Monday, November 14, 2005

The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

A bird's eye view of the huge area covered by the boat show.
Several years ago we went to Boca Raton to visit an old college friend of hubs. They invited us to attend the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, as his wife was affiliated with the company that produced the show or a magazine that publicized it, I am not sure which. To a person who knows nothing about boats, this show is an amazing view into the world of boating and the lengths to which people will go to own a boat (meaning the amounts of money they are willing to part with in order to obtain one).

I was astounded over and over at the numbers of boats at the show, at the hordes of people, and at the lavish displays of wealth on many of the boats. We had special access to tour two very fancy yachts and it was one "wow" after another. The first boat was about 350 feet long and had the most amazing furnishings (if you like modern styles). There was a large interior space, with leather couches, chairs, leaded glass windows, lush carpet and all the appointments one could wish for, plus larger than expected privatespaces. This boat was available for charter (to the right people). It came with a crew, a cook, staff and all the perks. I cannot remember the amount of money one had to plunk down in order to reserve it, but that amount did not include gasoline, foods or beverages, and it was equal to a year's wages for some people.

The next boat we toured was owned by Bert Sugarman, who is the husband of Mary Hart, the TV personality. This 395' boat is also for charter, sort of a time-share deal, where you pay beaucoups of millions for the privilege of using it for 2 weeks, and then $10K per week while you are on it. You might not believe the luxury on this boat. Nothing was spared to insure the comfort (and one hopes, the safety) of passengers. It had, in addition to all the usual living spaces, a gym with several pieces of workout equipment, a huge master bedroom and a bathroom for Mary with what looked like mother of pearl (or abalone) sinks and a mosaic tile bathtub surround. The mosaic (lapis lazuli, opal or copper and gold) theme, if I remember correctly, was a mermaid, and it was beautifully subtle. The thing that I noticed most about these yachts was that if you didn't look out the windows, you'd never realize you were on a yacht. They are all outfitted to look just like the inside of a home - granted a luxury home - but a home nonetheless. It sort of boggled my mind (which isn't hard to do).

The next best thing about the boat show was people watching, which is just about my favorite activity. I saw people from all over the globe and heard accents and foreign languages from numerous lands. Some of them appeared to be European royalty, or what passes for it here. I am sure I could be duped easily by some man pretending-to-be- pretending-to-the-throne, as I'd be a gaga-eyed over him and never realize he wasn't legit.

Back to Mary Hart: we were sitting on the deck of Mary's boat, sipping drinks and eyeing the hors d' oeuvres, when we were ushered off very quickly by the security personnel. Mary was on her way! Hubs was hoping she'd be dressed in a skirt, so he could see her famous legs, but no such luck, she was in pants. Her bodyguards flanked her, eyes scanning the crowds as though they were CIA men guarding the President. It was rather amusing to me. I was thinking who in God's name would want to harm Mary Hart at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show? But then, what do I know? Well, I soon found out why we were ushered off so quickly. Mary was there to charm potential buyers, and since we didn't fit the requirements, they wanted the chairs we were occupying to go to people who had the bank accounts necessary for the deal! No wasting drinks and food on the "tire-kickers", as we surely were!


Inanna said...

I can only imagine the opulence among the opals and lapis and gold and ... wow.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

So interesting Judy! It noggles the mind--this kind of wealth that can turn a boat into a house!!!
But so much fun to see, huh? I can never quite get how big a boat really is by people saying, 'Oh it's a 75 footer. I cannot 'imagine' what 75 feet actuallt looks like...I need to see the boat, in person. It sure sounds like fun to have been at this....seeing these incrddiblt boats without having to own one!

srp said...

Of all the dreams I've ever had and all the things it would be nice to have and do....owning a boat has NEVER been one of them. Maybe it was that deep sea fishing trip off the coast of Delaware in choppy seas that did it or the JAWS movie and a fear of falling overboard into shark infested oceans. Yup. That might have something to do with it.

Juggling Mother said...

Many years ago, when we were still impoverished students (and we were impoverished!) we went along to th Southampton Boat Show. We got free tickets for some reason or another (can't remember why), but I remember being absolutely stunned by the number of people willing & able to pay the exorbiant (to me) entrance fee, just to go look at what they can spend even more money on!

Still, it was fascinating to look around the boats & to people watch. I also decided that "when" (yeah right) I became rich, I would not be particularly interested in a boat, although I can kind of see some of th appeal in my age & wisdom:-)

Peter said...

Hi Judy, the "haves" sure outshine the "have nots" at a boat show, and you are speaking of a SERIOUS boat show there.

Laura again said...

I've been to the Miami boat show and the shows in Tampa/St. Petersburg also. The Ft. Lauderdale one is too big for my liking. But I am always astounded at the way they're able to design the inside of these boats to be so luxurious and beautiful.

I have a friend who, with her hub, owns a large sailboat/yacht building company, and I can tell you their clients really don't spare any expense when they begin building! Amazing, these people with money.

I've often told hub that we should design our master bedroom around the same principles as the bedrooms in some of these boats, because no space is wasted and they're just drop dead gorgeous!
It's too bad Ms. Hart didn't get a chance to meet you, it's her loss, i'd say! :)

Weary Hag said...

Judy, that is one heck of a boat show! Wowzer!

I am with "laura again" here on the bedroom designing issue. Same deal with RVs ... everything is so compact and convenient (i.e. light switches, etc). Of course, the bedroom in the house would need to have lots more space just to 'be.' Pretty picture!

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mjhet said...

I would agree with you who would bother mary hart. I think that was when they were just married. No police now. Good little story.