Sylvie Ernoult: Tweaking a winning formula
Ernoult, Director of the Cannes Yachting Festival, talks to Yacht Style about the changes to the popular six-day event.
Sylvie Ernoult, Director, Cannes Yachting Festival
A new feature of this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival is the in-water exhibition area for 8-12m boats in Vieux Port (‘Old Port’). How many boats do you expect in there?
We expect about 50 smaller boats from almost 30 brands including Canelli, Cormate, Hanse, Rand, Regal, Sea Ray, Nautic and White Shark. In addition, I’m happy to confirm that the brokerage section was fully booked as of the second week of August, which was at least three weeks earlier than for the past two editions.
Situated beside the sailing area in Port Canto, the brokerage and toys area will present interesting content including a lot of innovative water toys ashore and 48 brokerage yachts in the water including at least 10 big sailing boats.
Will Vieux Port again host a dedicated zone for electric boats?
Yes. Like last year, there will be a zone for electric and hybrid models, where we’re expecting around a dozen boats. This area is for smaller electric boats. However, over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in this sector, so you’ll see more and more shipyards presenting a hybrid or electric boat elsewhere at this year’s show.
Examples include four Eco models from Sunreef Yachts, comprising one 80ft powercat and three sailing models from 60-80ft, as well as a Silent 60, which is also fully powered by solar energy, while new Norwegian builder Ripple Boats will present a long-range electric boat.
What else can visitors look forward to at this year’s show?
Visitors will find lots of amazing boats, new innovative vessels and products with high design specs, as well as new players in the industry, so start-ups as well as major companies.
A couple of interesting boats to look out for include Bluegame’s hydrogen-powered chase boat being developed for America’s Cup entry American Magic, which is being presented at the show on land.
Ernoult with David Lisnard (on left), the Mayor of Cannes
Meanwhile, Prestige is staging a world premiere of a new multihull motor yacht for a second successive year in the water at Vieux Port. Who would have expected these major brands and others to be so innovative?
Are you happy with the overall format introduced in 2019, to keep motor yachts in Vieux Port and move sailing boats to Port Canto by the brokerage and toys area?
Moving 120 sailing boats to Port Canto was discussed with our main clients, for both big and small boats, sailing and power. The product segmentation and logic for our visitors as well as the technical constraints sail boats required, such as deep water in the port, also influenced the final decision.
Four years on, we’re happy that this was a very good choice. Port Canto only contains a quarter of the overall total of boats exhibited at the show, but it presents specific segments and only big boats.
Port Canto hosts the popular sailing area, as well as the brokerage superyachts and toys
We’re happy with the overall format for both the Vieux Port and Port Canto because of the quality and suitability of the content presented on each side, with visitors going from one to the other except for those who know exactly what they want to see and not see.
If we need to change again in the future, it’s possible, but what’s important is to maintain the quality and logic in the product segmentation presented, so visitors will still be curious and satisfied to go to the other area to see the variety they expect.
Are you happy with the overall attendance, which has been quite consistent for the last few years?
I’m not bothered by number consistency. What’s important is to increase audience quality, which is what we do. Quantity is organic and constantly increasing, so it’s not so important. In addition, we don’t want to have a show that’s too busy, so 50,000-60,000 quality visitors is a good figure for me.
The main entrance to Vieux Port, the show’s largest venue and home to most motor yachts
What makes it Europe’s most important in-water boat show and for world premieres?
The Cannes Yachting Festival opens the nautical season. It’s an unmissable boat show. All the worldwide players in this industry who want to present their previews must attend. Our exhibitors have the guarantee of both meeting good-quality visitors – so buyers for their products – and journalists from all over the world who will promote their boat debuts worldwide.
The city of Cannes is clearly a highlight of the show as well, with its famous ‘Old Town’, five-star hotels, the Croisette and luxury boutiques. These represent many advantages. And not forgetting the Bay of Cannes, the Vieux Port and Port Canto, which provide an extraordinary setting for welcoming more than 700 boats.