NEWPORT BEACH — The Great Recession may have technically set sail in June 2009, but many of the prospective buyers at the Lido Yacht Expo that began Thursday didn't need the somewhat surprising news to weigh their next luxury purchase.
Welcome to the world where some people can stay above the fray.
"We're dealing with people that often aren't affected by such things," said Duncan McIntosh, who runs the high-end boat show and owns sailing publications.
Others just come to window shop.
At the 32nd annual expo, exhibitors said in recent years the show has been more about technology than sheer size.
"Innovation is the key to stemming the tide," said President Peter Van Lancker, of Rhode Island-based Hunt Yachts. His company's simplistic V-hull design and classic-looking deck is a big draw on the East Coast.
"Our boats are for the pinnacle, the top of the pyramid," Van Lancker said. "The shakers and movers of industry."
Van Lancker's 52-foot School's Out comes with a $1.7-million price tag. Other companies, like Sunseeker, are premiering their newest offerings, such as the 74-foot Predator yacht.
It costs $4.2 million and is the only one on the West Coast, said Mark Lake, a Sunseeker representative.
"The people who buy these toys have never heard of the recession," he said.
But not everything on display is aimed at the super-rich.
The show offers potential buyers more than 200 yachts — everything from tugboats and trawlers to enormous vessels costing more than $5 million.
With such huge price tags, only a few units need to sell for the show to turn a profit.
One exhibitor last year sold five yachts — a "surprising" success, McIntosh said.
At this show, about two dozen luxury yachts are sold in a typical year.
If You Go
What: 32nd Lido Yacht Expo
Where: Lido Marina Village, 3424 Via Oporto, Newport Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $12 for adults, free for children 12 and younger
Information: Call (949) 757-5959 or go to http://www.lidoyachtexpo.com