Home' Afloat : AFLOAT August 2015 Contents 64 AFLOAT.com.au August 2015
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
As I write this, the backrooms and bunkers of boat dealers,
importers and exhibitors are frenetic with the logistics of
the Sydney International Boat Show (SIBS). Due to the
renovations of the Exhibition Centre, the boat show is being
staged in the water at Darling Harbour and upstream at the
Glebe Island once again this year.
A free and non-stop ferry service transports you between
the two locations, for a 20 minute journey across Sydney’s
beautiful harbour. Public transport and parking is available at
both locations, giving visitors the choice of where they should
start their show experience.
Among other things, the split venue underscores the divergent
nature of pleasure boating. On one hand, SIBS is considered a
world stage for the launch of luxury motorboats and yachts. On
the other, more than 90 per cent of all boats registered in NSW
range from 3m to 6.99m in length. Just a little over 1 per cent of
registered vessel in NSW measure between 13m and 20m in length.
The total number of new boats registered in NSW has fallen
from 12,292 in 2009 to 9,168 in 2014. The total number of all
boats registered, that is, new and old, has risen 10 per cent or
so since 2011 to 230,877 in 2015. The new-boat growth YOY can
be attributed to the sub-6m trailerable bracket. There’s mainly
used-boat transactions going down in the cruiser market, but it
is now sprouting greenshoots.
It’s against this backdrop that hundreds of new boats tempt
us at the SIBS. No other boat show in the Southern Hemisphere
can hold a candle to the level of luxury proudly on show in Darling
Harbour this month.
As with the auto world, Europe leads the way with design
and styling. Sure, boating is a lot different on the Med, but it’s
not that different in respect of day boating and weekending. In
this time-poor world, that is pretty much the charter of most
new-boat buyers these days.
It’s the converts and aficionados that covet boats that can
cruise offshore in comfort, remain autonomous and range away
for weeks at a time. Iconic Australian boatbuilders Riviera and
Maritimo have new luxury cruising boats in the 50-60ft bracket
on show this year designed to do just that.
The loyal owner of a new Riviera 52 I got talking with the
other day was on his third boat from this Gold Coast yard. He
had just sold his business interests and was ready to head north
Trailerable fishing boats and tinnies less than 6m in length are the
bright news in new-boat registrations.
to Hamilton Island before arriving down in Sydney for summer
and exploring the far south coast. Tasmania was also mentioned
in his dispatch.
This footloose owner was typical of the well-funded retirees
now investing in realising their boating dreams. His new Riviera
52-footer with pod drives and docking stations with joysticks cost
about $1.8 million. The transom lifts up Bond-style on hydraulic
struts to reveal a large under deck space for a tender and outboard.
You can see the Riviera 52 in both Enclosed Flybridge and SUV
sedan variants, plus the new Riviera 57 on show this year.
Proudly Australian-made Maritimo will have its new M48 with
cockpit tender garage that makes dispatching the ducky a cinch
for grey nomads. There will also be an S48 version without the
flybridge that will appeal to seasoned Sydney boaters with more
relaxed boating in mind.
But pretty much everything else on show at the marina
is Italian, French, German, American, Asian, South African,
Slovenian and European. That’s always been the attraction of
SIBS – seeing what’s new in luxury boating from abroad, ogling
their lines and interior designs, checking the accommodation
and engineering. The big day cruiser and entertainer is where
we’re heading with this.
For the majority, however, those stats reveal the sub-6m class
is the happy hunting ground. There’s a lot to choose from up to
$75K. Packaged BMTs, that’s boat/motor/trailer, are big. You can
compare apples with apples under the one roof at Glebe. Expect
dealers to throw in some extra fruit. With interest rates at record
lows and real estate through the roof, it’s good time to buy.
But one big thing those registration figures don’t show is the
shift to re-powering. Hull shapes haven’t changed much, but with
a new outboard engine your boat gets a new lease on life. Add
some new-generation electronics and you’re back up to speed.
See you on the Better Boating Stage daily from 11am-12pm
where I’ll be talking boat buying, family boating, Hawkesbury
boating holidays, Sydney fishing secrets, and lots more. h
The new Evolution 652 with the latest 200hp Evinrude ETEC G2
outboards represents one of few growth areas, that of trailerable
fishing boats, in new-boat sales in NSW.
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