Miami Nice

For 30 years now, the stretch of Collins Avenue across from Miami’s landmark Fontainebleau Hotel has hosted an annual floating tribute to some of the most exclusive, exquisitely built, and daringly-designed boats. Yachts Miami Beach has been re-dubbed the Miami Yacht Show for 2018, and February’s spectacle looks to be another memorable meeting on the waters of America’s hottest boating scene.

As with most innovative events, what is now called the Miami Yacht Show began as a response to a growing need. When Miami’s other, broader show aimed at mariners of all stripes — the Miami International Boat Show — banned brokerage yachts entirely, a dedicated team of yachting professionals tagged in a crew of experienced hands from the nearby Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and created the first edition of Yachts Miami Beach. The spectacle attracted 28 brokerage boats to Sunset Harbor before moving to the Collins Avenue location the following year, where it would start a journey that primary organizers Show Management would steer for the next three decades.

A big part of that growth was the understanding that the Miami Yacht Show wasn’t in competition with the International Boat Show, but rather filled a role that simply wasn’t being served in the country’s most important yacht market. Partnering with the non-profit Florida Yacht Brokers Association, keeping admission free to the general public (while adding a VIP Experience option this year), and earning the trust of the city of Miami have all played a major part in the continued growth and success of the event. MYS now boasts not just the Collins site but also the newly-opened superyacht anchorage at Watson Island, whose Island Gardens Deep Harbor Marina is capable of handling 500 feet of sea-going majesty (and is North America’s only superyacht-focused marina).

Many of the boating world’s biggest names will be in represented at the Miami Yacht Show between February 15 and 19, which means a long list of debuts and highlights when it comes to new and cutting-edge yacht designs. One of the most anticipated is the Sanlorenzo SX88 (featured in the Sept-Oct issue of Wings, Water & Wheels), which represents the latest in the ‘crossover’ line of boats the Italian builder has introduced under its SX line.

What makes the SX88 a crossover? Sanlorenzo combined its Explorer class boat with a more traditional flybridge design, culminating in an 88-foot yacht that offers superior utility compared to other boats its size, along with an expansive interior that takes advantage of the high bridge and helm to create an open-plan main deck from stem to stern. Floor-to-ceiling windows further contribute to the plus-size feel of this more accessible boat, and its 323-square foot stern area can just as easily serve as an ocean-side clubhouse entertaining area as it can a dock for a tender of up to 17-feet.

Fairline has chosen the Miami Yacht Show as the spot for the global unveiling of its Targa 63 GT. Building on the massive success of the award-winning Targa 63 GTO seen at the Cannes Yachting Festival this past fall, the GT continues evolving the sleek and graceful lines penned by Italian design luminary Alberto Mancini.

Like the GTO, the 65-foot Targa 63 GT is motivated by twin Caterpillar C18 shaft drive diesel engines and can cruise at 27 knots for 300 nautical miles (with a top speed of 31 knots). Combining the Dutch architectural ingenuity of Vripack with Fairline’s hand-crafted U.K. quality, the GT maximizes interior space and light while maintaining the full panoramic glass roof of the GTO.

Not to be outdone, Sunseeker will present an entire flotilla of some of its most popular boats in Miami. The Sunseeker Manhattan range will be represented by the 52- and 66-foot editions of the spacious flybridge yacht, with the larger of the two boats adding not just 80 nautical miles of range to the 52’s 470 nm capability, but also greater cabin space for accommodating more guests and a larger crew. In addition to the Manhattan series, the Sunseeker Predator 68 and the new Predator 57 MKII will show off their high-speed hulls and large, light-filled decks. Capable of 36 knots, the redesigned 57 builds on the extremely well-received MKI boat which was introduced three short years ago.

Of course, for maximum impact one has to look no further than the 76 / 86 / 95 Yacht line-up from Sunseeker, each of which will be on display in Miami. Of the trio the 76 Yacht is the newest member of the family, offering a panoramic view from its main deck, a customizable flybridge, and a deck designed to maximize the kind of bubbling social scene befitting the boat’s superyacht persona. Don’t forget the 86 Yacht’s astounding 1,500 nautical mile range (a figure that drops only slightly to 1,250 nm in the 96 Yacht).

Whether you’re mingling with the crowd out on Collins or enjoying a break from the sun and sampling from the spread of gourmet food and champagne in the floating VIP lounge, one thing is certain: there are few other opportunities in North America to experience first-hand such a wide array of brokerage yachts in a single anchorage. The Miami Yacht Show continues to be the motor that powers Southern Florida’s high-end boating scene year-after-year, now three decades deep.