Newport Charter Yacht Show: A First-Rate Experience

June 22, 2023

Once again, the Newport Charter Yacht Show offered a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends, to meet first class crews and to visit some of the world's top yachts available for charter.

Another Impressive Splash

After more than 35 years of bringing charter brokers together with agents, captains, and crews of luxury yachts available for summer charters in New England, the Newport Charter Yacht Show proved once again that it never fails to make an impressive splash. This year The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation stepped in as the event’s presenting sponsor and along with Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard (the Show’s producer and owner) helped pack a four-day schedule (June 19-22) with plenty of activities both business and social. Tours, meetings, luncheons, and seminars neatly accommodated the business side of things, while colorful parties and crew competitions provided a healthy dose of socializing and merrymaking. At the core of it all were 14 participating charter yachts – ranging in size from the 57’ sailing yacht Vanishing Point, presented by Nicholson Yachts of Newport, to the 191’ motor yacht Unbridled, presented by Northrop & Johnson – and almost 100 brokers there to inspect them.

“Our main goal in participating was to showcase the 112’ M/Y SPIRIT as a serious charter-ready yacht,” said Brendan Roney, principal of the Florida-based BR Marine Group, which provides creative solutions for chartering, buying, selling, and managing yachts, “and to assure charter brokers that their vacationing clients will marvel at the presentations and attitudes of SPIRIT’s Captain Nick Brown and his stellar crew. We already have charters booked, so we most certainly did accomplish this goal.”

Like all the yachts participating, SPIRIT hosted charter brokers on board each day for familiarization with layout, accommodations, and the personalities who would ultimately take charge of the charter guest experience. “Chef Skye Burris prepared a welcome food platter each morning for our aft-deck table, which was properly set and presented by our stewardess for each day's showings,” said BR Marine Group’s Charter Manager Marian Walker. “We hosted a luncheon for eight on Thursday with an Asian-themed table setting and menu. We were extremely pleased with the feedback we received, and the Newport Charter Yacht Show provided a first-rate experience.”


Among the Newport Charter Yacht Show’s special events was a chef competition and crew contests for captains, deck hands and stewardesses.

“The brokers, suppliers, marina staff and especially the crew are the backbone of yacht chartering and what makes the onboard guest experience amazing,” said Winifred “Winnie” DeCoster, who organized the Chef’s challenge and emceed the closing awards. “Here at Newport Charter Yacht Show we create an atmosphere where crew from the participating yachts meet, mingle, and leave with a dock full of friends that they will see all over New England during their summer season.”

Perhaps best fostering the spirit of camaraderie was the Captain and Deck Challenge sponsored by Dockwalk magazine, Aere Marine Group, Young Designs Floral Studio, US Superyacht Association, and Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard. Seven participating crews competed in a challenge that included fender inflation (fastest time), floral design, and yoga. With the best overall performance in all three disciplines was the 125’ M/Y Sea Axis, presented by Worldwide Boat. 

For the Tablescaping Competition, some interior crews had spent weeks brainstorming and crafting their decorations. Nine yachts competed, with the 157’ M/Y Mirabella, presented by Northrop & Johnson, winning the Professional Judges’ award, led by Cheryl DiGennaro from Newport Yacht Interiors, for its whimsical Enchanted Garden theme. The aforementioned 112’ M/Y Spirit, presented by BR Marine Group, won the “Fan Favorite” award (as voted by brokers and show attendees) for its modern floral take on the Amalfi Coast fused with New England charm.

The Signature Cocktail Competition, sponsored by Espolòn Tequila, also had nine competitors. Taking first place was the 85’ M/Y Lexington, presented by Blue Oceans Yachting, with its Azure Blue cocktail.

Sponsors and vendors joined brokers and agents in a lively Yacht Hop that featured each yacht in “full entertainment mode.” For its vibrant “Disco” theme, the 133’ M/Y Serenity, presented by Denison Yachting, won the Herman Pundt Best Yacht Hop award.

The much-anticipated Chef’s Competition was sponsored for a second year by crew provisioning company Shoreside Support, which supplied fresh ingredients for the “mystery basket” that each of the six competing chefs received a day before the event. It included a large variety of specialty produce, including white asparagus and pink pineapples, as well as local razor clams and Petrossian caviar. The chefs competed in a quick-fire skill challenge that determined their order in choosing a protein for the challenge, which was to create three platters (including a grazing board) of hors d’oeuvres and canapés, using as many of the supplied ingredients as possible. 

