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2024 Newport Charter Yacht Show - Shining a spotlight on dream vacations aboard luxury yachts

by Barby MacGowan 11 May 12:48 PDT June 24-26, 2024
2024 Newport Charter Yacht Show, scheduled for June 24-26 at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, is the only event of its kind in New England to showcase luxury charter yachts, bringing together an audience of industry agents, owners, brokers, and managers © Billy Black

When the Newport Charter Yacht Show comes around each year, it's a sign that summer in New England is in full swing.

And on Sunday, June 23rd, when 15+ luxury yachts move onto the docks at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard (the Show's producer and owner), it will further indicate that yacht charter professionals - including agents, owners, brokers, and captains - are at the ready to make the most of four days at the northeast's only such show of its kind.

"Brokers, suppliers, charter managers, and especially captains and crew are the backbone of yacht chartering; they make the on-board guest experience amazing," said Newport Charter Yacht Show Director Veronica Brown. "Annually for more than 35 years, this event has been bringing these parties together on one stage where yachts, whether they are new to the charter market or have made changes since they were last scouted, can be viewed by industry representatives."

One of Northrop & Johnson's two participating yachts, the 102' M/Y Vivace, is an active participant in charter shows, having traveled to Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas and now New England. "The owners and crew understand the importance of attending these shows and allowing brokers to meet the all-star crew, see the boat for themselves and truly get a sense of what their guests are offered on board," said Northrop & Johnson's Charter Marketing Manager Lauren Littlejohn, explaining that Vivace will be cruising New England this summer, from Newport to Maine. "Vivace is a fantastic size for the New England area and thanks to her wide beam, a comfortable cruise. She offers fabulous accommodations for 10 guests and al fresco living areas unlike any other vessel in her size category."

Littlejohn pointed out that the New England area as a cruising destination is still new to many experienced charterers, especially those in Europe, as well as many brokers. "Our goal is to introduce this area as another need-to-see destination and show what Vivace can offer. The captain has expansive knowledge of the area, as does the chief steward who grew up in Maine. Guests will get a true local's experience."

Northrop & Johnson also will show the 191' M/Y Unbridled, the largest vessel registered, thus far, which accommodates 12 guests.

The Newport Charter Yacht Show gets high marks for its "intimate" setting of dockside berths only steps away from the main event tent and vendor areas. The layout and size of the Show allows brokers maximum face time with fellow industry professionals and quality time on board each vessel while spurring on excellent (and energetic) participation in crew competitions.

"Having yachts participate in charter shows always helps with bookings," said Jenny Mullen of Worth Avenue Yachts, which will feature the 90' Cheoy Lee M/Y Windward. "The added fun of competitions makes it easy for yacht crews to meet other crews and perhaps get some great ideas for tablescapes, cocktails etc. I'm also always keen to come to Newport to participate in the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) Seminar. It's a great opportunity to meet with retail brokers, and its purpose is to educate us all on the latest developments in our industry."

Mullen says Windward is an excellent fit for a New England summer, boasting three luxurious staterooms for six guests and four dedicated crew members to cater to one's every need. "As always, the crew makes all the difference," said Mullen. "The captain has vast experience in New England and excels at giving his charter guests an incredible experience. He knows all the areas to go, and Windward is the perfect size to fit into some of the smaller harbors and marinas."

The sole sailboat in the Show (thus far) is one of great beauty and renown. Registered with Nicholson Yachts, the 91' S/Y Tree of Life was built in 1991 as a family boat and has been lovingly maintained over the years with meticulous care and attention to detail. Constantly upgraded to meet the demands of modern oceanic exploration, she also has raced up and down the East Coast.

"This is her first time in the Show, and we are excited to have her on the charter market," said Nicholson Yachts President Karen Kelly Shea, explaining that Tree of Life, which accommodates six guests, will be sailing out of Newport in June and then Belfast Maine in Penobscot Bay for the months of July through October. "There is a niche market for those who want the experience of sailing without compromising on comfort."

Nicholson's company has an impressive track record for coordinating vacation excursions aboard sailboats and catamarans in the Caribbean, and Kelly Shea says the Newport Charter Yacht Show helps make connections for charter sales not only in New England but also for destinations elsewhere in the world.

"It's not overwhelming like some other charter shows," said Kelly Shea. "It's very welcoming and efficiently run. It's easy to manage your time effectively, and everyone officially attending is included at all the social events. People say, 'Oh, yours is such a competitive business,' but here the social events bring us together, as does the AYCA Seminar, which educates all of us, whether it's about contracts or markets or even cyber security, which is on this year's docket. It keeps us up to speed so we can feel confident walking down the docks and navigating this world of ours."

Also showing under the Nicholson banner are the 62' M/Y Timeless, which sleeps six and is another boat with local ties (the captain and chef used to own a bed and breakfast establishment in Maine and now own the boat), and the 64' M/Y Gem, a sleek Turkish-built Downeast style boat that sleeps four.

Marine and Specialty Display Vendors
The public is invited to check out display vendors along the "checkerboard patio" outside Belle's at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, open daily Monday, June 23 through Wednesday, June 26 from 10am-5pm. Returning vendors include AERE Marine Group, Newport Yacht Interiors, CUTCO, Vitamin Sea Co Newport and more.

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