Cannes is best known for its film festival, but each September the pretty town in the south of France also hosts the Yachting Festival, the country’s major boat show. The centerpiece of life here is the Vieux Port, flanked by rows of restaurants serving up seafood of often surpassing excellence to diners seated outside in the Mediterranean summer. The private yachts and fishing boats that usually pack the marina here are moved to make way for row upon row of powerboats ranging from the cutely minuscule to the ridiculously large, and a smaller number of sailing boats that don’t quite go to the same extremes; 80-90ft seems about the maximum. Anything larger is relegated to the superyacht show a few miles along the coast in Monaco.
Many builders choose this outdoor show to introduce their new models, rather than waiting for the other big Euro-show, Boot Dusseldorf in January; the south of France in September, or northern Europe in January—tough call—though both shows attract international visitors by the thousand.
With all the major production builders in attendance, along with a wide sampling of products from smaller and custom builders, there is always plenty for the keen boat nerd to look at in Cannes.
Here’s a sampling of what I saw walking the docks earlier this week.
Cannes was the debut for the Beneteau’s new Oceanis 51.1, which has a variety of rig, keel and interior options depending on whether you are primarily a cruiser or a racer.
There are some nice touches on the Oceanis 51.1, including these sun loungers flanking the companionway.
The Lagoon 40 supplants the Lagoon 39 that was introduced a few years ago. It has modified hull and deck molds, a new interior, a bigger rig and weighs half a ton less.
Also showing the Lagoon “DNA” was the new Lagoon 50, which slots under the 52 in the Lagoon range. It’s a big 50-footer that still can be handled by a crew of two.
Good use of the interior volume is evident; one of the options is a six-cabin, six-head layout!
Germany’s Hanse yard has refreshed most for the models in its line-up. Here’s the 388, a perky-looking cruiser sporting one of Hanse’s many colorful gelcoat options.
Italy’s Cantiere del Pardo showed off its new 52LC, short for Long Cruise, aimed at the offshore/ocean cruising market. You’d certainly be crossing oceans in style.
Never mind the name— Swisscats are built in the south of France. The new SC48 has an angular, clean look to it that is oddly attractive. It’s a semi-custom boat that can be fitted out to owner’s requirements and should be a fast passagemaker.
A first look at Amel’s new baby, the Amel 50—going by the traffic through this boat, it should be a big success.
A beefy pair of electric furlers for the Amel 50.
Moody’s popular DS45 has had a facelift—note the hull chines, and other subtle refinements.
This Morrelli & Melvin-designed 60ft trimaran is built in Thailand at the Corsair facility. It looks like a fast, fun passagemaker for adventurous sailors. Cruising at 20 knots, anyone?
The only other trimaran at the show, the Neel 51, is a spacious bluewater cruising multihull that, according to its builders, can outrun just about cruising cat in its size range.
One of a number of limited-production, semi-custom brands built in Italy, the Ice 60 is a stylish, beautifully fitted-out performance cruiser.
And finally… I did not know what to make of the Marengo 68 from Sunreef Yachts. I bet it doesn’t go to windward, but with three stories to play around in, it’ll sure be comfortable…