All photos by Chantelle D’mello
One of Qatar’s most opulent annual events opened to the public this week with new offerings such as a QR10,000 hours-long boat tour in an Italian-made vessel staffed only by females.
The two-tiered luxury yacht is operated by Pink Lady Charters, one of 120 exhibitors and 85 vessels on display at the 2015 Qatar International Boat Show.
The five-day long nautical extravaganza opened for the third time on Tuesday at the Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City, and concludes on Saturday.
The pomp, show and enormity of these luxury vessels – most of which are top-of-the-line marine offerings – appear to be easy on the eyes, but not on the pocketbook.
While most visitors to the show will be looking and not buying, exhibitors said they are still planning to conduct plenty of business this week.
This year, a new feature – a women’s only luxury boat tour – is debuting at the show.
According to Bianca Cragg, captain of Pink Lady Charters, there is a dearth of female-only recreational activities in Qatar.
Speaking to Doha News about her new service, she said:
“It came about because we were thinking of what options there were available for women here, and we couldn’t come up with much.
There’s only so much women can do here. This was a concept that combined our love of the sea and a love for the water in the market, with a unique experience that was lacking.”
Cragg’s company offers three packages to sea-goers, each lasting a minimum of four hours, with the cost starting at QR10,000 for a party of 10 visitors.
The most expensive package includes an option to customize the trip, with the experience including anything from masseurs to stylists to female DJs onboard.
Selling the experience
In another effort to appeal to niche groups, some companies are marketing their boats to wealthy visitors as the ultimate aquatic adventure.
Speaking to Doha News, Erwin Bamps, the CEO of Gulf Craft – the show’s largest exhibitor and only regional representative – said that the boat show was a way for his company to reach out to a young crop of buyers looking to satiate their water-lust.
Citing the region’s seafaring, pearl-diving heritage, he said:
“People don’t buy boats because they have spare money lying around. They buy boats because they have a fascination, a relationship with the water that is inherent in them.
Our clients buy boats because they was to explore the water. They may not necessarily go anywhere, it may just be a day-long trip…although a few do go to neighboring islands and countries…but for many, a boat is a way of getting away from the city,” Bamps said.
Aside from their mammoth, 41-meter-long Majesty 135 – the largest luxury yacht on display at the Marina – Gulf Craft also has several other smaller, loft-style yachts and fishing boats on display to cater to clients looking for more compact vessels.
The boats also function as “moving-majlises,” allowing groups of families and friends, or even business partners a moderately formal – and yet still relaxing – setting in which to discuss important matters.
Some vessels have been adapted to include advanced cooling systems, large seating/dining areas and viewing decks, he added.
The boat show is free and open to all. It goes until 9:30pm tonight, and on Friday/Saturday from 12:30 to 9:30 pm. More information can be found on Facebook here.