Despite the inclement weather that has been the New Zealand’s daily fare for too long, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening.
Today was the first of the four-day show and is also the first time that the Show has been held in the school holidays. Certainly, the visitor flow seems to have been a lot more even throughout the day, with a good mix of sailing and boating fans combined with those from the industry who are just having a look.
Then there are the international buyers and suppliers who have traveled to Auckland to follow up on local contacts and points of interest at the Show, as well as looking for new opportunities and relationships.
This year’s show features a range of indoor exhibits across four pavilions, plus the marinas full of exquisite craft of all types.
This is a mostly imported fleet of covering sail and power and a few options in between offer a unique opportunity for sailors and interested visitors to see, and maybe step aboard for a closer look.
Of course there is a strong representation of the best and brightest from the New Zealand marine industry – ashore and afloat. The differentiation between local and imported boats and gear is imperceptible with the major discussion points being price and value for money, offset by the features available and key points of difference.
For locally based suppliers and the importers the Show is always an excellent opportunity to meet their customers, and to understand at first hand their feedback. For sailing and boating fans the Show heralds the end of winter and get the mind focused on the coming racing and cruising summer.
Traditionally the Show has featured classic yachts with the beautifully restored 26ft mullet boat Corona, being an excellent example. She is moored adjacent to Peter Blake’s Whitbread Round the World race winner, now under the custodianship of the New Zealand Sailing Trust, along with Blake’s previous racer, Lion New Zealand.
Along the marina, Yachting New Zealand has been running a mini-version of their successful “ Sailing … Have a Go” program, running two Topper Topaz dinghies from the program to give Show visitors their first sailing experience.
No special clothing is necessary, with lifejackets being supplied, and Yachting NZ’s Andrew Clouston reporting that most opted to sail in their street clothes – minus mobile phones and the like.
Sealegs is another Show regular with their amphibious launch area to demonstrate the versatility and ease of operation of the New Zealand designed and built craft. On display are several models of mostly RIBs fitted with Sealegs. Missing is the military version on display last year, but a clever signpost gives a very quick indication of the spread and volume of Sealegs sent around the world.
Somehow the sign seems to sum up the Auckland On the Water Boat Show as displaying the best of the international marine marketplace right here in Auckland.
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show continues through until Sunday – opening at 10.00am each day at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. Tickets can be purchased at www.iticket.co.nz
In keeping with the spirit of the school holidays, visitors under 15 years old are free.
For further information see the website on auckland-boatshow.com
by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com