“Habits have changed, there are always favorites”: in 30 years, Nautiques have seen the boat market evolve

“Habits have changed, there are always favorites”: in 30 years, Nautiques have seen the boat market evolve

Près de 50 000 personnes attendues pour cette trentième édition des Nautiques. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

Four days, more than 500 boats, 75% of which are second-hand and 60% motorized: the traditional Port-Camargue show, Les Nautiques, starts on Friday March 29 for the entire Easter weekend. The special feature: this is the 30th edition. Update with the organizer Jean-Luc Glad and the godfather, the navigator Kito de Pavant.

In three decades, the face of boating has evolved considerably and the Port-Camargue show (Gard), the largest regional event for the sale of boats at the quay and on land, is witness to this privileged, celebrating its 30th edition during this long Easter weekend.

"In 1995, the station continued to be built but with a strong communication deficit. Port-Camargue was not referenced on GPS and needed to be recognized as a huge nautical hub" recalls Jean-Luc Glad, the chief organizer of the Nautics.

"And it was a period when we still had 40 to 50% of places available at the port and you could even choose it! ". 

Unimaginable today when the ring in a port to park your ship has become a rare commodity.

"Always a solution" to find a place

"There is always a solution" positive yet the president of the Nautiques, all smiles. In a handful of years, the show, first launched "à la bonne franquette", on the model of the show from Crouesty (Morbihan) and organized from the start only by professionals from Port-Camargue, took off.

Now with a cruising speed of 50,000 regular visitors over four days, half of whom come from Occitanie, but also 30% from the Rhône-Alpes region, 10% from Paca and 10% Italians or Swiss.

Motivation ? Stroll and dream along the ships during this free event… Or start purchasing, mainly for sales of second-hand boats which represent 75% of the more than 500 units, ten times more than at the start, offered to Nautics of which more than 60% are motorized.

"The boat is a school of life, you have to make your dreams come true"

"The boat is a school of life. I think of the kid I was who learned a whole bunch of things, especially with this really different notion of time at sea. And then you have to make your dreams come true, some people feel incapable of it but that's it. rsquo;is super accessible and we have a fantastic playground" encourages, over a coffee, the navigator Kito de Pavant.

He arrived in Port-Camargue more than 50 years ago and this experienced ocean racing skipper will, obviously, be the godfather of this 30th edition, – "I'm part of the furniture with a certain notoriety given the number of stupid things I've done in my life" he laughs.

He is currently putting himself in the shoes of an organizer. He will thus present at the show (Sunday at 11 a.m.), the new Mediterranean offshore race Med Max, between Port-Camargue and Morocco, scheduled for the end of September and which must take place every four years.

In three decades, buyers' relationship with the boat, with an aging profile – the category of pre-retirees is emerging –, has also evolved. No longer a question of buying a boat for life, but rather a question of acquiring it for two or three years, in order to then buy another one before the property is depreciated by a discount too significant.

"Transposing the comforts of home"

"Habits have changed, there are still favorites, but purchases are less spontaneous" analysis Jean-Luc Glad. "Before, the buyer came to see the boat, to smell it, to touch it. Today he configures it at home, on the computer.

The dematerialization and the two editions canceled due to Covid-19 made the organizers wonder about the future of this Easter meeting where others are looking for a second wind, like the Nautic of Paris.

But not in Port-Camargue: the virus has, in turn, boosted interest and sales out of a desire for the open sea, space and freedom among a public who ;rsquo;is enlarged.

"And then people are asking for interactivity with us, professionals, the public wants to be taken care of"& nbsp;advance Jean-Luc Glad. Today, boats of around ten meters are popular, 50 years ago, the standard was twice as small…

"People want boats where they can transpose the comfort of home, that means volume" continues l& rsquo;organizer.

Taxi-style boats, rather semi-rigid, for anchoring in Sète or at the tip of Espiguette are in vogue. But they accompany the art of living in a marina, this very popular “house-boat” combo at the water’s edge, including Port-Camargue, with 2,300 units, in is the leading port in Europe.  The show has adapted to this and this year doubled the volume of stands dedicated to the development of these marinas.

In Port-Camargue from March 29 to April 1. Info: lesnautiques.com I subscribe to read more

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