The 2018 edition of the Salon International du Multicoque ( ” International Multihull Boat Show” in English), the sole European boat show exclusively dedicated to catamarans and trimarans, has just opened its doors.
As always, the 8th edition of this prestigious boat exhibition is held in the marina of La Grande Motte, a popular seaside resort built in the 1960s, situated just a few kilometers from the fascinating Camargue in Occitaine.
The first time I stepped foot on this city, I was really impressed by the strange architecture of buildings surrounding the coastline but, after surfing the net and interviewing locals, I had to partially reconsider my snap judgement because I was told ( and I did my research, too) that those triangular hives should have been a work of art of architect Jean Balladur, who wanted to evoke the shapes of pre-Columbian pyramids.
This extravagant scenario emerged from a large “motte” which should have prevent French holidaymaker from reaching Spanish beaches. In retrospect, I think that, despite Balladur, the objective was successfully achieved. It is no coincidence that these apartments implemented within the pre-Columbian pyramids are now sold at 3-4 thousand euros per square metre. Not to mention the new ones! But this comes as no surprise in a city where a salad costs 20 euros!
But that’s not why we are here.
At the foot of pyramids sits the port, a huge well-protected basin which perfectly fits in with the surrounding promenade, coffee bars and restaurants. There, the multihull boat show was invented just as the entire European yachting industry was in deep crisis.
This year, I have counted little more than 50 boats in water (and only in water) which, if compared with figures coming from the other international boat shows, are good, especially if we individually compare the over 100 37-footers with the largest monsters which almost touch the limits of recreational ships.
In this market niche, which is registering a surprising growth also in Italy, you can hear languages from all around the world and, in addition to the peaceful Russian’s invasion, Spaniards are confused with Peruvians and there is no shortage of Americans and some Japanese.
Catamarans attract globetrotters, charter societies, motor-boat pilots who are tired of being roared by engines and bled dry by petrol pump attendants and even sailors who convert to this marvel in order to sail fast with little wind and provide their own partners with a large sun pad.
But what’s the most precise definition for a catamaran?
It’s the only boat in the world which enables you to drink from a crystal glass without dropping it while wind blows at 20 knots.
Now, in a whisper and in the hope they don’t listen to me and push me in water, I add: a glass of fresh excellent Prosecco or Ribolla Gialla to all false French myths.
Bon vent … pardon…Fair wind!