In a month’s time the Nautic 2014 will open its doors to the hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts of the sea and boats. As is the case every winter, there will be an abundance of new features and events creating a buzz at the Porte de Versailles in Paris. We review the high points and the main trends of this extraordinary boat show, which remains a French phenomenon.
We start with the new features, still as numerous as ever, which testify to the incomparable dynamism of the marine industries, whatever the weather conditions and the economic environment. There are yachts with modular designs, which are accessible and easy and genuine holiday homes, motor boats with an ever more studied design, equipment which has revolutionised comfort and safety in a matter of years and the very latest trends in boardsports. And if there is one particular trend, which is riding the wave of success, it has to be Stand Up Paddle; a discipline whose biggest race gathering is to be organised by the Nautic on Sunday 7 December: 400 competitors will traverse Paris, including a host of stars from the discipline and a host of boardsports icons. In fact, even watersports legend Kai Lenny prefers the wintry weather of early morning in Paris to the beaches of his native Hawaii! A ranking is reserved for the journalists too, whatever their athletic prowess. The second timed leg of the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing will be contested on Sunday afternoon in the basin at the Spot, which lies at the heart of the Nautic’s boardsports village. It’s there, around the famous Airstream of the Spot Café, that fellow paddleboarders, champions and fans of windsurfing, kiting, wakeboarding and surfing will hang out throughout the week. The basin at the Spot will also be the backdrop for demonstrations organised by Macif, the essence of which will be a rare opportunity to see all the latest sea solidarity machines in actual use.
A historically Parisian boat show, the Nautic is also a showcase for design. In this way, each year the Nautic Design Awards reward the finest production motor boat designs.
Those nominated by the online public this year are:
The Frauscher 747 Mirage, a genuine marine sculpture by Stefan Frauscher. The Bénéteau Flyer 7 Spacedeck, designed by the Style & Design firm. The Draco 27RS, a lesson in Norwegian design. The Galia 770 Sundeck, the cream of Polish engineering. The Capelli Tempest 800, where harmony takes the form of a rib.
Part Italian, part French (Vendée region), the Monte Carlo MC5S launch by Nuvalori & Lenard . The Prestige 420 Fly, with a design by Garroni that boasts all the characteristics of a larger model. The Bavaria S400 is German, albeit it designed by the Romans from Too Design. The Sealine F380, the British version for us by Bill Dixon. The Galeon 405 HTL, designed by Roberto Curto.
From Austria, France, Norway, Poland, Italy, Germany or the UK: these nominees come from all around to exhibit at Paris and entice the most demanding audiences in the motorboat racing section. As such, visitors will be able to view them up close, vote on them again to join the professional jury presided over by Odile Decq, and then witness the election of the finest design of the year. The prize-giving will take place in the Nautic Marina space on Friday 12 December, Hall 4. In the same hall, the legendary brand Jeep®, a loyal partner to the Nautic, will play host to professionals and the press in its lounge. Offering a range specially geared around towing, Jeep® will bring its brand new Renegade to the Show, which fully intends to earn its stripes as the cruiser’s most trusty companion.
Major events have been big news at the Nautic for half a century now and 2014 will be an exceptional vintage. Let’s begin on Saturday 6 December with the prize-giving for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Only just back from the tropical climes, the skippers will all get a chance to hook up with each other again for the first time since the race start in St Malo, their recent tradewind sailing mapped out on their faces. There will also be presentations from the Fêtes Maritimes de Brest, the Lorient stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race, the Tour de France à la Voile, the Barcelona World Race, press conferences and presentations from the latest major projects and challenges.
Without wishing to be nostalgic, the Nautic certainly knows how to honour its founding fathers. This year, a special homage is being made to Yves Carcelle, the man who has turned Louis Vuitton into an outstanding seamark in the marketing marshland, by supporting the selection trials for the prestigious America’s Cup. His two marine passions, a cutter and a yawl christened Runa IV and VI and graced by the beautiful hulls synonymous with classic Danish yachts, have been fully restored by the famous Guip yards.
Though each winter it plays host to classic boats and craft that are emblematic of the history of yachting, the Nautic is also a venue for 21st century encounters. This year, a new e-Nautic space is devoted to community-based and collaborative applications on mobiles. A start-up competition will also be launched this year, the Nautic Start-Up Challenge. Visitors can discover the latest innovative marine services on Friday 12 December on the Nautic Stage.
Online Virtual Regatta races, which gather together tens of thousands of players during each major ocean race, are also a striking presence around the Paris boat show. For the second edition, the Nautic Transat is leaving Newport on Friday 5 and is set to reach the very real wintry conditions of Lorient at the end of the boat show on very virtual Ultime trimarans! We bet that the 35,000 competitors in the Nautic Transat 2013 will be fleshed out even more this year…! The prize-giving will take place on Saturday 13, a pretty rare opportunity to discover who’s hidden behind the online pseudonyms of these keyboard wizards.
Beautiful writing also remains a tradition of the International Paris Boat Show, with the prize-giving ceremony for the Prix du Livre Maritime l’Express/Nautic (L’Express/Nautic Maritime Book Prize), whose president this winter is Yann Quéffelec.
New design features, elegant hulls beneath the waterline, idols of the swells, surfers and adventurers, marine geeks, engineers and dreamers, they’ll all be at the Porte de Versailles, from 6 to 14 December. Come and join them, breathe in the tradewind air and the delights of being waterborne.