Big­ger, bet­ter boat show

The hugely var­ied boats at this year’s show sug­gest a more con­fi­dent mar­ket, writes DAVID LOCK­WOOD

NT News - Motoring - - MARINE GUIDE - www.nt­ CARS­guide NT NEWS.

TRA­DI­TION­ALLY Syd­ney stands mast and boom above other na­tional boat shows when it comes to the range of new-sea­son launches on dis­play.

And last week­end was no ex­cep­tion.

In­vest­ment in re­search and devel­op­ment has spawned a range of dash­ing new de­signs, with the trend in 2010 to­wards big­ger, more lux­u­ri­ous cruis­ing yachts that are eas­ier to sail.

You would need to wing it to Monaco or Mi­ami to find a spread of lux­ury plea­sure boats of the cal­i­bre grac­ing last week­end’s Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional Boat Show.

At last count, 226 pri­vate lin­ers, clever cruis­ers and hot yachts were tied to the tem­po­rary 2km ma­rina. Any­one who strolled all their teak and fi­bre­glass decks would have walked the equiv­a­lent dis­tance of Dar­ling Har­bour to Cir­cu­lar Quay. The big­ger fleet, up from just 187 craft at last year’s show, points to im­prov­ing con­fi­dence in the plea­sure-boat mar­ket.

But the lift in de­mand stems as much from prod­uct devel­op­ment and the do-or­die at­ti­tude of the big boat builders on im­prov­ing mar­ket con­di­tions. Build it, in­spire, and they will come.

Mean­while, un­der­scor­ing the in­ter­na­tional part of the boat show’s ti­tle was a stand­out flotilla of five-star yachts and cruis­ers from Europe, Asia and Amer­ica.

Teamed with the lat­est Aus­tralian-made lux­ury lin­ers and it was a real show of strength. Some of the must-see new boats on dis­play, start­ing at the top shelf, were:

Lux­ury UK mar­que Sun­seeker had the biggest boat on show. Last year it was Lind­say Fox’s 34m Yacht. This year, it’s a pri­vate client’s new 30m Yacht cost­ing about $15 mil­lion.

Along with the 80 and 86 Yachts, 60 and 70 Man­hat­tans, and Preda­tor 64, the Sun­seeker dis­play was val­ued at more than $40m.

Fel­low Briton Princess was so­lic­it­ing at­ten­tion with a spread of mighty mo­tor yachts, from the nim­ble V45 to the dash­ing V85-S with twin 2400hp MTU diesel en­gines and dou­ble ten­der garage.

Not one to be left won­der­ing, Fair­line com­pleted the UK as­sault with, among other mod­els, the new Targa 58 Gran Turismo with cut­tingedge com­puter sys­tems and a unique ‘‘global open’’ con­vert­ible win­dow sys­tem.

While the US con­tin­gent

A trick Sky­hook func­tion, de­scribed as an in­vis­i­ble an­chor, uses satel­lites to hold the boat’s sta­tion

was not quite so big this year, there were some real high­lights.

In the true Yan­kee fashion, the 52 Sports Coupe from Re­gal has been su­per­sized. From the garage to the cock­pit, the sun lounges to the saloon lunch set­ting, from the aft state­room be­fit­ting of a 60-footer, the flag­ship aimed to please with more of ev­ery­thing but ask­ing price.

Peren­nial favourite Sea Ray had a new 470 Sun­dancer with twin 425hp Cum­mins diesel en­gines and rev­o­lu­tion­ary Zeus drives.

The un­der­wa­ter pods with rear-fac­ing pro­pel­lers are in­de­pen­dently ar­tic­u­lat­ing, thereby grant­ing amaz­ing ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity along with a top speed of 36 knots.

A trick Sky­hook func­tion, de­scribed as an in­vis­i­ble an­chor, uses satel­lites to hold the boat’s sta­tion.

Among the stand­out Euro­pean power­boats were the Bavarias with in­te­ri­ors cour­tesy ofBMWDe­sign­works.

But the Green­line 33 was some­thing else again, a hy­brid cruiser pow­ered by a Volk­swa­gen Ma­rine propul­sion sys­tem with so­lar pan­els, elec­tric mo­tor, diesel generator and diesel main en­gine. If you’re seek­ing Scan­di­na­vian style and fin­ish, look for the Windy 48 Tri­ton.

An­other new player at the Syd­ney show, New Ocean Yachts, was de­but­ing a 640 Sports Yacht with Euro styling and an Asian build.

As much as per­for­mance is mak­ing a come­back, fru­gal semi-dis­place­ment cruis­ers re­main the cur­rency for plod­ding about lo­cal wa­ter­ways.

The Tai­wanese-made Clip­pers, from 36ft to 60ft, Chi­nese-made Hampton En­durance 750, and the stun­ning Flem­ing 55 and 65 are ver­i­ta­ble homes away from home with ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing sta­bilis­ers, wa­ter­mak­ers and sev­eral kitchen sinks.

But it wouldn’t have been a Syd­ney boat show with­out our le­gendary lo­cal boat builders un­veil­ing their wares.

Thanks to new de­mand for boats un­der 50ft, Riviera is open­ing a new pro­duc­tion line. Last year, it built 50 boats.

This year, it has bud­geted for 100.

The must-see Riv’ is the 43 with Volvo Penta IPS pod drives, hith­erto new lev­els of ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity, and a full­beam aft cabin.

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