From Thursday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 16, San Diegans can retreat to these dreams when YachtFest sails through the Shelter Island Marina/Island Palms Hotel, 2051 Shelter Island Dr., bringing with it more than 30 luxury boats, yachts and superyachts.
The eighth annual festival features yachts ranging from 50 to 115 feet long, and gives both seasoned sailors and aspiring yachters the rare opportunity to come aboard some of the world's most lavish floating vessels.
"It's a general show for people to come and get a taste of what the yacht lifestyle is all about," said Cassie Pearcey, a spokesperson for YachtFest 2007. "It runs the gamut."
More than $50 million worth of boats, yachts, superyachts, electronics, engines and other accessories from major international manufacturers will be on display and for sale during the festival.
While many of the festival's attendees are local Southern Californians, some "“ along with the boats "“ come from all over, which gives San Diego a chance to show what it has to offer to the yachting world.
"[The purpose is] to showcase San Diego as a premiere yachting destination," Pearcey said. "I know that you would think otherwise because we're little San Diego, sister city to LA. But we do have a lot of potential for becoming a megayacht destination."
Pearcey also explained that the Port of San Diego is working to make this happen by creating a megayacht basin at the Embarcadero big enough to handle eight megayachts. Megayacht is a term used to describe any vessel 80 feet in length or longer.
"They step off their yacht and they've got Downtown San Diego," Pearcey said of the convenient location of the future basin. "They can cruise down to Shelter Island to get maintenance if needed."
YachtFest is also an opportunity for various Shelter Island businesses to get the word out about their services.
"All these Shelter Island-area shops that are able to cater to 250 foot or larger megayachts here in San Diego, we never were able to do that in the past," Pearcey explained.
But YachtFest isn't only about big boats and even bigger yachts; surprisingly it's also about fashion.
On Friday, Sept. 14, models will turn on the catwalk during the second annual "All Decked Out" fashion show, benefiting the San Diego Armed Services YMCA, set against a beautiful bayside backdrop of luxury superyachts.
A preshow reception begins at noon, while the fashion show begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are $75 for admission into the fashion show, reception, gift bag and a preferred access badge to YachtFest, granting access and priority boarding on all yachts, along with a complimentary beverage.
For $60 guests will get admission to the fashion show, reception, gift bag and general admission to YachtFest.
While not everybody can afford to purchase such lavish toys, they can still have the opportunity to travel the world by embarking on a career in yachting.
On Sunday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., YachtFest is offering a free seminar open to the public titled, "Your Career in Yachting "“ A Ticket Around the World."
With the production of new super yachts comes the need for people to work these floating mini-mansions.
Attendees will hear first-hand accounts from current deckhands, captains, engineers, stewards and chefs as they share their experiences and discuss career opportunities available aboard a luxury yacht.
YachtFest will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily general admission tickets are $32. Two-day general admission tickets are also available for $46. A preferred access badge is available for $68 and includes priority boarding on all yachts as well as a complimentary beverage. A two-day preferred access badge is also available for $82.
Children age 14 and under are free with a paying adult. Active or retired military will receive a 50 percent discount with identification.
For more information, visit www.yachtfest.com.