FLIBS 2020: Two Weeks To Go

This year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show opens on Wednesday, October 28...in just two weeks' time. Here are five things you need to know this week.

See What’s New

Slip spots are filling-up fast. According to FLIBS organizers, this year’s show will see more than 20 brand new boat models making their show debut, plus more than 50 XXL-sized superyachts on display. “With so many key boat shows around the world having been cancelled, manufacturers are using FLIBS to debut their latest offerings,” says Andrew Doole, President of Informa Markets US Boat Shows. “And there’ll be something for everyone – new luxury yachts, to sport fishers, to center consoles to express cruisers,” he adds. Look for world debuts from Viking Yachts, Intrepid, Azimut, Solace, and MCY. Ocean Alexander will show no fewer than three brand-new motor yachts, including the stunning 27-meter Explorer. For the latest list, go to www.flibs.com

Take the Big Yellow Taxi – the Water Kind

Trust me, the best twelve bucks you can spend during Five Days of FLIBS is for a one-day ticket on the Big Yellow Water Taxi. I love to park the car close to downtown Lauderdale and step aboard at the Riverside Hotel stop. Then, for a blissful 15 minutes or so, I can gaze at the mega-mansions and mega-yachts on the New River all the way to the show’s Bahia Mar dock. This year Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi is making a Safe + Clean Pledge by sanitizing the boats before and after each trip, checking passenger temperatures before letting anyone on, doing paperless ticketing, and requiring face masks. They’ll start operating an hour before the show opens, with the last boat leaving two hours after the show closes. Go to the website to see their pick-up/drop-off points. Just don’t forget to tip the crew.

Show-Stopper, Sovereign of the Seas

Got a spare $24 million and looking to snap-up a superyacht? One of the superyacht showstoppers at this year’s FLIBS will be the stunning 180-foot ‘Sovereign’ being showcased by Worth Avenue Yachts. Built right here in Palatka, Florida by Newcastle Shipyards in 2011, this gray-hulled beauty has just come out of a comprehensive refit that has seen new paint, a new galley, and upgrades to the bridge. With accommodations for 14 guests in six cabins, ‘Sovereign’ is designed to reach the four corners of the globe in comfort and style at a cruising speed of 13 knots. She’s on the market for $24.95 million, or you can try-before-you-buy by chartering from around $250,000 a week.

Hot Boat of the Week – Italian Stallion

This year’s FLIBS will see a true Italian stallion, the muscley Mangusta GranSport 33 from Viareggio-based Overmarine, making its global show debut. This 109-foot cruise missile is powered by a quartet of 1,000-hp Volvo D13 diesels with IPS drives that can punch it to a top speed of 26 knots. Below decks there are five cabins including a palatial 430-square-foot master in the bow. Hard to believe, but this is the ‘starter’ model in Overmarine’s new GranSport line-up, though with a base price of around $12 million there’s nothing basic about it. Cool features include a jacuzzi tub, pool with hydromassage on the bow, a skylounge, acres of sunpads, and a huge tender garage. Hull #1 was snapped-up by a lucky  American buyer in April.

Flashback of the Week

No FLIBs is complete without fun music. Walk past any of the floating bars and you’re guaranteed to hear a little ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ floating in the air. Back in the ‘70s, a fixture of FLIBS was Fort Lauderdale’s own Tommy Mercer and his Big Band Sound (above) playing their Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey medleys. Then there were ‘The Low Tides’ made up of marine industry members wanting to be rock stars, while other regulars included The Alexanders Olde-Tyme Ragtime Band. This year we’re hoping to hear boat show regular Eric Stone playing a little Buffett. Any requests?

FLIBS 2020 will run from Wednesday October 28 through Sunday November 1. One-day general admission tickets from Thursday through Sunday cost $35, with Wednesday afternoon Prime Time Preview tickets costing $55. To purchase go to www.flibs.com.

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