THE Monaco Yacht Show, which ran from September 28th to October 1st, is arguably the world’s most extravagant game of one-upmanship. This year more visitors than ever—34,500—came to gawp at 125 superyachts with a collective value of $2.7 billion, tied up in the principality’s Port Hercules. But the yachts were only the beginning. Monaco is essentially a bazaar for the 0.1%: everywhere you look there are hawkers in pop-up tents trying to sell things that you never knew you needed. There were submersibles that can take six people to the bottom of the ocean; armour-plated Land Rovers; jet-skis and 3 D goggles; military-style helicopters and flying boats. Among the variety of servants for hire were armed guards and on-board DJs.

In this world, size counts for a lot. The bit of the yacht industry that has recovered most strongly since the financial crisis is the “monster yacht” segment. The Superyacht Intelligence Agency says 62 yachts of 70 metres plus were delivered in 2011-16. Another 59 are under construction, despite the fact that some of the usual big spenders have pulled in their horns a bit. The decline in the oil price has hit both...Continue reading