St. Maarten as a hideout of the rich and famous has been the recent growth of the fleet of Mega-Yachts that use the island as a winter base. The island’s duty free status, availability of 300 top gourmet restaurants, easy access to all of the 37 sq. mi. island and its high quality marine services and proximity to the cruising grounds of St. Barths and Anguilla tip the scales in St. Maarten’s favor.
It was thus a natural step for the Marine Trades Association to start St. Maarten’s first boat show in 2004, the St. Maarten Charter Yacht Exhibition. Every December, yachts from all over the world line up at Port de Plaisance Marina to make themselves available for inspection by yacht brokers and agents.
The Charter Show serves as an opportunity for the broker to learn every aspect of any particular yacht before recommending it for charter rental. To sample the chef’s creations, try out the beds, verify the condition of all its amenities and spend time with the crews. Also important are the “Yacht Hops”, private parties aboard the yachts that go on until early morning that take place by invitation only.
The schedule of events includes the “Concours de Chefs” which is one of the high points of the show. John Jackson, chef owner of Saratoga Restaurant in Simpson Bay, heads up the panel of judges while chefs from the yachts serve up their best culinary creations. This prestigious competition carries accolades throughout the yachting industry.