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Salty Dog Boating News, Former Show Round-Up: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – FLIBS, is where the superyachts of the world come together.  For the maritime industry, it feels like one huge colleague reunion.  Full of hugs, handshakes, kiss-kiss on each cheek and plenty of cross-marketing and promotions for all who go to FLIBS, bearing in mind ‘making the most of every opportunity.’  This show is filled with first time boat buyers dreaming of getting into that 58′ Kadey-Krogen to the 5th time buyer moving up to a 164 ft. yacht.

This year FLIBS launched on Halloween, opening with steel drum calypso rhythms along Seabreeze Boulevard. The 54th Boat Show of its kind had a steady stream of show-goers on the docks and in the pavilions, tents and cocktail barges.  It was a delight to not be flooded or rained out this year at the show – as it has been in past show years.  This made for a much better turnout and greater overall positive show impact.

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This year’s Fort Lauderdale, FL Show is a record breaker- the ‘BIGGEST’ in its history according to Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, chairman and CEO of event Organizer Show Management, while at a media breakfast at the Superyacht lounge on the Bahia Mar Yachting Center’s F Dock.  At 3 million square feet, “this is by far the biggest footprint in the history of the show,” Zimbalist said.  This year’s show was revenue boosted by the healthy exhibitor turnout and acres of boats, engines and equipment on display – also the largest ever, he mentioned.

Zimbalist plans for the show to get better and better each year, adding new features such as this year’s 70,000 square foot Sailfish Pavilion at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, where a broad range of fishing, family and water sport boats are on display, including pontoon boats.  “Pontoon boats are selling like hotcakes around the country,” Zimbalist said.

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The 1st day of the show, ‘Red Carpet Day’, saw a wave of new-boat introductions.  Sea Ray premiered two boats: the 510 Fly, a 50 -Ft. flybridge powered by twin 600-hp inboard or Zeus pods, and the 350 SLX, a 34-ft. bowrider with seating for 18, noise and vibration reducing features, an da MerCruiser/Bravo III sterndrive package.

MarineMax is the nation’s largest boat dealer, having just celebrated their 15th year as a publicly traded company.  Debuting four models:  the two Sea Rays, the Azimut 80 Flybridge and the Hatteras 100.  CEO William McGill said MarineMax is also carrying the new 19 ft Scarab jetboat built by Rec Boat Holdings and building a private-ownership version of the 44-ft power catamaran it charters out of the British Virgin Islands.

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Grand Banks debuted the 29-knot 50 EastBay SX at the show.  North American sales manager Tucker West said GB aficionados can expect three more new models during the next few years.  “You’ll be seeing a new look, something a little more contemporary,” said production director Bruce Livingston Jr., but still in the classic GB style.  Also new this year – Black Cove’s Downeast 37, with a galley-down layout and a single level helm cockpit for maximum social space, great for entertaining while on the hook or underway.

FenderHooks is pleasantly growing the business by leaps and bounds.  The Trawler and Superyacht Division expansion is attributed to 40 plus years in the yachting industry, working with large and small vessels, owners, and captains from around the world.  FenderHooks’ motto is: “Choice, Beauty, Style” – they are as varied as the vessels they protect. Each owner/captain has experience that can be incorporated into a successful design that takes into account the size of the vessel, the type of cruising/mooring that is anticipated, type of cap rail or railing system, and the number of crew.   FenderHooks are an investment in your overall success as a yachtsman and captain. For details visit:  www.fenderhooks.com

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Benetti’s Vision 145 with a range of 3,500 nautical miles is making its U.S. debut at FLIBS 2013, this Italian builder never ceases to impress and amaze us.  Noted as the shows ‘new flagship Ferretti 960, with twin 2,318-hp MTU’s and gyroscopic stabilization was a show stopper must see for those who were – clearly pre-approved!   Turkish builder Vicem Yachts, known for its cold-molded wood construction, debuted a new long-range, semi-displacement yacht, the 107 Cruiser.

Those who participate and exhibit at FLIBS are putting themselves on the map.  It’s more than just a ‘Boat Show’- it’s an experience!  The world-class events, parties, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, red carpet events, happy hours, and the Dark & Stormy Cocktail barge and mixers before, after and during FLIBS are all a part of the diverse yachting lifestyle.  We look forward to seeing you next year at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2014!

Thank you to all the sponsors who put their blood, sweat, and tears in putting on this years great FLIBS Parties & Events – you all out did yourselves again, of course.  We appreciate the over the top luxury and first class yachting experience while in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

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