by Jeni Bone
Visitors were slow to start flowing in to the halls of Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay Marina, but by lunchtime, the aisles and the walkways were awash with visitors, and the atmosphere was positively euphoric!
Boats in the marina at Darling Harbour - 2013 Sydney International Boat Show
'People are really appreciating the extra effort that exhibitors have gone to,' said Domenic Genua, marketing and events manager at BIA NSW. 'They don't see what goes on behind the scenes, but I am sure they're impressed today.'
Men in suits, heaps in hats and fleece jackets, families and the yachtie crowd queued at the entrances from about 11am, and inside the Halls, the show began with the MyBoatingLife presentations and panels in full swing.
Pre-Show at the Sydney Convention Centre Exhibition Hall - 2013 Sydney International Boat Show
On the marina, under glorious blue skies, temps topping 22 today, visitors mingled with exhibitors and it was heartening to see so many family groups - one of which was a school friend of mine from 25 years ago, proud owner of a new Beneteau Sense 50.
'We were looking for a powerboat,' she told me, once the reunion chat was done with, 'But we decided on this because we have always wanted to learn to sail and now that the kids are older, it's something we can do together. We don't mind if we spend the next 20 years learning to sail. My husband is in a high-pressure job and he's always been active, but he doesn't want to play golf. This is something we can do as a family and will create memories they will have forever.'
Sarah and her family will be out on Pittwater in a matter of weeks, learning the ropes and enjoying the freedom of planning their family travels for 2014. 'We will go to the Whitsundays, lots of sailing on the Harbour and around Sydney. We can't wait!'
That's what this is all about - enticing families with the genuine allure of quality family time together. 'It is a big investment, but we will use it. We need to get away from it all. And with a boat, we are committed.'
The 46th Sydney International Boat Show runs until Monday 5 August at Darling Harbour.
More at www.sydneyboatshow.com.au