LIVE – Sydney International Boat Show shines

NEWS - Sydney International Boat Show shines

Why would you stage a boat show in mid-winter? If you were in Sydney today, the answer was patently obvious. Beaming blue skies, 19C balmy weather, and a sea of boats put a spring in the step of the crowds — and boat agents — that flocked to the opening day of the Sydney International Boat Show at Darling Harbour.

I’m not sure what the first-day’s crowd numbers tallied — it really doesn’t matter — but by mid-afternoon Trade-a-boat was sidestepping the show-goers dancing down the gangways. And while the number of boats was down on previous years, the 190 immeasurable more pleasurable craft represent the crème de la crème of the world’s recreational boating fleet. The fly-by-nighters have flown.

We attended a press conference from Riviera, which evidently has turned the corner, spoke at length with marketing heads of Maritimo, shared views with key overseas delegates, rubbed shoulders with CEOs, and chatted with other VIPs about their terrific boating wares.

I am certain we have bounced off the nadirs, the low points, the bottom of the market. That aforesaid gate in the would-be buyers’ at the boat show underscores a renewed sense of optimism. Today, at least, things weren’t that bad. In fact, things seemed buoyant.

Michael Joyce, dealer principal of R Marine Sydney, told Trade-a-boat at the end of Day One that he sold a Riviera 51 with triple IPS, a $1.5 million boat (or thereabouts). It was one of three new Rivieras debuting at the show (the new 5000 Sport Yacht with Zeus drives and blue hull is above) for the big Australian.

Across the way, Maritimo was playing its cards close to its chest. But Luke Durman, head of marketing, sounded upbeat. He says it was great to see all the Maritimo customers at the show and, as a result, there was a really positive atmosphere.

“A lot of customers from Sydney hadn’t seen our latest range and they were thrilled with our new models,” Durman told Trade-a-boat.

Maritimo had five new boats debuting in Sydney and two new world releases. The showstopper was the new flagship Maritimo 73 Cruising Motoryacht (above left next to the new 56 Motoryacht) priced from $4.25 million with twin 1500hp Caterpillar diesel engines. Watch this space for some more detailed images, interviews, video and test material after the show.

Another Australian yard, Mustang unveiled its news 480 Sport Euro (third pic) with a really smart finish.

We will report back on the news from the imported marques, but the vibe was that the market really has turned. Compared with the rest of the world, Australia is even more hell-bent on pleasure boating.

Check back tomorrow for more news from the Sydney International Boat Show. – David Lockwood.