– Operations – Reduced, but not exhausted

SuperyachtNews interviews Y.CO Charter Broker Hume Jones on returning to the Antigua Charter Yacht Show…

The Antigua Charter Yacht Show returned for its 60th anniversary in 2021 after a COVID disrupted 2020. A flagship event of the superyacht season, it was great to see it again. Unable to attend this year, SuperyachtNews speaks with Antigua Show veteran, Hume Jones charter broker at Y.CO, about how this show compares to other years, its importance to the calendar and room for growth in the region.

The numbers were down this year, and the unfortunate withdrawal of Burgess’ ever-present team has significantly affected that. Also, naturally, there was a COVID-related reluctance on the part of charter yachts to risk a few hundred people visiting the boat through the show with a Christmas charter just days away. But also, as many have reported from the Monaco Show, sometimes a little less people can equal a little more focus.

“I’ve been going to the show for 25 years now,” begins Hume, “and this year has been absolutely fantastic. It was different because it was quieter, yes there weren’t many boats there, but that meant we could spend a bit more time talking to the crew and hanging out on each boat; it was a very happy atmosphere.

The Antigua show is an institution, but does that mean show capacity in the region is static? The Bahamas and the Caribbean can often be mistakenly confused as being much closer than they are. It is at least four days steamer from the Windward Islands and the cruising patterns, shallow draft restrictions and proximity to the United States make for a unique destination. “Is there room to grow? Yes.” Jones continued, “There’s a tremendous amount of talk right now about possibly having a show in the Bahamas. I think there’s a real need for a show in the Bahamas because it’s about a slightly different fleet that operates there.

The importance of the Antigua show is not limited to the Christmas / New Year charter and the extension of the Caribbean season, as may have been the case in a previous generation. With busy dueling season yachts pushing the boundaries of a Mediterranean season and a speedy refit even further, decisions made as the Caribbean sun sets are also increasingly influential in the upcoming Mediterranean charter season, as Jones explains:

“A lot of decisions are made by watching the boats in Antigua as to what you’re going to book for the summer. And that’s why there’s such a need,” says Jones.

“Summer Med bookings are starting earlier and earlier,” continues Jones, “Previously we would inspect boats in May for summer charters and a lot of our decisions were made at boat shows in Barcelona, ​​Genoa and San Remo for think about what we were going to charter for the summer, but because the booking started earlier, the Antigua show is essential to see the boats for the summer.

Jones, and other captains and brokers, reiterated that there was such demand for the Caribbean this year, particularly the Christmas/New Years charter, that the stock was nowhere near high enough to meet it, with cancellations encountered with long lists of charter guests ready to fly. This demand bodes well for the Caribbean and the strong comeback of the Antigua show. In another commentary, Chairman Paul Deeth summarizes his thoughts on the 2021 iteration:

“There is a very happy atmosphere at the Charter Yacht Show 2021, all attendees enjoy being able to see, chat, mingle with colleagues and visit yachts in a relaxed environment, there is great positive energy for a better and bigger in 2022.”

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When could a charter yacht show in the Bahamas fit into the calendar?

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