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MYS – the mother of all yacht shows

The Monaco Yacht Show started out small in 1991 and not even in Monaco. Back then it was called the  Superyachts of Nice event. With the exponential growth in global money supply and a wave of new buyers coming into the market, the event outgrew Nice and moved to Monaco.


The British group Informa bought the MYS for $1.4 billion. It now occupies Port Hercules with a premium price tag, both for exhibitors and visitors.

As rich as Knossos

The Sapphire Experience targets Ultra-Wealthy High-Value Filthy Rich individuals who have half a mind to enter into superyacht ownership, a field of activity which has its unique challenges. The show is a prime venue for agents to showcase yachts for sale and suppliers to market their products and services. The whole gamut of the industry is there on show:  insurance agents and financial services providers, a trove of superyacht suppliers promoting lighting, stabilizers, AV equipment, luxury items, jetskis, rigging, security, paint and varnishes, telecoms, sanitation systems, vibration control systems,  the list is long – everything that makes a yacht go places.

It has become almost obligatory to attend, if not exhibit if you are involved in the superyacht industry. In addition to the Sapphire Experience, the Captains and Crew Lounge is offering free refreshments, music, massages, and entertainments, and the Upper Deck Lounge for meetings.
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MYS is one succession of meetings for industry insiders. A  professional pass for the duration of the show costs 1000 euros. A single day pass is 300 Euros,  but do not expect an invitation on board any of the superyachts berthed on the port. You have to pass the scrutiny test first and there is a look about that those with money that is unmistakable. The yacht managers have to pay out a lot of money to berth at Monaco for the event – in fact at Monaco any time of year. They are not going to allow the mildly curious an excursion on a yacht costing a quarter of a billion. Even the Pope would struggle to get an invite up the gangway of some of the superyachts berthed there.

A herd of yachts?

The value this year of yachts in the port is over $5 billion. In addition, there is the car deck with Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and the rest. The Monaco Yacht Show also serves as a good place to meet charter brokers if you are thinking of chartering a boat for next season. All the brokers are there: Y.Co, Campers, Hill Robinson, Edmiston, Burgess, Yachting Partners, anyone who is anyone in the Central Agency, which is a collection of all the approved superyacht sales and charter agents. You can’t be an approved yacht broker until you have brokered a yacht, and you can’t broker a yacht unless you are an approved broker.

Catch 22

This exclusivity does keep out aggressive upstarts from barging their way into the industry with a ton of cash and aspirations to broker mega deals. The superyacht industry which uses offshore companies and flags of convenience is a notoriously good place to hide cash from tax scrutiny. The Central Agency acts as an unofficial filter, vetting new entrants into the brokerage field.

Tough at the Top

The exhibitor list is a who is who in the Superyacht universe. From builders to insurance to offshore registration to design studios, companies pay a fortune in exhibition stands. Prices are not quoted publicly as it all depends on location in the port rather than just space. Stand build costs alone can reach Euro 300,000, with state of the art design, plus staffing costs. And you are only as good as your last show

In addition to the Monaco Yacht Show, there is the Monaco Yacht Summit, which is a kind of Davos for the superyacht world. Just to be allowed to attend is an accolade in itself.

MYS is a unique opportunity to catch up with your list of contacts.  Or make new ones. If you are in the superyacht industry attendance is to say the least recommended. Non-attendance needs an explanation.  It’s flash, gaudy, very shallow, with some amazing technology on display and also very useful for marketing. It can also bankrupt you pretty quickly

As my grandfather used to say, don’t go deep-sea fishing with a short pole.

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