The first full day of the inaugural Macau Yacht Show, Friday 28 October, brought sunshine, breeze and an appropriately Mediterranean temperature to the waterfront at Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s no doubt that this is a prime venue for a boat show, with a quayside just made for strolling. The al fresco waterfront restaurants and bars which feature everything from Amsterdam street-fronts to the Coliseum, in a former Portuguese colony, give the place a theme park feel, but there’s no doubt that – with a few more people around – the location of the boat show could easily be a vibrant waterfront venue. Maybe an adjustment to the $300 entrance fee would help.
Lined up along the Fisherman’s Wharf piers were a quality selection of well-known overseas brand boats, accompanied by a few domestic products. Simpson Marine were showing off an Azimut 88 and a 38, as well as a new Beneteau Sense 50 sailing yacht. The bigger Azimut was doing a very good job of demonstrating its dynamic stabilizing system as wash from the ferry terminal next door arrived at regular intervals. Take home one of these for US$7.9m, or the ‘baby’ 38 for just US$695,000. Close inspection of the Sense 50 shows off a sailing yacht design concept that really is a radical departure from the norm, with a cabin at almost the same level as the cockpit, all accommodation placed forward, and huge storage spaces aft. You get a whole lot of boat for the US$633,000 price tag. As an exercise in space management it is a tour de force, although it may be to everyone’s liking. Simpson have sold five Senses into Hong Kong already this year, and interest from viewers in Macau yesterday was no less keen.
It was Friday, so not a huge crowd along the waterfront, but at the end of the day Simpson Marine broker Mark Woodmansey commented that 'there is definitely pent-up demand in Macau. We have had a surprising number of visitors, and have acquired what we believe to be some good leads.' Just as in Hong Kong, further development of the leisure marine industry in Macau will be dependent on the construction of new marinas – Hong Kong has no plans in that direction, but Macau has at least three marina projects on the drawing board.
The Maiora 20S and 27 are new boats in the region, fresh out of the Italian yard at Viareggio, Step on board, and it doesn’t take long to work out that the Maiora line is positioned very much at the upper end of the luxury yacht market, characterized by elegant design, impeccable lines, perfect finishes and materials, and an all-pervasive sense of grand luxe style. Three building yards produce no more than 30 boats a year. Maioras range in size from 20m to 43m, with the biggest boats in the range built in steel. The Maiora portfolio is represented in Hong Kong by Starship Yachts (Edwin Ho).
Next along the quayside: Sunseeker. Two purposeful-looking Predators – a 92 and a 60 – in Sunseeker’s signature black, were complemented by the classic lines of a Manhattan 63. This renowned British yard has produced many classic craft over the years, and the selection on display in Macau didn’t let the side down. We know from personal experience that, when allowed to, the turbo-charged Predator 60 moves faster than one of the Hong Kong-Macau jet ferries. Impressive? Spectacular!
More British presence in the shape of a Princess V85-S – with a top speed of 42kts, this is another luxury sport cruiser that can get you from Macau back to Hong Kong quicker than the jet ferry. With a few extras on board, Daddy can take home this Princess for around US$5.7m – or maybe her little sister, the P50 for US$1.05m. Both ladies are supplied ‘as seen’ with pretty much everything on board. Silva Yim, General Manager of Princess Hong Kong, said 'there is no doubt that demand for boats exists her, but Macau still has no high quality operational marinas. Without infrastructure, there can be any amount of wealth in the system, but it has no outlet.' Yim reported that the mix of visitors to the Princess yachts was around 70% mainland Chinese, and 30% Macau locals, and added 'there’s no doubt that this show is bringing boating to Macau’s doorstep.'
The China National Youth Jetski Display Team were back on the water, entertaining viewers with their tricks and antics, and in one instance at least, giving the spectators an unexpected soaking!
Evening entertainment at The Rocks Hotel was a ‘Bikini Party’ – a swimsuit fashion show preceded by showgirls in full feathery finery. There were plenty of photographers in evidence, but not so much by way of a crowd.