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2nd Annual St Maarten Charter Yacht Exhibition

The inaugural SCYE in 2004 showed what many
had known for a long time – that St Maarten understands megayachts. The
timing, the layout and the ‘industry-only’ guest list neatly
answered the needs of captains, brokers and vendors. For the second show, held
December 5-8, the challenge was to perfect the art of event management and to
confirm to the megayacht establishment that SCYE has
the structure, and not just the goodwill, to endure.

Coming at the end of 2005’s record-breaking hurricane season,
which saw storms rip through Fort
Lauderdale and change the plans of numerous yachts,
entry numbers were marginally down on last year. 40 yachts registered, along
with 159 international brokers, 30 exhibiting vendors and 39 non-exhibiting
vendors. But a new tweak to the layout – with yachts confined to the
North Harbour Marina at Port de Plaisance rather than
spread across La Palapa, Simpson Bay Marina and Isle
de Sol – improved the quality of contact between boats and brokers. In
addition, a permanent exhibition center at Port de
Plaisance assembled vendors from the local and off-island
marine industry under 12,000 square feet of canvas, allowing press and agents
to ‘work the room’ without exhaustion.

For those who needed to unwind at the end of the day, events ranged from
the lavish Romac International Gala Party to the
Sack’s Group Fashion Show, not to mention the Councours
des Chefs competition, sponsored by Showboats International and Moet
et Chandon. Organised by John
Jackson of Saratoga
restaurant, the concours is much more than an
exhibition cook-off. Good galley grub creates its own chartering fan base and
can be the deciding factor in a charter booking.

Fourteen yachts took part, divided into two categories – under
125ft and over. In the former class, Eric Jannson
from Charisma took first place,
Michael Mousseau from
Ohana second and Steve van Loggerenberg
from Mia
Elise
third. In the under 125ft category, Cameron Feldman from
Harmony came first, Toni-Leanne Butler
from Touch second and Matthew Hoyes
from Perseverance
third.

With megayachts docked in St Maarten almost all year-round now, it is
easy to take their presence for granted, as if they have always been there. But
those who devoted months of their time to the organisation of the show –
Kass Johnson-Halliday, Georgette Amadou, Lila Rosen, Valeska Luckert
and Lucille Frye – have enough experience in the business to know that St
Maarten’s status as home port for scores of
megayachts is hard earned and even harder protected. Judging by the superlative
sound bites coming at SCYE’s conclusion, St
Maarten no longer needs to establish its credentials. Simply, it is where
megayachts feel at home.

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