Standing on a dock in the middle of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as a non-1-percenter, you might think, OK, any of these will do.
It’s a never-ending sea of white vessels, large and small, with the occasional blue or brown-ish speck woven in to the packed landscape. Swirling around are the gawkers, salespeople, and folks there for appointments — removing their shoes, touring the crafts in search of their next purchase. Nearly every one wears the same uniform: long-sleeved, button-up, boat-y shirts. Most are sweating profusely.
It’s a vibrant and energizing spectacle. There are more than 1,500 boats on display at this year’s event, billed as the world’s largest in-water boat show, which runs through Sunday.
Amid the rows upon rows of crafts, pavilions show off yacht-centric goods, such as an $8,000 horn in the superyacht pavilion. There are plenty of OMFG-worthy vessels on display too, particularly in the blue-carpeted area called "Superyacht Avenue." Though most owners avoided hanging price tags on their ultraluxe yachts, two specimens stood out as the most indulgent of the bunch.
Among the Superyacht Avenue offerings is Elandess, a 244-foot mammoth delivered in 2018 and built by Abeking & Rasmussen in Germany. It is not for sale, not for charter, and privately owned, so no Instagram sessions for you. (New Times was not permitted to take photos onboard either.)
The six-level craft boasts six guest staterooms, an owner’s lair, and even a cushiony “Nemo Room” clad in dark blue. The Nemo Room boasts two rows of three massive windows each; you can see everything swimming around underwater from the bottom row.
Another highlight is its pool and deck. If guests want to see the sun, simply open the retractable roof. Also, its staircase, surrounded by mother of pearl, is totally baller. From the bottom level, you can look up at the spiraling white staircase, culminating in a view of the rooftop pool through its translucent bottom.
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Next door to Elandess is Gene Machine, whose story is almost as fun as the superyacht itself. The 180-foot Amels craft is owned by American scientist and entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg, who received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2015 from President Obama for his work in developing DNA-sequencing technology.
Rothberg and his family have traveled all over the world on Gene Machine, including a recent jaunt near the North Pole. The megayacht screams, I'm a blast! Colorful art greets visitors, and its numerous toys include electric surfboards, Jet Skis, e-bikes, and a massive inflatable slide that runs off the top deck.
Unfortunately, you can’t give the slide a test-ride at the show. But you can set some major life goals while simply walking around the grounds.
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, November 4, along Fort Lauderdale's intracoastal, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; flibs.com. Tickets start at $33.