What is it about the Monaco Yacht Show that attracts a Mayfair crowd? We ask those in the know

Words: Selma Day

Mayfair Times will be back at the Monaco Yacht Show later this month as will many Mayfair residents and businesses. Each year we produce our special Mayfair meets Monaco issue, the similarities between the two become clearer. Monaco has an increasingly vibrant art and cultural scene, great restaurants, world-class education, a sense of community and is considered a safe haven – in fact, all the things that are synonymous with Mayfair. So, it’s not surprising that many of our readers have a foot in both places. 

They include Mayfair billionaire and super yacht owner John Caudwell who hosts his annual charity Butterfly Ball in Monaco, which brings together likeminded business people, philanthropists and friends from both Monaco and Mayfair.

“There are so many synergies between Monaco and Mayfair, yet they also have their own unique character and distinct attributes,” he says.

“They both stand as distinguished, affluent and prestigious locations, making them the perfect settings for our annual charity balls.”

John’s super yacht, Titania, is also moored in Monaco “which always makes the starting point of wonderful holidays and cherished memories”.

Entrepreneur Jonny Dodge – the founder of My Ocean, a yacht charter, sales and management company, and Your Sky, which provides private jet charter and brokerage – also divides his time between Mayfair and Monaco.

“Monaco and Mayfair are so synergistic,” he says. “I see Monaco as the ‘Mayfair of the South of France’ – with such an international crowd in both locations and many businesses having hubs there, from yachting and jets to banking and other sectors.

“Having spent most of my life in Mayfair then moving down to Monaco during Covid, I really see it as a home from home.”

Sustainability, of course, is top of the agenda in Monaco, with the MYS being a driving force for change and encouraging its partners, suppliers and customers to align with its commitment to finding solutions to environmental challenges.

Andrea Frabetti, CEO of Sunseeker International, which has exhibited at the MYS since the early 1990s and will this year be displaying the largest models in its yacht range, says: “Conscious boating is becoming more prevalent. The leisure marine industry recognises this shift towards sustainable practice with more focus from boat show organisers.

“Sunseeker prioritises giving customers the power of choice and is engaged in a robust research and development programme that seeks to determine new environmentally conscious materials and alternative marine fuels among other projects that seek to reduce Sunseeker’s overall environmental impact.”

As the demographic of Monaco – again, as with Mayfair – gets younger, the MYS is also targeting a new generation of yacht lovers with initiatives such as its Adventure Area complete with state-of-the art water toys, all-terrain vehicles, high-tech devices and helicopters.

“We’ve seen the average age of a yacht buyer drop by almost 10 years in the last couple of years,” says Jonny.

“The market has totally changed and the legacy players are rushing to catch up. At My Ocean, we’ve been built from the ground up to work with younger clients and a team passionate about web3, crypto and technology.

“With younger buyers and charters comes a totally different approach to yachting – lots of more first-time yacht owners and charters means totally different requests, as well as a desire for more unique destinations ranging from the Galapagos Islands to Antarctica.

“Also the way people use yachts is changing – we use the term the ‘luxury nomad’. We’ve moved on from the era of the digital nomad and now the wealthy are living places seasonally. It’s not just holiday homes – they are moving offices and staff for three or four months at a time, so charters are getting longer and people are even living much of the year on the yachts.”

One Mayfair-based company looking forward to exhibiting at this year’s yacht show is luxury British bedmaker Savoir. Managing director Nicholas Alexandre says: “Many of our private clients in Mayfair have Savoir beds in their second and third homes alongside their primary residences. Their yachts are often an extension of these places, so clients want to experience an excellent night’s sleep, whether on land or sea.

“In addition, we work with a variety of interior designers, yacht builders and yacht owners… many of these and their contacts will be attending the Monaco Yacht Show.”

Jonathan Beckett, CEO of Burgess explains why so many of the Mayfair set move to Monaco for the last few days of September. “Why? Because there is a buzzing scene in Monaco – four luxurious days of yachts for sale and a social scene beyond your imagination.

“The port is jam-packed with some of the world’s most amazing yachts – with yacht tours, parties, lunches and dinners. The hotels are chock-a-block and, unless you have booked a restaurant months in advance, you just can’t get a table – or you know the “right” yacht broker, of course. Everyone in Mayfair with any sort of nautical interest wants to be there.”

Jonny Dodge agrees: “The Monaco Yacht Show is still the most important show in the calendar, especially with more first-time buyers than ever before – it’s a great way to be hands on with the yachts and understand them more.”