Cannes Yachting Festival 2019 : Have the sailboats found their place in Port Canto?

New in 2019, the move of the Espace Voile to Port Canto was the subject of all the attention and comments at the Cannes Yachting Festival. While waiting for the official figures, we asked visitors and exhibitors about their feelings about this new version of the Cannes boat show.

Sailing boats and sailing under development

After the torrential rain of the opening, its ribbon cutting and the visit of a few courageous people, the new Espace Voile du Cannes Yachting Festival only really welcomed its first visitors on Wednesday 11 September. Under the sun, the sailboats, now moored in Port Canto, leaving the Old Port to motorboats, were presented in their best light. Wide aisles, good visibility of the boats... The new aspect of the show was unanimously accepted. "It's clearly the largest floating sailboat show," says one builder, while another exhibitor adds,"It looks good!"

Port Canto's wide wharves provide comfortable traffic. The large boatyards, which have several boats, have platforms to arrange the herringbone sailboats, with sufficient distance to observe the line of the boats from the docks. The sail breathes in relation to the limited space where it was confined to the Old Port.

Sailboats clearly visible

Equipment manufacturers and dealerships torn between the Old Port and Port Canto

The nautical sector played the game of the new organization of the Cannes Yachting Festival. Sylvie Ernoult, general manager of the show, is delighted with this. "80% of exhibitors return. We have 611 exhibitors this year, including 29 new ones in Port Canto, with 350 m² of stands. This is a 12% increase with half of the construction sites and equipment manufacturers."

For OEMs and service providers in both the sail and engine markets, the strategy to be adopted depended on budgets. Large companies opted for two stands, splitting the teams, sometimes playing on synergies, like Vetus and Yanmar engines, members of the same group, which set up a joint stand at both sites. Others had to choose to favour a market and use the shuttle bus between the Old Port and Port Canto to visit their professional customers. However, some adjustments still need to be made. "Next year, I'm leaving my office on one side only," explains a Yanmar salesman, for whom transport has taken too long. Dealers were also affected. A Jeanneau dealership manager, met in the queue of a shuttle bus, was worried about the loss of appointments due to the time spent on transfers.

Multihulls in force in Port Canto

Transport and catering: adjustments to be made

The Cannes Yachting Festival organisation had set up shuttles to get from Port Canto to the Old Port. The maritime shuttles, limited in speed in the bay, absorbed the flow of passengers quite quickly. Visitors and exhibitors could also use the tourist bus line 8 with their badges and tickets, but unfortunately, the reliability of the service and traffic could lead to long waiting times. Buses dedicated to the Cannes Yachting Festival would probably improve the situation.

The food truck village and the small restaurant struggled to feed all the people present in Port Canto. Increasing the catering offer would seem necessary, given the lack of restaurants in the surrounding area, unlike the Old Port site.

While several practical aspects will probably require resizing in 2020, it seems that sailboats have found their place in the Port Canto basin.

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