The 13th Auckland International Boat Show was opened by Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday evening and closed at 6pm Sunday, 18 September, having launched a new era in the New Zealand marine industry, with a new venue and new time of year.
Moved from March to September to coincide with 2011 Rugby World Cup and held in the newly opened Viaduct Events Centre, the show welcomed an unprecedented number of international media, many of them guided to the show by NZ Trade and Enterprise.
Peter Busfield, executive director of the boat show organiser NZ Marine Industry (NZMI), said the significant interest from overseas media would continue to bring benefits to New Zealand for up to two years.
“We have shown up to 10 groups of journalists from Asia around the show and introduced them to companies which are either active in China or interested in investing in China,” he says.
Despite the chilly conditions, visitors who came to the four-day show mostly had a clear idea of what they wanted from the show, and exhibitors were extremely happy with strong leads to follow over the coming weeks.
Yachtfinders Global, which imports the Beneteau range of yachts, had a spectacular start, selling an Oceanis Beneteau 37 cruising yacht within three hours of the show opening. Director Gary Erceg says the yacht is one of his most popular, two-cabin models. He also received significant interest in the new model Beneteau First 35.
Other new yachts included Equilibrium, the newly launched 55-footer from Lloyd Stevenson and Greg Elliott’s new Tourer 1350, Fiction, ensuring the cruising and racing markets were well covered.
Powerboat manufacturers also reported strong levels of interest at the show. Lance Fink, managing director of Tristram Marine, thoroughly approved of the new venue.
“I love it,” he said. “The atmosphere is just fantastic; it’s a world class show. “We’re really excited to be here and now’s an excellent time to buy a boat for the Christmas holidays.” He’s seen a steady level of enquiries, especially for in the Tristram 690 Bowrider and the Tristram 741.
“Kiwi’s only sit on their hands for so long and we have sold several boats since yesterday,” said Mr Fink.
Rayglass Marine also received deposits at the show, and was delighted to sell two Rayglass 2500 by the second day of the show, each in the $200,000-plus bracket. Both boats spec’d the company’s diesel option, a VW TDI V6, 265hp, said Dave Larsen, general manager of Rayglass Marine.
“We’re seeing much more interest in the diesel option; our customers seem to prefer the greater range the diesel engine gives them when fishing further afield,” said Mr Larsen.
Besides their trailerable launches, Rayglass exhibited a flagship 4000 launch on the Viaduct marina.
Another major powerboat player, Haines Hunter, was also rapt with the level of serious enquiry, especially for the flagship model, the SS725.
Lionel Sands, managing director of Haines Hunter, believes now is best time to buy a boat.
“Despite the economy, there is still plenty of money of out there. We’re seeing most interest in the bigger boats. Right now these boats represent really excellent value for money.”
Christchurch-based Griff Simpson and Fi-Glass have had more than their share of problems due to the earthquakes over the past 12 months, but Mr Simpson had only positive things to say about the Auckland International Boat Show.
“It’s now a world class event, it’s just fantastic. The venue has lifted the show to another level.”
Fi-Glass offered a special boat show deal: one-third, one-third, one-third, which enabled buyers to buy the boat in three payments over 24 months.
Engines also generated power at the boat show. Many owners are keen to repower and Volpower was promoting the debut of the new D400 Volvo engine/sterndrive which features a fully electronic fly by wire control system.
Central to this is the Power Trim Assist (PTA), which allows the driver to pre-program the stern leg’s trim angle so it automatically responds to varying amounts of throttle and boat speed.
But while boat owners were able to upgrade their boats for summer, there was also plenty to dream about, in the 55ft Steve Ekman-designed, $5.7 million luxury powercat from Fibreglass Concepts in Whangarei which hosted TVNZ Breakfast on Saturday morning; the 17.5-metre metallic bronze Voodoo designed by Roger Hill and built by Dave Pachoud of Tauranga.
Voodoo’s sunroof and open, light-timber and brown interior presented a new look for a Roger Hill design, and benefitted from the interest of its neighbour, the 14-metre helicat, Kukai, also designed by Roger Hill.
The top floor of the new Viaduct Events Centre provided the best views of the boat show and comfortable seating to enjoy the Boating New Zealand Weekend Seminars. Topics included kayaking, weather, game fishing, yacht design, classic yacht restoration and protecting the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
Ian Calhaem of Coastguard Boating Education shared more than 50 years of experience in kayaks, the fastest growing water sport.
Metservice weather ambassador Bob McDavitt demystified weather forecasts: how they are made, and what can and can’t be derived from them.
NZ Fishing News Geoff Lamond writer had his audience hooked with how to boat game fish.
David Le Pelly of Yacht Research Unit of Auckland University enthralled with the science of wing sails for America’s Cup catamarans.
Greg Lee and Peter Brookes shared the story of the recent restoration of the 52ft Logan classic, Rawhiti.
Author, photographer and conservation volunteer Anne Rimmer encouraged boaties in protecting the Hauraki Gulf islands from introduced pests, weeds and insects.
By spreading the word about safe boating and looking after the maritime sealife, the Boating New Zealand Weekend Seminars will help to ensure New Zealand boaties get best use from their purchases at the Auckland International Boat Show.
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