Winning was Chef Nicole Ackerman from the aforementioned M/Y Unbridled (presented by Northrop & Johnson). With shellfish as her protein, Chef Nicole presented masa seared scallops on the half shell with Jerusalem artichoke purée, pickled mushrooms, pickled baby fennel, and kale oil; butter poached Spanish prawns in a charred pink pineapple and red curry sauce with toasted peanut crunch and burnt lime; and a raw board of caviar cones with almond foam, lemon zest, and herb oil, razor clam ceviche with mango-heirloom tomato salsa, avocado crema, and salsa verde, and crispy potato skins with wild garlic cream and caviar.

“Every one of Chef Nicole’s bites were wild and interesting,” said Shoreside Support’s New England Manager of Client Relations Cole Bettony, who judged the competition along with Executive Chef and Culinary Expert Kevin Des Chenes and US Superyacht Association President and former yacht chef Kitty McGowan. “I was very confused by it, but that’s what I loved about it…all the tastes and textures…and an outstanding fourth bite of scallop, shrimp and razor clams – a light, refreshing play on ceviche.”

This was Chef Nicole’s first competition. Working as a yacht chef for ten years, she has never worked in a restaurant or been culinary trained. “Being surrounded by so many talented chefs in this industry, it’s an honor to have been picked as the winner for this competition,” said Chef Nicole. “I’m self-taught and very proud to be competing against other culinary trained chefs. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself and appreciate how far I’ve come.

Chef Nicole explained that her biggest challenge was presenting seafood to the judges without cooking it in front of them. “I had very delicate ingredients that were easy to mess up if they were not cooked to perfection or served at the right temperature. I had to sear my scallops and poach my Spanish prawns to perfection, then hot-foot it down the dock to the judges tent to plate up. They turned out wonderfully and the judges got to enjoy them while they were still hot.”

When asked what impressed him most about this year’s competing chefs, Cole Bettony said, “Their willingness to do it! It takes gumption to put your reputation out there while you have so many other things to do at the Show and without knowing the ingredients until 24 hours ahead of time."

The American Yacht Charter Association held its annual meeting on Tuesday during the Show and its Signature Breakfast Seminar on Thursday, June 22. With over 70 brokers and marine industry professionals in attendance, topics included: Cruising in the Bahamas; Destination - Rhode Island; the European Committee for Professional Yachting’s Transport Charter Agreement; Destination - Croatia; and round table presenters from Ocean Havens, Ankor Software, Marsha Yachting, Charter Itinerary, Little Gem Resort, Croatian Premium Wine, and Marina Bahia Golfito.

Newport Charter Yacht Show Sponsors and Vendors:
The presenting sponsor for the Newport Charter Yacht Show was The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & AviationAlexseal Yacht Coatings and KVH Industries sponsored the Monday evening Captain & Crew Briefing and Cocktail Party along with Bridge Liquors who was the bar sponsor. Hallam’s Marine Service was the daily breakfast sponsor and AkzoNobel and Denison Yachting sponsored the closing party and Crew Competition Awards night. Dockwalk magazine and Shoreside Support were Crew Competition sponsors along with supporting suppliers: US Superyacht AssociationNarragansett Beer, Aere Marine Group, lululemon NewportEspolòn Tequila; and Young Designs Floral StudioSKYLINK Tek returned as the Show’s audio visual/sound partner. Yachting and Dockwalk magazines served as the show’s official media partners, and the Newport Marriott was the show’s preferred hotel. The Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, host of the Newport Yacht Rendezvous on June 23 at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, was the show’s charitable partner.

Returning vendors included KVH IndustriesAlexseal Yacht CoatingsAkzoNobelAERE Marine GroupNewport Yacht InteriorsCUTCO; and Renewal by Andersen. New vendors included The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; local artisan Vitamin Sea & Co; Star Glow Products; Sun In ComfortCapital Construction; M/Y SOL; Moneycorp; and Coastal E-Foil.


About Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard: 
Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard is one of the most popular and recommended shipyards in the United States. The full-service marina and shipyard has over 3,500 linear feet of dock space that can accommodate yachts longer than 300 feet. Its amenities include a dockside café, ship store, fitness center, and marina vehicles. Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard is host to many prestigious yachting events including Gosling’s Rum Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard Crew Party for the biennial Newport to Bermuda Race, Safe Harbor Race Weekend, Newport Yacht Rendezvous benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, and Newport Brokerage Boat show. For more information, visit:

About Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation: 
With over 700 islands and cays, and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy flyaway escape that transports travellers away from their everyday. The Islands of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth’s most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands we have to offer at or on FacebookYouTube or Instagram to see why It’s Better in The Bahamas.

Click here for photos from 2023.

Information: or contact Veronica Brown, Show Manager, Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, +1 401 846 6000[email protected].

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