Over 140 world premiers helped bring in the customers to the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival

Nabil Ibrahim

After Covid cancelled 2020’s event, the Cannes Yachting Festival returned this year and in a spectacular way. With 12 months of business to makeup, the yachting industry and its customers were ready for action and the festival delivered. Out of the 620 boats on display in both Le Vieux Port (motor) and Porto Canto (a sail), an incredible 141 were making their world premiers. This led to a record 54,400 visitors coming through the gates (half of whom came from abroad) to admire the best of motor, sail, monohull and multihull from the world’s finest shipyards. Exhibitor wise, the show brought together 575 manufacturers, with brands coming from as far away as New Zealand – and this was all despite the strict travel restrictions imposed by many countries’ health authorities.

Cannes opening its doors was just what the industry needed, resulting in noticeable energy and enthusiasm shared by the whole exhibitors, visitors, partners, service providers and the organiser.

“Despite the Covid restrictions, our ambitious objective for this year’s show was to do as well as the 2019 edition in terms of the number of exhibitors, boats and visitors,” commented Sylvie Ernoult, director of the Yachting Festival. “Even though the total of the exhibitors (-7%) and boats (-4%) are slightly lower than in 2019, the number of units presented as a world premiere was up 10% and the number of visitors is equivalent, which is very positive in this period.

“We are proud and happy with these results. This edition was a real challenge at each stage of its organisation. We have constantly taken into account new constraints following the evolution of legislation and have worked closely and effectively with the prefect of Alpes-Maritimes, the sub-prefect of Grasse and their services, whom I thank. Plus, as the opening date approached, the more we felt the motivation, the enthusiasm, the growing impatience of our exhibitors and our visitors to meet in Cannes. This edition has been amazing to arrange – 2021 will remain unforgettable in many ways!


Cannes’ Le Vieux Port once again hosted the motorboats and yachts (all 480 units from 3 to 50 metres), but this year, there was a new area dedicated to the latest motors – electric and hybrid. Ten units from Boote Marian, Candela Speed Boats, E-Sense of Blue, Ecoline, Say Carbon Yachts, Vita Yachts and X-Shore were on show in areas that will grow every year.

To help with the classic Cannes sea trial congestion (something the Yachts team actually likes as a spectacle) the organisers dedicated an area to the craft available just for sea trials. This reduced the sometimes manic traffic within Le Vieux Port and the inevitable wake annoyance caused by 10 boats manoeuvring to head out onto the Bay of Cannes.

At the other end of the Croisette, the sailboats were moored at Port Canto, which brought together 110 new units from 10 to 35 metres, including 20 world premieres. Port Canto also hosted the Brokerage area and the Innovation Space, in partnership with Mer Angels and BNP Paribas Banque Privée, to highlight “smart” start-ups in the nautical sector. From the design of the boat to connecting owners with captains, these start-ups share the same values of supporting and developing the economy of the sea, while protecting the maritime space.


One of the highlights of the festival is the Concours d´Elégance. This took place on the Saturday in front of the Palais des Festival and featured a unique selection of 11 modern day-classic boats built before 1980. It’s a great chance for the skippers and guests to get dressed up and just enjoy the show’s atmosphere. Frauscher’s 1212 GHOST was awarded top spot with Laneva’s Vesper 001 coming in second place and “Louise” from the SKOL AR MOOR shipyard coming in third.

Exhibitor wise, the show brought together 575 manufacturers, with brands coming from as far away as New Zealand.


After a year off, the shipyards were eager to get back to Le Vieux Port resulting in a show filled with new concepts and launches. An incredible 141 world premiers is a fantastic indication of how buoyant our yachting industry currently is.