Smuggler Marine co-owner Pauline Pringle echoed the thoughts of many when she declared, three-quarters of the way through this year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show in Auckland: 'The recession is over.'
Pringle made the comment while accepting the GRP Fishing Boat Under 6 Metres Award at this year’s Boating NZ/NZ Fishing News Boat of the Show Awards Evening.
She was clearly responding to a level of both sales and genuine inquiry unseen since the heady days of the mid 1990s.
After two very difficult years, New Zealand boat owners appeared willing to shrug off their recent frugalness and once again invest in a boating lifestyle.
Seacraft Miller Moyes managing director, Lionel Sands, who was inducted into the show’s Hall of Fame during the Awards Evening, says the company sold more than a million dollars’ worth of their Haines Hunter boats at the show. He says a 'significant' percentage of these were of the company’s new SS725 Sport Sedan and SP725 Sport Pursuit models, the latter of which won the show’s coveted Boat for the Show: Overall Winner award.
Another Boat of the Show award winner, Tony Hembrow from Rayglass Boats, also reported very strong sales, 'well beyond expectations'. In his case, the sales appeared mainly spread across both the company’s new model Legend 2200 and their existing Legend 2500, both of which also won Boat of the Show Awards.
The buoyant sales were not restricted to the show’s GRP models either. Several leading aluminium manufacturers also enjoyed great success. Brian Firman from Napier’s Profile Boats believed he sold the first boat of the show, a Profile 650, in the first hour after the gates opened on Thursday.
Steve McLay, from McLay Boats in Milton, South Otago, reported selling six boats over the four days of the show, including his new award-winning 690. He expects this to double after sea trails and further discussions with potential buyers.
Whakatane’s Extreme Boats also enjoyed an 'incredibly successful' show. Owner Glenn Shaw says the company will end up selling between 20 and 25 boats after checking trade-in boats and taking buyers for a sea trial. Shaw says he was also amazed at the amount interest in the company’s bigger and more highly featured boats.
'For example, we sold five of our new Extreme 850 Game King model,' he says. 'We offer this in a variety of different ways, with varying options. This means an entry level version of the 850 costs about $160,000 while a top-of-the-line model goes for around $220,000.
'All of the five we sold at the show were right at the very top of that curve.'
Marine dealers, who have certainly had a very hard time over the last few years, also had reason to smile.
Peter Carlson from East Tamaki based Family Boats, enjoyed his best boat show since 2005, while Nigel Arkell, from Albany’s Rogers Boatshop, says his company definitely noticed a significant upward trend over recent shows, with a substantially better quality of inquiry.
Major retailers at the show also reported huge increases in sales; in some cases, over 250% more than at the 2010 show.
Interest in boating among the general public was also at a several year high with attendance figures for the 2011 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show up an estimated 15%. This was despite the show only having one late night instead of the traditional two.
Buoyed by both the significant increase in attendance and the success of the exhibitors, Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show general manager Dave Gibbs says he is already planning the 2012 show.
'This year’s show was completely sold out well in advance,' he says. 'We ended up with a waiting list of more than a dozen companies.
'That’s certainly not going to change for 2012. We have already been approached by a number of exhibitors wanting to secure even larger stand areas for next year.'
The 2012 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show will be held at the ASB Showgounds in Greenlane Auckland on May 17-20. Gate prize winners:
The winner of the Extreme/Yamaha Boat Show Package was Rebecca Berry from Pukekohe. She won a just release Extreme 540 Sports Fisher, complete with Yamaha 70hp four stroke outboard, Raymarine A57D GPS chartplotter and digital fishfinder; Ray 49 VHF radio; Jabsco high pressure wash down pump, four Hutchwilco lifejackets, a flare pack and a specially designed multi-roller, self-centring Extreme trailer.
The show also gave away a $3000 Viking Kayak Package every day.
These consisted of a high-featured Viking Profish 400 kayak with numerous extras as well as a Hutchwilco personal flotation device and a C-Tug kayak trolley.
The four winners were Ray Chamberlin from Howick; Jim Harvey from Maraetai; Jody Robb from Cockle Bay and Trent Dunn from Mairangi Bay.
website: www.boatshow.co.nz Other Boat Show Award Winners
Aquatech Most Innovative International Product Award: Electronic Navigation Ltd’s WAASP Multibeam Sonar - © Mike Rose
Marine Direct Ltd Best Small Stand
Surf Life-Saving’s Educational Container - 2011 Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show - © Mike Rose Click Here to view large photo
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