The young exhibition Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous is quite an interesting phenomenon, and here’s why. It is based on, perhaps, not the newest, but very sober and practical idea: to create a large boat show that precedes the season, and by all means make it an international event.
The organizers of VYR, having set themselves the ambitious goal of reaching the level of the Genoa Salon, chose for this, on the one hand, an obvious, but on the other – a controversial place. Viareggio definitely claims to be the heart of the Italian yachting industry: in the city itself and its environs there are, if not two-thirds, then certainly half of all important shipyards and manufacturers of related equipment. This neighborhood creates a wonderful atmosphere, where the visitor to the exhibition not only walks along the embankments and quays of a large marina, but finds himself in the halls of Benetti and Perini Navi, Sanlorenzo and Fipa Group. In the workshops adjacent to the port, work does not stop at this time, and you can watch how yachts are born.
It would seem that you could not imagine better! Indeed, there is a nuance: since VYR is somewhat ahead of the beginning of the holiday season (May 9-12), guests find themselves in a quiet provincial Italian town, where a measured, if not sleepy, life flows. Only a month later, numerous hotels, beaches and spas in Viareggio will fill with vacationers, and until then it will be even deserted here than in early spring in Cannes. Good or bad, everyone decides for himself. On the one hand, there are no problems with rooms in good hotels, and on the other hand, you also need to come up with entertainment (in addition to the exhibition) yourself, combining your arrival at VYR, for example, with a May vacation at thermal springs, of which there are a great many in this part of Tuscany, or, say, with a visit to the Venice Biennale.
Returning to the exhibition, which I visited for the first time, I will say that I was surprised by its format – a kind of hybrid B2B + B2C, and the exposition, in which super-yachts and boats for “mere mortals” peacefully coexisted. One gets the impression that the boat show is a compact cross between the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Monaco exhibition, as evidenced by the average length of the presented fleet – 32.3 m.
The number of participants at VYR is still not so large (150+ companies), but the attendance for the third year is very high: the organizers report more than 22 thousand people, 37% of whom were guests from outside the European Union. Russians accounted for as much as 7% this year, and this is not surprising, since our compatriots love to live and relax in Tuscany.
Italians strive to open their shows with pomp and know how to turn them into a beautiful celebration with the indispensable participation of high-ranking officials and naval officers. On the first evening, the organizers (Fiera Milana) invited the participants and VIP-guests to the picturesque town of Pietrasanta near the resort of Forte dei Marmi, where a magnificent cocktail round took place within the walls of the old monastery-museum, accompanied by an art performance.
showed her fleet of the Class family right at the gates of the docks where all these yachts are built
Opening ceremony of the exhibition with the participation of high-ranking guests
The attractiveness of a yacht show is largely determined by the number of world premieres, but in this parameter VYR, unfortunately, cannot compete with major boat shows. She will not win the race for the premieres, first of all, because at the beginning of May there are practically no new products ready for viewing, both among superyachts and among boats up to 30 meters in length. Perhaps the organizers should focus on attracting more debutants of the past fall in order to give visitors the opportunity choose and purchase boats built and not sold during the winter.
This time in Viareggio there were only two premieres: Atlantis 45 from Azimut-Benetti and Solaris Power 55. If everything is more or less clear with Atlantis, then the second boat deserves a special mention: it laid the foundation for the lineup of a new brand, which brings to market returned to the industry by Norberto Ferretti. The Power 55 is a fresh take on the lobster pleasure craft, where designer Brunello Acampora has taken some very radical solutions to make this yacht stand out from the crowd. What is even worth a ladder that connects the control post with the roof of the hardtop, which here also serves as a “solarium” platform!
Alfa Romeo Museum became one of the participants in the luxury exposition
As for superyacht manufacturers, in addition to Perini Navi, Benetti and Sanlorenzo, who presented their fleets on the “home field”, Fincanieri, Baglietto, Codecasa and CCN took part in the exhibition, showing current projects at their stands. Other Italian companies with strong global market positions include propeller manufacturer Eliche Radice, system integrator Videoworks and bridge designer and innovator Team Italia, all of whom have become prominent contributors to Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous. Perhaps the name Eliche Radice is not well known in Russia, but it is she who makes the screws for the Volvo Penta IPS and DuoProp speakers and today is the only manufacturer of these products that has its own foundry in Italy.
Videoworks, in turn, is preparing to expand the business and enter the market for serial yachts in the length of 20-30 meters, for which the company offers entertainment systems and smart home elements with the same set of basic functions as on superyachts. The demo unit, which Videoworks showed at VYR 2019, is no larger than a suitcase and contains a server based on an Intel mini-computer, a 4G cellular modem and AV / IT systems control cards, with which the user interacts remotely through a proprietary application for mobile devices. There is a place for such a block even on a small cruiser, and its integration can be easily carried out after the fact (for example, during a refit) according to the principle of “one window”.
On Solaris Power 55, designers have applied a number of interesting solutions
“The show has continued to grow, and this year there is progress in both the number of exhibitors and the number of boats,” says Lamberto Tacoli, President of Nautica Italiana. – <…> In addition, I am delighted that during the VYR, the two industry associations worked together not only in words, taking another step towards the joint presentation and promotion of the Italian yachting sector. “
A visit to Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous can be part of a May vacation in Tuscany or a trip to northern Italy
The last remark came in handy, since there are probably no people left in the industry who, at least once, have not heard about the difficult relationship between UCINA and Nautica Italiana. And if the companies that form them have enough wisdom not to aggravate the differences, then the scale of Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous may grow dramatically next year, especially since the green light has long been given to it by the local authorities.
Now the exhibition has a competitor in the form of the Venice boat show, on the side of which there is a much more attractive tourist city, but its growth is hindered by logistical problems: it is difficult and expensive to hold a large yacht event in Venice. Marina di Viareggio is much better suited for this: its layout makes it possible to perfectly structure the exhibition and accommodate many boats, and the transport accessibility of Pisa, where the nearest international airport is located, improves significantly in early spring.
At the time of this writing, the exact dates for VYR 2020 have not yet been announced, but it will still be early May, so your rendezvous trip can be planned now.