Every fall at the tail end of hurricane season, yachting enthusiasts and industry insiders travel to South Florida to inspect boats big and small from all over the globe. We are, of course, talking about the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in-water boat show in the world, scheduled this year for October 31 through November 4. The 2018 edition marks 59 years of this event, which hosts more than 1,500 boats—along six miles of floating docks—1,200 exhibitors, and 110,000 visitors at seven locations around Fort Lauderdale. Not only will visitors find all kinds of vessels—from superyachts and sailing yachts to jet boats and runabouts—but also exotic cars, watersports gear, and everything nautical.
General daily admission is $33 for adults, with the exclusive Windward VIP Experience offered for $300 per person per day. The package includes entrance to the show, access to the Windward VIP Club, and Water Taxi transportation. But the actual Windward VIP Club is what makes it especially appealing—located at the centrally located Swimming Hall of Fame, the club offers air-conditioned lounge areas to hang out, meet, and cool off in; a dedicated concierge; and private indoor restrooms (worth the entire entrance fee). If that didn’t do it for you, the club provides a private dining area and a premium open bar.
New this year is a chef’s competition among top chefs from the show’s registered yachts. It will be held at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina on Thursday, November 1, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and will include a cocktail hour, open bar, and small bites. Tickets are $275 through the FLIBS website.
Here are the yachts we think you should not miss;
By Geri Ward
The 85-foot Numarine 26XP represents the new breed of mini-expedition yachts. Along with its sister ship the 32XP, the 85-foot 26XP has a highly efficient hull, high freeboard and intrepid profile, and a special flybridge that covers about two-thirds of the hull’s length. The bridge has 1,076 square feet of usable deck space, allowing owners and guests to find their own private areas with space left over on the aft deck for a tender.
The yacht has a generous, full-beam saloon on the main deck, with full-height windows, a dining area, and settees for congregating. Designer Cal Yalman also left abundant space belowdecks for the four staterooms, including the full-beam master suite amidships, where the yacht is widest. A VIP and two twins comprise the other three. Numarine worked with Silent Line to make the yacht as noise- and vibration-free as possible, using techniques that are more often applied to superyachts. The yacht comes in a displacement-hull version, which has a maximum speed of 13.5 knots. At eight knots, its range is 3,000 nautical miles. The semiplaning version has larger engines and pushes the 85-footer to an impressive 28 knots.
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