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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

THE ST. THOMAS, TORTOLA, ST. MARTIN AND ANTIGUA BOAT SHOWS
by Ed
December 2005

Most crewed yachts head back to the Caribbean in November and December for the winter season, so this is a logical time for brokers to view the yachts and meet new crews.

The first broker's show of the season was in Tortola, BVI (November 4-6). This year was probably the best Tortola show we have been to, with over 70 crewed yachts (including over 40 cats) and some of the highest standards we have seen. Village Cay Marina, as always, was a great, central location and there were plenty of outside activities for brokers.

There is a lay day between the shows and Heather and Emily both spent a couple of nights on yachts, while Ed drove a 16' inflatable all over the BVI, taking photographs for the web site (thank you Sunsail)! See the before and after pictures of Maya Cove.

The St. Thomas Show (November 8-10) was a smaller affair this year, but there were some interesting seminars, including one on the recent Homeland Security measures.

The St. Martin Show (December 5-8) was created in 2004 and this year was actually considerably smaller than the first year, with just over 30 boats attending. It was started as a supplement/competition to the much larger Antigua show and the dates even overlapped, which proved to be unfortunate as most brokers went to Antigua. There were, however, some nice yachts showing there - mostly powerboats in the 80 - 170 ft. range. The show was particularly well run and is as much a venders show for boat suppliers as it is a broker show.

Antigua (December 7-12) is the largest show of them all, with over 130 yachts. Brokers can view some of the most magnificent power and sailing yachts available anywhere, but in the Nicholson tradition, there is still a strong fleet of smaller yachts (particularly sailboats), which were the backbone of this show for many years.The smaller sailboats (50' - 80') tend to moor stern to at The Dockyard. This was Admiral Nelson's base and has been beautifully restored. We can't think of a more picturesque setting for a show. The larger sailboats are in Falmouth Marina, a short walk away, while the magnificent mega yachts are mostly docked in the constantly expanding Yacht Club Marina.

While it is hard to convince friends stuck in snow back home that this is work, it is in fact quite a feat to visit all these boats and interview their crews. Over the years we have learned it is essential to write everything down and our brokers are well known in the industry for the time they take with each crew and the copious notes they write, all of which are added to our database! Our brokers see boats separately, so we get an interesting overview when all the comments come together.

We arrived home last week, tired after the last show, but did we enjoy it? Of course we did!

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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