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Croatia Boat Show: a back step

Just two years ago, the Croatia Boat Show in Split was something of a cashmere event, with parties on the piazzas as the nautical sector set its cap at the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and the near-virgin markets of the new members of the burgeoning European Union. It was all yachts and megayachts, sailing and motor-alike, helicopters and models, VIPs and luxury cars.

This year, however, the Split show is more like a sweater that’s shrunk in the wash: smaller but somehow tougher. Just 35% of the number of boats shown last year were on display this time, with gaps in the dockside despite berths being given out gratis at the last moment. The exhibition space was scaled down to a third of its former size too. Dominating the event though were the Brits. In fact, thanks to UK state subsidies and a very weak sterling, the new Fairlines and Princesses are now cheaper than pre-owned versions would have been two years ago. Sunseeker was, of course, the standard-bearer even though its usual three-storey glass and steel tower was down to two floors this year.

Drettman, which was very strong in the past thanks to the fact that so many Germans sail in Croatia waters, was on hand with its Elegance brand. However, the emphasis was more on showcasing charter opportunities than selling new yachts. Flying the flag for Italy were two Pershings, three Ferrettis, an Itama Forty, an Aprea, the Mochi Craft Dolphin 74 and a 26-metre Navetta from Custom Line, represented by local dealer Menn Yacht, and Sanlorenzo.

Giarolì was very busy indeed and the little Targa 22 was the most visited boat in the entire show. The sailing segment was practically non-existent with just 11 boats in total. However, the Murticyachts 52', an all-carbon-fibre cruiser-racer, did have some excellent interior design solutions.



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