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Not the Monaco Yacht Show

  • Plenty O’Booze, your roving correspondent.

So I found myself yet again at the Monaco Yacht Show having wangled a free ticket. Since I owe the guys in charge of Focus On Yachts for this,  I agreed to make public my innermost thoughts. Consider this a confession with the spicy bits expunged.


What can I say about the  MYS apart from there are yachts galore? What do you call them? A gaggle? A herd of yachts? Flying Fox , Kismet, Maltese Falcon, Octopus, Amadea, Pelorus, a veritable bevvy of beauties. Plus a gathering of insurance agents and financial services providers, a trove of superyacht suppliers flogging lighting, stabilizers, AV equipment, luxury items, jetskis, rigging, security, paint and varnishes, telecoms, sanitation systems, vibration control systems,  I could be here for a good hour – everything that makes a yacht go places. 607 suppliers in all.

And there is one essential item that, in theory, cannot be bought or sold or chartered….

Trophy girlfriends

These subspecies of the yacht pond life come in exotic colours and heavily camouflaged. These beautiful creatures have not consumed a meal over 400 calories in years. They are peak species, often seen with their Owner hoping for promotion to Trophy Wife. I wonder if they are to be considered a yacht accessory. For some reason – it could be the high heels- they are often taller than the boyfriend.  They are generally subdued and do not bite, I have been told.

Some owners trade in the girlfriend with the yacht. Divorce can really impact an owner’s finances –  ask the owner of the Luna. Love is grand. Divorce is five hundred grand. Or was that half a billion? Ouch!

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Dress code

What to wear at a boat show.

I am officially on the MYS style council and these are the unofficial guidelines. Monochrome usually works – not like yours truly who wore a loud flowery shirt from Simon Carter, skinny Revelex jeans and snakeskin pointy-toe shoes which could have me down as an African prince, except for my pigmentation. I did stand out but after a few drinks at la Rascasse at the A-crew bash, I did not give a Flying Fox if I fitted in or not. 

The true MYS insider wears any colour trouser as long as it a shade of crew khaki. Plenty of brands you can choose from: Gil, Musto, Henbury, Marinepool. The shirt should ideally be Oxford blue, Admiral blue or white. Sebago deck shoes, socks optional. If you are under thirty you can wear your skinny mustaphas six inches above your ankle – definitely no socks and do not go for this look over forty. Jeans work well on the older citizen.

A snazzy linen waistcoat is the epitome of style but at 27 degrees this look can get you hot and bothered.

The broker stands are coloured codes. The Burgess babes are in blue. Edmiston in red. The colour of Y.CO is yellow, though their stand uniform was a traditional white polo. I was hoping Turquoise Yachts might live up their name but they too went for the white and beige theme.

The Italians have the best sunglasses, by the way, and if they were giving style awards would win that category hands down. 

Katrina and Grant from the Cook Islands didn’t read the dress code. There is a touch of beige though so almost there. Nice shirt.

Keep smiling

Show ponies lounge on the decks of yachts as if this was their natural habitat. At the end of the day, they return to their crew dormitories in Antibes, still highly aspirational but suffering from Monaco smile cramp which is a common ailment here. Grin and bear it.

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Your attitude

Remember: everyone is a blagger at Monaco  Always be days on the up up and away. Everyone is selling. And for three days keep on your be happy face, even when you are dead on your feet.  Monaco is disco,  pure donna summer. The beat goes on.

Never act as if you don’t belong. You own the place. Nobody knows who you are. You might just even be that mythical creature The Owner, always referred to in reverential, even hushed terms. If you say something that is totally stupid, never, ever apologise. Apologies are for wimps.

Some Do ‘s and Don’ts

Don’t try and sneak in without a ticket. The gates of heaven are guarded less jealously. You may get so far but they are watching you – every step you take etc

Don’t evesdrop hoping for insider information. The conversations are generally quite banal.  Keep your powder dry and don’t give too much away. The best one that I overheard was ‘I am British I live in Monaco and I am celibate’. Way too creepy.

Don’t be offended that the person you are having a conversation with is constantly scouring the room for the next person to talk to. It’s not personal. Do be ready to finish a conversation at the drop of a hat and don’t go deep. Think of yourself as a dragonfly skirting over a pond – never touching the water.

Another rookie error is for the men -and concerns name tags or logos emblazoned on shirts and polos. All I will say here is if you are talking to a woman do not look down at the nametag or logo. I have in good authority this is a little bit unsettling. Just imagine if you are a man that you have your name-tag or your logo  on your crotch  and women keep staring at it. Perhaps the Monaco yacht show council will address this one day. How about logos and name tags on the shoulder like epaulets? Or headbands?

Finally the hair:

French and Italian men go for the long swept-back hair look. That is far too ostentatious for Northern Europeans and Anglo Saxons. The swept-back hairstyle is hard to master:  you have to be born to it.

The ladies often ask me: Plenty, should I dye my hair and if so what colour? My answer is two words: au natural. But if you do feel pressure to conform, go nautical blond. It will go with your white and beige colour scheme.  Brunette is fine as well . Don’t go punk and cover up your tattoos- so plebeian. Unless it’s Popeye the Sailor and even that is borderline

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Yachts and uniforms tastefully colour coordinated. 

And finally

Be prepared to succumb to a sense of wonder. The stuff on display is some of the finest creations that the human race have come up with the. There is so much of it, you need to focus on what truly inspires. I almost had a mystical experience looking into a digital wall showing what looked like live images beamed from a distant galaxy. I was tempted to do a Captain Jack Sparrow and steal a polished black super tender. I  fell in love with a sailing yacht with a Dynarig mast. I saw myself once again at the helm, heading towards the horizon, red sails in the sunset,  controls set for the heart of the sun.

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