The 51st Southampton International Boat Show, powered by Borrow a Boat, kicked off last Friday with sunshine, blue sky and temperatures of 20+ degrees. The ten-day boat show was officially opened at 11am by British rowing champion, double Olympic gold medallist and new star of Strictly Come Dancing, James Cracknell OBE, and TV personality and fitness entrepreneur, Lucy Mecklenburgh.
Taking to the stage with James and Lucy was British Marine CEO, Lesley Robinson. Lesley explained that the theme of the show this year is inclusivity and that ‘boating is for everyone’ and they hope to get 15,000 people out on the water across the 10 days of the show, with the hope to inspire a whole new generation of boaters and increase participation. Matt Ovenden, CEO and Founder of the show’s title sponsor, Borrow a Boat, also said a few words echoing the message on the accessibility of boating and how the ethos of his business links directly to the show’s directive and that he is ‘delighted’ to be able to help spread the word.
This year’s show marks year two of the show organisers’ environmental pledge. Building on the last year’s initiatives, no single use plastics are being provided by the show’s organisers and water filling stations are dotted around the show. There is also the new Environmental Award. This British Marine award will recognise the exhibitor that has embraced the most environmentally responsible and sustainable work practices at the show
With 240 product launches, the most ever at Southampton, 360 boats on display and 600 brands (82 new to the show), there will be no shortage of things for visitors to do, but participation is still definitely at the forefront of the show. “This year the show for us is all about participation,” says Riki Hooker, director of RS Sailing. “Dinghies are the grassroots of our industry and our focus is getting new sailors in.”
The 26 world debuts and 89 UK debuts demonstrate that there is definitely still a market for new yachts across both sail and power. However, the traditional ownership model may be changing. According to Ancasta International Boat Sales, this is something that it has seen coming over the last few years and prompted a group wide initiative to find out what people wanted and how this could be accommodated. This has resulted in Ancasta putting together a selection of innovative ownership solutions ranging from direct purchase to shared ownership, financed ownership to investment programs. “No other sales related company was doing it,” comments Scarlett Sykes, Sales Manager, Ancasta Ownership Solutions. “We are just trying to get a section of people out on the water who weren’t due to financial or time restrictions, and to get boating back as a core pastime.”
Amongst the debuts at the show on Friday was the latest new build from Spirit Yachts, the Spirit 50CR. Staying true to the company values and embracing sustainability, the Spirit 50CR is the first sailing yacht in the UK to launch with a Lignia, instead of teak, deck. “Teak is now considered a high-risk timber, so whilst we are using up our existing supply, out standard decks for new Spirit Yachts will be Lignia,” explains Nigel Stuart, managing director at Spirit Yachts. “We take our responsibility to the environment very seriously.”
Oyster Yachts introduced its new Oyster 565. This luxury sailing yacht has been nominated for European Yacht of the Year 2020 and comes with a range of deck and interior options ensuring that each boat is unique and built to its owner’s taste and specification.
2019 has been a year of consolidation for the Discovery Yachts Group. It has now rationalised and united all its ranges under the Discovery brand. On Friday, not only did it the launch the Southerly 54, the newest yacht to complement the group’s variable draft class, but Discovery presented its Revelation Class. This new class offers the first lower saloon model in its six-class offering.
On the power side, Princess did not disappoint with five global launches comprising the Y78, S66, S62, F50 and V55 models. Stepping on board the V55, the new model remains true to the established V class design qualities. The deep-V hull gives smooth and efficient cruising as well as creating additional space below deck.
Sunseeker unveiled its new Predator 60 Evo. Sporty and sleek, this new model is the first of Sunseeker’s major new product development plan.
Ring Powercraft’s Ranger 25 Vengeance also made its debut. Featuring two SHOCK-WBV C-series units designed and engineered by specialist fittings manufacturer Sea Sure Ltd, the Ranger 25 is an open version of the Ring 25 sports boat and is ideal for comfortable family cruising.
It wasn’t just boats that were launching at the show on the opening day. Suzuki launched its DF300B, the latest outboard model to join its existing ‘GEKI’ series of dual propeller outboards. The new DF300B has a maximum output of 300hp and in addition to the unique Dual Prop System, it features 2-stage Gear Reduction and a compact 4390cm3 four-stroke V6 engine that boasts a 300ps output with regular petrol.
Also at the show, Ocean Safety took the opportunity to launch its new look stand, new logo and strapline following a recent brand refresh.
In keeping with the show’s environmental directive, the UK supplier of the SeaBin, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems, is giving demonstrations of this innovative in water waste receptacle which has been installed in the marina for the duration of the show. The SeaBin, designed to be used in marinas, yacht clubs and ports, acts as a floating rubbish bin, skimming debris from the surface of the water, helping to reduce the amount of trash in the marine environment.
The Southampton International Boat Show continues this week and we will keep you updated on all the news.