Floating Finery | Night & Day | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Floating Finery

Perhaps you'd like to buy a boat. But you're curious -- could any floating accommodations really suit your Bill Gatesian standard of living?

Say hello to Patricia.

In this oceangoing plaything from the Italian company Benetti, you'll step across a marble floor in the lobby to an elevator that connects three decks.

In the master suite, lie back on a rotating king-size bed that allows you to choose the best position for enjoying the scenery through a curved-glass window that spans 180 degrees. The master suite also includes separate his and hers bathrooms, a private outdoor whirlpool spa, and an entertainment center.

At 145 feet, the privately owned Patricia is a superyacht. She and dozens of her peers are on display during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Superyachts are at least 80 feet long and generally offer an array of extravagances such as plush décor, private terraces with Jacuzzis, and plenty of on-board water toys.

This show includes about 200 superyachts, most of which are at least 100 feet long and are available either for sale or charter, including such impressive vessels as the 130-foot Victoria of Strathearn, which offers a salon with a skylight, an owner's cabin, and two guest suites.

You can admire the awesome superyachts from the docks, but tours of the interiors are generally by appointment only, so look like you burn Benjamins for warmth if you hope to get onboard.

Water lovers with simpler tastes can also find suitable boats at this 43rd-annual show sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. On display are products from around the world, including family cruisers, high-performance racers, sailboats, pontoons, personal watercraft, kayaks, and canoes.

Boaters who prefer to skip the hassle of hauling trailers can take a gander at the Porta-Bote display. These are portable, fold-up boats that can be packed atop a car like a surfboard.

With more than 1,600 boats and the various accessories, the exhibit is estimated to encompass about $1.6 billion worth of nautical necessities and knickknacks. But spectators eager to browse all six locations don't need to do a lot of driving and parking. The show admission includes transportation from showplace to showplace -- on land and sea. In addition to bus shuttles, there's a riverboat and water-taxi rides. All shuttles, except the water taxi, are free for those with tickets.

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Patti Roth

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