Sail boats are more popular than ever thanks to renewed interest in the Americas Cup and the 'Jessic


The organisers of the 2014 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) say the event will be the place to see the newest sailing vessels, performance sailing boats and cruising yachts.

Sailing is enjoying a boost in popularity, says the organisers, thanks in part to ‘the Jessica Watson effect’, the success of Australia’s sailors at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and the America’s Cup series which brought multihulled sailing boats to the world’s attention.

But there’s more to it than media and international events, according to Lee Randall, Principal at Spirit Marine in Manly, Queensland, exhibiting at the 2014 SCIBS in May.

 “There’s a return in consumer confidence and the emergence of a smarter buying population,” he points out. Spirit Marine is Beneteau dealer for Queensland and Nautitech importer for Australia.

“There are other social factors at play too,” he continues. “Diesel is not getting any cheaper, people are conscious of the costs. They are busier than ever before and looking for a more relaxing experience, a quiet connection to the ocean, which is where sailing fits the bill perfectly.”

At Multihull Solutions, Mark Elkington says he has seen a rise in interest in sailing catamarans among the retiree cruiser market, looking to spend their time enjoying Pacific and world cruising, attracted by the low running costs, safety, stability and comfort that a multihull offers at sea.

“The main growth area in the worldwide sailing market is sailing catamarans,” says Elkington. “The reason we feel the multihull sailing market is experiencing this growth is due to the change in buyers’ requirements. These new buyers want stability, safety and comfort and their budgets are also well suited to the higher price of multihulls.

And where once rigging, spars and equipment, sailing terminology and gadgetry were complicated and costly, the next generation of sailing yachts have been designed to simplify the entire experience and dealers offer sailing lessons and guidance for new owners.

“It’s our objective as dealers to demystify sailing,” concludes Randall. “We spend a lot of time instructing people on how to use their new boats and Beneteau as a brand has evolved design wise to be more ergonomic, easier to use and more user-friendly, for people crossing over from powerboats or entering the boating market for the first time.

“The main market for sailing these days are families and couples planning extended cruising.

“For the majority who buy new boats, the focus will be coastal cruising and they will move up to longer trips, depending on work commitments. While our market is across the board, sailing will always be popular with professional people, retirees and those coming close to retirement.”

SCIBS 2014 is sponsored by Club Marine and runs from Thursday, May 22 to Sunday, May 25, 2014.