Set against a backdrop of uncertain economic conditions, this year's BVI Charter Yacht Society's annual show, its twenty-eighth, was a resounding success. With over 70 yachts and around 100 brokers attending, the show was bigger than any in recent years.

Tim Schaaf of the Charter Yacht Society, and a charter yacht owner himself, was very pleased with the turnout. "This was the largest BVI Boat Show, ever,” Schaaf told YG. “More brokers and more yachts. Certainly the industry has stepped up to the plate, and we hope that this optimism will be rewarded by optimism, enthusiasm and bookings on the part of potential crewed charter guests.”


One aspect of the show that created particular excitement was the Expo in the Park, wherein local vendors got a chance to show off their wares and a way to bring home to the people of the BVI the importance of the charter yacht industry to the local economy. “The Expo in the Park, sponsored by the BVI Tourist Board, was a resounding success,” Mr. Schaaf said. “This is a direct reflection of how the crewed charter industry is intertwined with local businesses and the community, providing a tremendous amount of indirect, as well as direct, employment. We are grateful to all our sponsors and to the Expo vendors.”

The large number of participants can be ascribed to the difficult conditions, as many boats that hadn't bothered to attend in previous years now felt the need to put themselves in front of the brokers. It's no secret that charter brokers are as interested in the crews as they are in the boats. Perhaps more so, since the personality of a good crew can overcome some limitations of the boat more easily than the reverse.

The new boats tended to attract more attention than yachts with established reputations. One captain, who requested anonymity, told YG, “The brokers concentrated a lot on the new boats. I guess they know us by now and needed to spend time getting to know the newcomers.”

Over in St Thomas, the USVI's equivalent showcase, the Virgin Islands Charteryacht League's 33rd Annual Charteryacht Show, was decidedly low-key. With only around 40 participating yachts, many fresh from the BVI show, the St Thomas expo paled in comparison.

With such a strong turnout and with enthusiasm running high, the BVI can confidently expect to maintain her reputation as the charter yacht capital of the world.