PERHAPS SOME SUPERYACHT THINGS NEVER WILL CHANGE
PSSST – IT’S ALL A DREAM
I always end up here after FLIBS (Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show) to see my Mum who is now 87.
It turns out that it’s a good place to consider reality and the superyacht, two words that just over a year ago were still in most ways more or less mutually exclusive.
Again, last autumn’s financial meltdown may have contributed to what US Designer Doug Sharp, as mentioned in my last post, sees as a paradigm-shift in the Superyacht Industry. Bigger boats and more international owners also contributed.
But it’s interesting to consider what in fact is changing and more importantly what’s not.
Certainly the new-build order book has taken a paradigm shifting hit below the waterline as have the targets of yacht print advertising salespeople; order-taking isn’t going to cut it anymore guys; may I suggest THE ONE MINUTE SALESPERSON?
But after attending the Monaco Yacht Show, the BOAT INTERNATIONAL’s Superyacht Design Symposium and FLIBS (Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show), it seems some things in the industry are unchanged so far.
BUT THIS IS A SUPERYACHT1
Going back to its creation, one of the reasons we set up the US Super Association (“USSA” www.ussuperyacht.com ) was because businesses in the US who were catering to superyachts were hearing that, post 9/11, many yacht Captains were avoiding calling at the US. This was a big business issue as it would later be demonstrated that a single visit of just one superyacht to South Florida brought approximately US$500,000.00 to the local economy.
Despite industry calls for a special “US Superyacht Visa” and what I know were the best efforts of the USSA in Washington, the professionals in the superyacht Industry will have to make do with the same bog-standard B1/B2 Visa’s that somehow work for everyone else.
BUT ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL?
At the design symposium in New York, presentations on superyacht helicopter operations aboard yachts by two (UK) Royal Navy helo pilots included graphic videos of those times when it all goes wrong on board grey ships, even when everyone is trained, the best equipment is on standby and the deck is designed for the abnormal loads and has channels to carry flaming fuel safely away.
So despite having just witnessed images of rotor blade fragments scything through the air and flaming JP-5 fuel, it seemed questions from the assembled superyacht audience focussed on ways to wink-and-nod all those troublesome procedures away with an ingeneous “touch-and-go” superyacht helicopter pad.
WHATEVER GOES DOWN DOESN'T HAVE TO COME UP
Superyacht toy submarines are a pet peeve of mine, no doubt reflecting a large degree of sanctimony on my part having somehow managed to qualify in them in the US Navy.
Mr Hawkes presented his “Deep Flight Superfalcon” and his experiences with one of its first buyers, Tom Perkins, for his MALTESE FALCON.
Not surprisingly, Mr Hawkes highlighted the very special opportunities to experience the underwater flora, fauna and geology that his submarine could provide.
Unfortunately, all submarines with air inside which is at a pressure less than the sea pressure outside, have a depth at which they will inevitably crush like an empty Budweiser can.
Finally, if there had been any discussion of how you’d find the inherently buoyant Falcon if she became entangled in wreckage, I don’t remember it – but then, I’m 57.
And then there’s the small problem of who can get down there to affect a rescue if Falcon finds herself in distress deeper than 150 feet. But because there seemed to be no way to escape from Falcon when she’s submerged - even from Naval Submarines, with escape trunks and training, it ain’t easy - it probably wouldn’t matter anyway.