Monaco Yacht Show 2019 review: Andy Treadwell, founder of Singapore Yacht Show, discusses the impact of the world’s most extraordinary trade show on the industry

By Andy Treadwell 18 October, 2019
Monaco Yacht Show 2019

Andy Treadwell, shares with us his takeaways from the Monaco Yacht Show, and what he intends to do for the upcoming Singapore Yacht Show, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020

Been there, done that. Name any of the world’s largest yacht shows – Cannes Yachting Festival, Monaco Yacht Show or Dusseldorf Boat Show – and Andy Treadwell, founder of the Singapore Yacht Show, can bet you he’s done it. Having recently returned from the largest and most exclusive yacht show in Monaco, Treadwell shares his insights that go beyond the glamorous parties, and what one can expect from the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Yacht Show in 2020.

Andy Treadwell, founder of Singapore Yacht Show
Andy Treadwell, founder of Singapore Yacht Show, takes us behind the scenes of Monaco Yacht Show, and what makes it such a success

Monaco Yacht Show: It is a Big Deal

“In the same way that the Tis ­– the massive, gleaming 365-ft (111.5m) superyacht that was the star of this year’s Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) represents the absolute pinnacle of the leisure boating industry (I just renamed my secondhand 6.5m RIB to Tisn’t), MYS represents the most extraordinary yacht shows, and perhaps even all trade shows in the world.

It’s quite a phenomenal event and one that every industry professional has to attend if they want to be seen keeping abreast with this world. It’s also brilliantly organised, reeking of success and sparing no expense every inch of the way, from the first entry point by the swimming pool to the end of the closing party on the top deck of Yacht Club de Monaco. Its seamless execution is hardly a surprise, though. The Show is fabulously profitable, and it’s no easy feat, given the core team has, by and large, stayed the same, organising it from the very beginning nearly 30 years ago.

MYS is unique because it exclusively showcases superyachts larger than 40m in length, and is the only show in the world to do so. You can fit just over 120 yachts into Port Hercules, and once you’ve the superyacht supplies, services and ‘accessories’ packed into the equally massive marquees, there’s no room for anything else.

The show seems to take over the entire principality – the hotels, restaurants and even transportation system – everything and everyone comes together to make the greatest yacht show on the planet a success. In fact, perhaps only the legendary Monaco F1 Grand Prix comes close in terms of its global outreach, media success and economic impact.

It is a numbers game here. The average purchase price at MYS this year was €41 million (S$62.1 million), and this means that attendees are definitely in for a good time. The builders and brokers certainly know how to throw a party, and there are dozens going on every night.

Even if you are there to have a look (or are serious about having fun), there will be no shortage of invitations. A day pass costs €300 (S$450), and the hotels and restaurants charge like a wounded rhino – but it’s still worth a visit. At the end of the day, the show is a great way to see the latest developments in the industry, especially as a potential yacht owner. From the newest yacht toys and yacht premieres to state-of-the-art technical innovations and even satellite communications companies, you can expect the most prominent brands to be there.”

Hits at Monaco Yacht Show 2019

“You set some really high expectations prior to the show, and more often than not, the yachts on display do more than knock the socks off your feet. This year’s show wasn’t any different.

Tis by Lürssen Yachts, Germany is the largest yacht ever to go on display at the Monaco Yacht Show. It comes with not one, but two helicopter pads, a 12-m swimming pool, a resort-inspired spa and spectacular staircases that are normally only seen in palaces.

The 83-metre Here Comes The Sun was built in 2017 by Amels in Vlissingen, Netherlands and has six decks, a sauna, steam room and a self-playing grand piano. She is the flagship of Dutch yacht builder’s fleet, and is the largest Amels yacht built to date.

The 80-m Excellence was another head-turner – a futuristic-looking collaboration between Abeking & Rasmussen and Winch Design. She has a unique superstructure – the bridge and owner’s decks are surrounded by curved floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass on all sides. The largest panel is a staggering 6m in length, and the master suite boasts a 180-degree view. With her angular reverse bow, she reminds me of another iconic yacht that we’ve seen several times in Singapore over the last few years – A, a motor yacht designed by Philippe Starck and built by Blohm + Voss. It’s 119m in length and is said to cost around US$300 million (S$411 million) to build.

Feadship's Syzygy 818
The ingenius design of the Feadship’s Syzygy 818 has it look as if it’s rising out of the water

And there’s my personal favourite of the show: Feadship’s Syzygy 818, a 77-m beauty that was delivered just before the start of the show. Its name is quite special, Syzygy is an astrological term for a rare event in which three or more celestial bodies line up, such as a new moon or lunar eclipse. ‘818’ means prosperous in Chinese numerology, and it’s no coincidence that the owner’s birthday is on 18 August. I understand the owner intends to bring her to Asia in the not too distant future.”

Supporting Acts

“The rest of the yachting industry, from small sailboats to production yachts are taken care of at the Cannes Yachting Festival, which takes place two weeks before. And that’s really all the boating industry needs in Europe; the Dusseldorf Boat Show in Germany – an indoor boat show that takes place in January – is the third major show and is fairly interesting too. But its scope is much wider.

You’ll see watersports equipment, diving holidays and boating tourism deals, all of which are the stuff attendees will dream of, given that it’s winter. In the US, where half of the world’s superyachts are owned, but very few built; and where there is a massive small-boat industry that produces several thousand units each year, there are still only two main shows.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which is like Cannes and Monaco combined in terms of scale – the superyachts displayed are nowhere near the calibre of those in Monaco – takes place in October, and the Miami Yacht Show in February. Even in the Americas, there are only two major shows.

The Dubai International Boat Show show has suffered the last couple of years as Dubai Marina is under reconstruction, but it’ll get back up to speed it reopens in 2021. A show in the Middle East is important, its people make up a major client percentage. The number of yacht owners per head in the ultra high-net-worth population is double that of the US.”

Singapore Yacht Show 2020: Calmer Waters Ahead

Similarly, Asia needs its own show, even though one would be hard-pressed to call what we have an ‘industry’.

The Singapore Yacht Show was founded in 2011 as a sister event to the Monaco Yacht Show, when I was the CEO of Informa Yacht Group. It was created at the request of the industry, just after the financial crisis when everything had fallen off a cliff in Europe and the US, and everyone was looking for a new market. All eyes were beginning to focus on Asia.

Since the beginning, we’ve worked with the authorities to show the potential economic impact of the industry and country. A big step to overcome is the regulatory hurdle that currently prevents yacht owners and charterers from operating in the region.

The potential in Asia, in terms of the number of ultra high-net-worth individiduals who can afford to charter and buy a superyacht, is as big as Europe or the US. There is currently a cultural indifference to leisure boating here, and it’s not difficult to see why given the inclement weather. But there’s an absolutely huge latent market here.

This region has world-class yachting destinations in abundance ­– the cruising grounds here are spectacular, virtually empty, and seemingly endless. And everyone who has explored them agrees.

We’ve seen an increasing number of regional yachting debuts and we’re confident that next year’s Singapore Yacht Show – its 10th edition – will welcome even more. Having new, quality products on display attracts buyers from all over Asia as it boosts the overall appeal of the Show. There are increased levels of interest, and I’m not just referring to visitors from Southeast Asia. We’ve guests coming from further afield, such as China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Give them the opportunity to charter the superyachts – and ease them into the lifestyle that is rather smooth sailing – and a new market will be born.”

Singapore Yacht Show