Fort Lauderdale boat show to showcase catamarans

Starting this year, Fort Lauderdale’s annual boat extravaganza will feature “a show within a show” dedicated to catamarans.

Catamaran Cove will debut at the Pier 66 locale, featuring about 20 of the wider, multi-hull boats from varied manufacturers, said organizers of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, set for Nov. 5 to Nov. 9.

Plans call for developing the Cove into the world’s largest catamaran show and one of the few to feature catamarans that are both new and used, power and sail, organizers said.

The force behind the Cove is Staley Weidman, chief executive of a Fort Lauderdale company that offers only catamarans and bills itself as the largest exclusive catamaran dealer in the world.

Weidman said the Fort Lauderdale boat show has been a challenge for catamaran lovers, because the boats have been so scattered among different locales.

“For a real catamaran buyer or enthusiast, you could almost walk two miles before finding the cats you’re looking for,” said Weidman, CEO at The Catamaran Company.

With catamarans now among the fastest-growing segments in the marine industry, Weidman said he approached Show Management, the organizers of the Fort Lauderdale boat show, with the idea for a catamaran section within the show. They readily agreed.

“Every major catamaran dealer and brokerage firm has an office in Fort Lauderdale, so of course we would host the largest catamaran show here,” Weidman said in announcing plans for the Cove.

Why do some buyers prefer catamarans and seek them out?

Enthusiasts say the wide multiple hulls offer extra living space and more stability when cruising and at anchor.With smaller engines and fuel tanks, catamarans also tend to be lighter, go faster and cruise longer distances on less gas than many one-hull boats, yacht brokers say.

“They’re a lot more efficient on gas,” said Nereus Dastur, CEO of Denison Yacht Sales of the Fort Lauderdale area. “And at anchor, they don’t roll. So, they definitely add more comfort.”

Denison Yachts began selling new catamarans about two years ago because of their growing popularity, Dastur said, calling plans for Catamaran Cove “a great idea.”

To be sure, catamarans remain a niche in boating.

Weidman said his company sells about 120 per year, mainly in the Americas. The most popular models are 40 to 50 feet long and sell new from roughly $600,000 to $1.3 million and used from $250,000 to $1 million. Some are sold to a charter program in the British Virgin Islands, he said.

“The cats are popular for charter in the Caribbean, Belize and other areas where there shallow waters,” Dastur said.

This year’s Fort Lauderdale boat show is slated to cover seven locales, displaying nearly 1,500 boats and other marine items valued at more than $4 billion. The event is billed as the world’s largest in-water boat show. It is expected to draw more than 1,000 exhibitors and at least 100,000 attendees.

For more information on the boat show, go to, 305-810-5009, @dhemlock on Twitter

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