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The floating fair in a luxury ship was scheduled to take to the water in Florida in early December to coincide with Art Basel Miami. However, David Lester, the Florida-based art world entrepreneur, has been forced to change his plans citing a shortage of materials and labour as delaying the delivery of his exhibition vessel Grand Luxe.

Bryan Nichols, President of Nichols Brothers of Freeland, Washington, who are building Lester’s boat, explained: “High steel demand both in the US and abroad, as well as increased demand for steelworkers resulting from the last year’s disastrous hurricane season, has affected the entire shipbuilding industry, including our shipyard.”

Mr Lester had to be certain of the delivery date of his vessel due to the complex plans surrounding his venture, particularly obtaining all the necessary testing and certification to meet the approval of the US Coast Guard.

Dealers who had signed up for the inaugural voyage have rescheduled for similar dates a year later. It is now planned that an invitation-only introductory trip will take place next spring, but the formal launch of the SeaFair project, with top end international dealers selling from the custom-built ship at various East Coast locations, will be in June 2007, with visits to ports in the Long Island Sound and New England.

By David Moss