Monaco is the cradle of the superyacht, a place where the capital exists to indulge this most indulgent of industries. In recent years, the number of moorings at the annual Monaco Yacht Show has ballooned, and the bay is thick with nautical innovation, decks and fittings gleaming in the bright autumn sunshine. Money seems to cascade down the steep hills of the principality and end up in the bay, where it’s transformed into the navy, grey and white superstructures of the modern yacht industry.
Along with Fort Lauderdale, the MYS is the premiere industry destination. Tax planners sit alongside naval architects and the Antiguan tourist board, with everyone looking for ways of muscling in. In the marquees you’ll find specialist suppliers of marquetry, crockery, galley equipment, tender hoists and superyacht stabiliser systems. Everything that can be chromed, is chromed. A thousand sparkly finished objects compete against other as everyone angles to get their ‘gesamtkunst’ into the ‘werk’. Spokesmodels are poured into matching dresses while a hundredweight of glossy brochures and specialist magazines threaten to sink the pontoons into the harbour. Shelves groan with magazines like Global Citizen and Arabian Knight, each hoping to speak directly to the elite cadre of perhaps 10,000 people who can afford to buy and maintain one of these extraordinary objects.
This year, the big trend is not just ‘expedition yachts’ (the SUVs of the nautical world, designed to go anywhere for long periods of time so you can indulge your Steve Zissou fantasies), but ‘shadow boats,’ essentially a tug-like support vessel that follows the main yacht laden with jet skis, tenders, personal submarines and a helicopter or two, thus freeing up space above and below decks on your main boat for (even) more lavish accommodation. Glass-sided swimming pools were also in evidence, for example, as was a new Dutch innovation for a bed platform that constantly adjusts to counter the roll and pitch of the sea, theoretically giving you a stable place to sleep. Now even the most seasick mogul can enjoy their time offshore.
Wallpaper* was hosted on a Riva Rivale, an elegant sports yacht built by the legendary Italian firm, moored at the Riva Monaco Boat Service and as guests of Lia Riva. The Yacht Show sees Riva in its element – the company fielded jetties full of Aquaramas and Aquarivas, as well as its larger cruisers, all the way up to the new Florida 88. Step on board for our guide to what’s new in nautical design, technology and style.