Boot preview

Petros Michelidakis, Director of boot Düsseldorf – the world’s largest yacht and water sports show – shares an exclusive insight into what’s in store at boot in 2024, to be held from 20 to 28 January.

Written by Hillary Buckman

11 December 2023


With almost 237,000 visitors from over 60 countries and more than 1,500 exhibitors from 68 nations over 220,000 square metres in 16 exhibition halls, boot Düsseldorf appeals to visitors from both the B2B market and water-sports enthusiasts, from sail to power and other watercraft.

Various water sports, from diving, surfing, skimboarding, kite surfing and stand-up paddling to canoeing, are in focus at boot with the corresponding equipment available. Then there’s a high-calibre mix of workshops and activities, both for the leisure sportsperson and for experts, which makes the event unique worldwide.

Set along the Rhine River, Düsseldorf has been the home of boot for 55 years, and fuses historic European charm with cosmopolitan energy. As the sixth most livable city in the world, its lively old quarter and elegant Königsallee Boulevard recall the city’s medieval roots.

Now an economic powerhouse and corporate centre, Düsseldorf still captivates with artistic venues like the German Opera and riverside Schloss Benrath Palace – and will be the destination that sets the new season for the industry in motion.


Ocean magazine: How long have you been working with boot Düsseldorf?

Petros Michelidakis: I was appointed boot Director in 2016 but had been familiar with boot for many years before that. I had worked as a foreign representative for Messe Düsseldorf in Greece and was heavily involved with our large water-sports show.


Do you have a background in boating?

I was born in Greece, and so have spent a lot of time on the water. I often sail to the Greek islands, and love motor boats as well as SUPs.


Can you tell us about the history of the show?

It was 55 years ago that boot Düsseldorf started. Our former CEO Kurt Schoop was one of the founders, and during his time, in the late sixties, nobody believed in a fair for boats several hours from the sea. However, boot succeeded, and over the years it has continued to develop, taking all kinds of water sports to the public – boot is now the largest of its kind in the world.

We had the first indoor action pool for windsurfing, built the first diving tower, and used our proximity to the river Rhine to lift the yachts out of the water with a special crane.

We are the trendsetters for every new sport – last year, the booming wing surfing, wing foiling and pump foiling were very popular.

Every water sports community has developed a unique exhibition space at the fairgrounds, and boot is well-established for business-to-business customers. In fact, we have 37,000 of them here doing business, and it’s the same for the business-to-consumer community – boot is more international than any other water sports show in the world.

What are some of the benefits of having the show mid-winter in Germany?

In January in Australia, you’re enjoying your summer – the warm weather and light breezes on the ocean. However, in Middle Europe, it can snow during January, and it is cold and rainy outside.

So, for many visitors, the walk through the show feels like you’re on holiday, or at least dreaming of the next summer holiday! This is definitely the attitude of the business-to-consumer visitors; the business-to-business visitors are more business-like, naturally.

Every year, boot is the starting point of the new season. Brokers and charter companies are looking for new boats to rent, and there’s nowhere else they can find such a wide variety of motor boats and sailing yachts to compare – they know they can prepare themselves for the upcoming season at boot Düsseldorf.

Finally, January has increasingly become the month Europeans decide to buy a boat or yacht. And they know that with more than 1,100 boats and yachts presented mainly by the shipyards, boot gives them the best chance of choosing the right one!


What are some of your most extreme displays for the 2024 show?

There will be some outstanding world premieres and innovative developments. Let me start with the Austrian Frauscher Phantom, which was first presented in September at the beautiful Lake Garda in northern Italy. It’s an outstanding tender driven by an electric Porsche Macan engine and power train.

We will also welcome the new Hallberg Rassy from Sweden, Europe’s famous sailing yacht producer. They are presenting their new 69 sailing yacht, the biggest they’ve ever shown in Halls.

In our new Multihull Centre, Omikron from Greece will present its new OT 60, which is said to be a motor yacht that feels like a sailboat. And the German brand Hanse will launch its new Moody Decksaloon 48, a world premiere in the sailing sector.

Princess Yachts will once again present its X95 as the largest yacht at the show, though it is just a few inches longer than the Sunseeker 95. Our Italian partners, such as Azimut, Ferretti, Sanlorenzo and Cantiere del Pardo, must also be mentioned.

I’m very proud that with the Brazilian Schaefer Yachts attending, a company from South America will be at boot Düsseldorf for the first time. And the other big players like Beneteau, Jeanneau, Bavaria, the Brunswick Group, and the complete variety of boat motor producers – Honda, Mercury, Yamaha, Tohatsu and Mercury – are all taking part.

And we have the super boats, a term coined especially for boot Düsseldorf – the best examples of this class will be found in Hall 5. Resounding names such as Boesch, Pardo, Capelli, De Antonio, Fjord, Frauscher, Fliteboard, Awake, Nautor Swan, Nerea, Rand, Sacs Tecnorib, Seven Seas Yachts, Jeanneau DB, Stratos Yachts, Wellcraft and Windy will give Hall 5 a very special touch of glamour.


What is the breakdown between sailing and motor yacht exhibitors?

We have a full coverage of the current market – Halls 1 to 9 will be exclusively for motor yachts, from small RIBs and tenders up to the superyachts. Halls 15 and 16 are the sailing centre of boot – you will find here the major producers like Hanse Yachts, X Yachts, Bavaria, Beneteau, Bente, Contest, Dufour, Elan, Grand Soleil, Gunboat, Hallberg Rassy, Jeanneau, Nautor Swan, Oyster, Saffier and Solaris.


I’ve heard there’s an interactive pool – can you tell us about this?

Our Action Pool is 60-metres long by 20-metres wide, and it’s 1.1-metres deep – we need this length for the spectacular foiling sports. It’s also for professional performers in the trend sports, and for beginners to train in. We will have famous athletes from the Düsseldorf scene and present our public high-class jumps – 83 turbines will produce just the right breezes to glide over the water.


What are the themed areas?

Our themed areas have developed over the last 55 years of boot. Going around the fairground, we have the motor-boat halls, including super boats and superyachts, in Halls 1 to 9.

Then there’s the technical equipment – I call it boot’s Silicon Valley – in Halls 10 and 11. The diving centre is in Halls 11 to 13, with the diving tower in Hall 12. The Destination Seaside is in Hall 13, and the World of Paddling is in Hall 14.

There’s also the Classic Forum, with classic old boats, in Halls 15 and 16 with the sailing community, and last but not least, Hall 17 has the trend sports. It’s a great way to start the new year.


snapchat: boot Düsseldorf

Date: 20 to 28 January 2024

Time: 10 am to 6 pm

Square metres: Over 220,000

Exhibitor numbers: 1,500

Expected visitors: 237,000

Boats on display: Over 1,000

Largest yacht on display: Princess X95

Number of nations: 68

Exhibition halls: 16


Ocean Media will attend boot Düsseldorf 2024 and present coverage in the lead-up to the show as well as afterwards.



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