Bayside is a nice place. Situated in the heart of downtown Miami, on the mainland overlooking the little islands and along the peninsula shaping Miami Beach, Bayside is the most tourist night side of the city.
It was in Bayside that sailing found its place in the boundless Miami International Boat Show. A small space, where just about 70 boats and very few brands were hosted. A pittance – the event hosted 1530 boats in total – if compared with the other two locations of the Boat Show: that reserved for big yachts along Collins Avenue and the quays of the Miami Marina Stadium, with a great heap of smaller boats surrounded by several stands dedicated to boat accessories, electronic systems, engines and fishing equipment.
In the small wet dock of Bayside, precisely under the skyscrapers of Downtown, sailing enthusiasts found their piece of heaven even though just very few boats and premieres, and no real novelties for the American market, were there. It’s definitely not here that sailboats manufacturers come and launch their new creations, generally reserved for other events, such as those in Cannes, Dusseldorf and Genoa.
The main players were catamarans, which conquered 50% of the exhibition surface in the water.
Among them, we saw the only two real world premieres: the Leopard 45, shown to the American market for the first time together with the whole Leopard range, and the Lagoon 70, a 24-metre monster, whose sizes and lateral opening on the starboard hull literally astonished visitors.
But we also liked another impressive catamaran, the Privilege Serie 6. Designed by Marc Lombard for Privilege Marine, the boat features really innovative design and notable sizes (20×9 m).
After the Leopard’s one, the largest fleet of catamarans was represented by Fontaine Pajot, headed by the Ipamena 58 and Saba 50.
American debut for the Bavaria 34. The American public showed interest for this German boat exhibited for the first time overseas as well as for the Nautitech 46, a multi-hull model presented in Europe last year.
Jeanneau Yachts, too, took the opportunity to unveil the Jeanneau 51, presented a few nights before in the waters opposite the Madarin Oriental Hotel Beach during a party dedicated to their customers (an event Boatandboats joined).
Maybe because their Product Manager, Erick Stromberg, is American, Beneteau Group, of which Jeanneau is part, was numerically the strongest presence in Downtown waters.
Built in England, the Oyster 745 was exhibited by the company’s American dealer which, this way, managed to plant the Union Jack in the USA.
Obviously, there were also the most popular American brands, such as Catalina, which exhibited its latest 425, and Island Packet. Four boats for two iconic American brands.
This fact says a lot about the importance of sailing in the market of Florida and southern USA.
The skyscrapers under which motorboats slightly give way to sailing boats are those arising a little bit north of New York. After all, this was the starting point for the America schooner Yacht (New York Yacht Club) which, on August 22nd 1851, sailed off to win the first America’s Cup offered by the London Royal Yacht Squadron to celebrate the first World’s Fair. America beat her British challenger by 8 minutes circumnavigating the Isle of Wight. The America’s Cup resided at the New York Yacht Club for 132 years and 25 editions. The trophy also changed its name, from “100 Guineas Cup” to “America’s Cup” to honor the winning boat. But that’s another beautiful story.