Sandy rained on the parade that was the 2012 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, but it passed and the huge event lived up to its expectations.
Hovering off the Florida coast, Sandy's rain and heavy winds slowed attendance in the early days. The rough conditions kept "the strolling crowd of lookers and non buyers from coming out, leaving more time to focus on qualified buyers who braves the elements," the Miami Sun Sentinel reported.
Ft. Lauderdale, known as the "Yachting Capital of the World," is a priority event for yacht manufacturers around the globe. The "Hall of Fame" dock was crowded with multi-million dollar yachts for sale and for showcasing purposes. To walk aboard these four story goliaths, curious passerbys and perspective customers had to make an appointment with expensively dressed secretaries.
The perfume was as thick as the accents in the "Yacht Builders Tent," where ships from Germany, New Zealand, and Australia were on display.
A few docks away, Sportsfishing Village had a much more different feel. To tour a boat, no appointment was needed, nor was asking the company representatives. It was expected for perspective customers to climb on board at will and gaze at the engines, fiddle with the dashboard controls and take photos.
"After being down 30 percent during the first two days because of Hurricane Sandy, attendance was very strong the last three days and finished down just 2 percent over last year for the show overall," said Efrem Zimbalist III, CEO of Show Management, the company that manages and produces the show.
Click image for the boat show photos