy Rider plus other big and small watercraft at the events in the South of France.

Nor is the yachting glamour confined to the European side of the Atlantic. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest in-water boat show, which opens in October, is to feature a new Superyacht Village, as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. The marina is equipped to accommodate vessels of up to 122 metres. One of the stars of the show will be the 80-metre Excellence.

Yachting glamour

All three events will shine a welcome spotlight on the global yachting industry. And, while most who attend, like me, may not be able to budget beyond a coffee and a croissant let alone a superyacht – these events represent a great publicity opportunity for the whole industry. The sector should relish its moment in the sun as a valuable opportunity to highlight what it contributes to economies worldwide in the form of marine construction and tourism.

In fact, the rising popularity of yacht tourism was one factor cited in the recent report from US-based consultancy Research and Markets. It predicted the global superyacht market would reach a value of $10.2 billion by 2025 – achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8%.

It is also an opportunity to highlight the luxury yachting industry’s contribution to environmental protection in the form of eco yachts, such as the Silent 55 solar-powered yacht, the S2, due to make its debut at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival.

But it’s not just yachting festivals that can raise the profile of the industry. Before the glitz, glamour and grand tours of the harbourside luxury yachts on both sides of the Atlantic, something equally significant for the profile of the world yachting industry took place.

A bucket for toilet facilities

The Swedish teenager and climate change activist Greta Thunberg crossed the Atlantic in considerably less comfort than that offered by a superyacht. Her 15-day, 3,000-nautical mile journey, aboard the high-speed racing yacht Malizia II, did not afford the comforts of even the most basic yachting comforts. With no shower and a bucket for toilet facilities, Thunberg made the journey to attend the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23rd and the COP25 Climate Conference in Chile in December.

Her mission, made in a zero-emissions yacht to avoid air travel, was meant to signal that “the climate change crisis is a real thing”, she told BBC News before her voyage.

If her arduous journey goes some way to capturing the public’s imagination about the possibilities of yacht travel, it will have a deep significance for the yachting industry and the development of green technologies in the sector, which are already beginning to thrive.

Greta Thunberg’s voyage is helping to raise the profile of eco-yachting.

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