Demand for space at Yas Marina for the weekend's Formula One Grand Prix was so great that one large yacht was forced to find a berth on an improvised dock outside the marina proper.
Conspicuous consumption is back, you might think. But Steve Williams, the chief executive of Gulf Finance, says it is more about business than pleasure.
Sitting on the deck of his three-tier floating palace, he says last year's yacht charter paid for itself many times over, which is why he's back again.
Gulf Finance is owned by Shuaa Capital, an investment bank, so big-ticket marketing expenses such as this must be justified to shareholders.
"What we know is that in business, people buy people. An event like this allows us to get closer to our stakeholders," says Mr Williams.
"Ultimately, that means we will have better relationships with our clients, they will buy more business from us, and our stakeholders who are here, who lend us money and support us, they get closer to the business and understand what we're about as well."
Mr Williams breaks down the return on investment in three ways. First, new business: clients he invited last year did more deals with his firm in the 12 months after the event.
Second, intangible relationship building. It's difficult to put a value on this, but Mr Williams is convinced it's real. "We had two guests today who didn't know each other before, but as a result of being here will do business together. That creates value for them, and they will associate that value with Gulf Finance."
Third, boat mortgages. The company has a unit financing yachts, so being at a marina event makes sense (they also sponsor the boat show in Dubai). And it helps in getting a good deal on the charter fees for the weekend.
Now, cynics will say this sounds a lot like self-justification. But actually, I've heard these arguments - in one form or another - time and again across the Gulf this year.
There's a discernible new trend, particularly for firms that sell business-to-business, such as banks, lawyers and technology infrastructure companies, to focus more on this style of networking event.
Instead of spending a big chunk of their marketing budget on an industry conference, the new trend is for more "boutique" networking events. As a platinum sponsor of a conference, a company might pay US$50,000 (Dh183,655) to get their logo splattered across the stage and brochure, a stall in the hotel lobby, and maybe a speaking slot. Plus a few delegate passes to hand out to staff and clients.
The problem is that what you get is an audience full of competitors, not customers.
Back at the Yas Marina circuit, two distinct camps are emerging among the hospitality set.
The first is in the suites in the grandstand, overlooking the track. This "feels" like corporate hospitality. The men are decked out in beige chinos and open-neck shirts with button-down collars; the women are in suits. Everyone is clutching a BlackBerry.
The debate is serious and sporty - how will the European debt crisis impact the funding of motorsport?
The yacht scene is way more chilled. Men wear shorts; women wear bikinis and short summer dresses. Most people have an iPhone, though no one seems interested in checking them.
The big debate on the yacht was about Friday's Britney Spears concert (the overwhelming verdict is that she's past her prime).
My guess is that the casual, laid-back atmosphere of the yacht crowd is actually more conducive to building relationships and doing deals than the formal corporate networking in the grandstands. At least, that'll be my excuse for going back next year.