It's here already.
It comes around fast. The advance warning sneaks up on you, starts to build up over a period of months, reaches a crescendo and then boom, four days of mayhem followed by a massive lull.
I'm talking about Monaco Yacht Show.
For me, it started a few weeks ago when I received the invite to the party of the season. Lurssen hold their annual event at the Monaco Yacht Club on the last night of the event. It's a perfect wind down to an exhausting and exciting few days. I'm pleased to be invited among the great and the good of the industry, drinking cocktails and champagne with happy billionaires, who have invested in new yachts, and their delighted brokers.
After the invite arrives, it suddenly makes you realise that the countdown clock has started and the butterflies kick in. Did we book flights and hotel ? Relax, that was done months ago my partner advises. Do we have business cards to hand out, or postcards ? A quick visit to Vistaprint and the job is done.
A quick review of this year's interested parties and I realize that there's some loose ends on those who showed interest in a yacht earlier in the year. Are they looking again ? Did they find what they wanted after they went quiet ? A few clients are still on the hunt for the elusive 100m+ yacht that is available in a few months. No-one wants to wait several years to build their own, and now they have the bug they want it now. However, there's only two on the market and none in the yards. Some clients wait years, when they could've started the build and had one by now.
With the clients contacted, it's time to focus on potential meetings with your network. Those key individuals who can introduce clients are the first on the list. We could probably meet during the year, but Monaco is the best time to fit in a half hour catch-up before moving on to your next meeting.
The diary looks empty initially and then you get clients asking to view some yachts, or ask you to view on their behalf. Then it's a juggling act with the exhibitors as you agree a suitable time slot on the specific yacht of interest. Before you know it, you're having to look at which meetings you can get to. One yacht is on the far side of the show, followed by one at the other end. From experience, that's a nightmare. Walking across the marina can take as much as thirty minutes. The walkways are narrow and no-one is in a hurry, so you have to wait behind people. Walk too fast and you're likely to bump people into the water.
With your diary just about filled up, you then realise you haven't looked at evening entertainment. Stars and Bars is a good default. A great place to wind down and within a short walk. There's often a balancing act with the evenings events. You can't burn the candle at both ends. Being up and active for clients in the morning and walking around in the sunshine for hours viewing yachts is tough work. Late nights and early mornings are risky if you're to be at your best.
Every year is unpredictable. The effort is sometimes rewarded with a successful sale, but it's mostly about the people you meet, the beautiful yachts you see, and the adventure of the events that makes Monaco one of the highlights of the SuperYacht calendar.
See you there.
Douglas McFarlane is CEO of Lomond Yachts.
It's here already.