Darling Harbour is part of the Sydney CBD precinct, and Sydney International Boat Show (SIBS) 2-6 August located there is overlooked by the city’s business highrises, making it easily the most visible event in Asia-Pacific.
This results in 60,000+ visitors to the in-water exhibits and Convention Centre hardstanding floors. The latter underwent an enormous update in recent years, so the show was split until the 50th SIBS last year, but is now back together and looking to create new visitor and sales records.
In-water, leading production builders Maritimo and Riviera will once more be central to a display that also features premier imported motor yachts and sailboats from the likes of Azimut, Beneteau, Fleming, Grand Banks, Horizon, Leopard, Multihull Solutions, Numarine, Palm Beach, Sunseeker and others. With superb Sydney Harbour as a backdrop as well, and amid high-end restaurants and bars, it is hard not to get into the boating spirit, with many of these vessels capable of ranging up and down Australia’s East Coast as well. The Pittwater north of Sydney and Botany Bay immediately south are well-known and frequented playgrounds.
Exhibits do not, however, include anything but the smallest superyachts, and the same situation applies at Sanctuary Cove. As significant numbers of recognisable superyacht owners visit both, organisers have lately been pondering how better to cater to this steadily growing market. One suggestion has been to at least run a Super Yacht Builders Association or SYBAss, staffed by that organisation rather than the yards per se, so that information on bigger boats is more readily available.
China’s Heysea Yachts, which is delivering a 41m to an Australian owner, was at SIBS last year, along with Horizon, Fleming and other brands built in Taiwan or mainland China, and so SIBS is also taking steps to encourage the wider Chinese and Asian diaspora, including those in hot-property Australia with harbour views and boatsheds, to take part.
SIBS has advertised in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong-based Yacht Style this year, and is hoping to attract more Asian HNWIs and UHNWIs to its event. In our report last year, we instanced a Neil Perry celebrity chef Cantonese restaurant called Jade Temple opening during SIBS with featured dishes of Honey King Prawns, Chilli Pork and Peking Duck. It has just closed again, before SIBS 2018 gets under way, a perfect example of how marketing misunderstandings can arise if not tackled, as SIBS is doing, at source.
At the other end of the scale, last year SIBS teamed up with the Australian International Dive Expo, and this having been adjudged a success, it is being repeated for a second year. Mixing diving and boating events, although nominally in the same category, hasn’t met with much success in the past, particularly in places like Singapore, but in Sydney perhaps there is a future.
Says a spokesman: “Here you will find exhibitors with all the gear and information needed to enjoy scuba diving as a sport, for business, research, conservation or recreation. “An on-site trial pool presents the opportunity to experience scuba diving under the guidance of professional instructors, while the dive gear workshops are a great place for novices to learn about what’s needed to start diving”.
Unlike Asian boat shows, Sydney has extensive facilities for lectures on fishing and other boating-related activities, with a bevy of very well-known and accomplished presenters. Celebrity boaters who have achieved prodigious feats are also part of the programme, enabling visitors to quiz them one-on-one.
The newly renovated Convention Centre halls have an open-air upper deck where pools are available to try out anything from kayaking to stand-up paddle boarding, or for sophisticated parents waiting for their youngsters, a thoughtfully-located oysters and champagne bar. Space precludes discussing the scheduled world, Asia-Pacific and Australian model releases, but we can say for example that Beneteau is presenting a fleet of 13 vessels, covering five sailboats, four inboard motor boats, and four outboard motor boats.
Following successful launch of the Oceanis 51.1 last year, the new Oceanis 46.1 will have her world premiere in Sydney. Three other models, the 51.1, 41.1 and 38.1 suit a variety of client needs, and the award-winning Oceanis 62 will also make an appearance. Among the catamarans, Multihull Solutions is introducing the new Astréa 42 which has just been released by the Fountaine Pajot yard, as well as presenting the MY 44 power catamaran and the Lucia 40 sailing cat. Maritimo, after debuting the X60 at Sanctuary Cove, continues this series with the launch of the X50 in Sydney.