Day 2 of this year's Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show began with the annual Marine Industry Breakfast, just as the sun broke over the boat show precinct. With forecasts for showers, all those gathered were anxious about attendance, their stands if they were outdoors and making it back without getting too wet.
Around 140 exhibitors, industry, guests and media gathered in the Wool Shed section of the Hyatt Regency to share opening day breakfast with colleagues, competitors and inspiring speakers.
Sue Thomson, GM events & marketing at Sanctuary Cove, reassured guests that the show was in safe and thoroughly committed hands - indicating its owners had too much invested in the boat show as a key event in its calendar, along with an inaugural program of events for 2011 and beyond, and intended to continue its support, funding and dedication to enhancing the event each year.
Chairman of the Boating Industries Alliance of Australia (BIAA), Darren Vaux announced several initiatives at a consumer, industry and government level that would raise the profile and participation in recreational boating, as well as supporting industry at all levels.
Over eggs and salmon or bacon, and not enough hot coffee, those gathered then enjoyed the insight and elegant presentation from the formidable President of Monte Carlo Yachts, Carla Demaria. Barry Jenkins can be credited for the absolute coup of attracting an industry representative of her calibre to impart the trends, challenges and triumphs of launching a luxury brand into a competitive, crowded market during the GFC.
Monte Carlo Yachts, launched just three years ago as part of the French Beneteau behemoth, is a purely Italian company, specialising in 'design, style and a new understated form of luxury' in the 60ft and up market.
Unveiled last year to global acclaim, the MCY 76 took out every major award in Europe and Asia, as well as the prestigious Association of Industrial Design Award, which as Ms Demaria explained: 'Is perhaps the most important, as it is not only nautical, but all production'.
'The judges described our yacht as 'the most mature expression of design and manufacturing in the sector'. It is hard not to be too proud,' she said.
Ms Demaria said the MCY 76 is truly 'the boat I wanted to build', benefiting from the resources, capital and clout of its parent company, Beneteau, but with none of the 'family heritage' to hold it back from the freedom and scope to create. 'We were able to start from scratch. Design is a mania for Italians. All my team are Italian. The brief was to create a totally Italian yacht, but with none of the excesses, to suit more conservative times.'
Asia, she said, is a main focus of Monte Carlo Yachts, with an explosion of millionaires, multi-millionaires and an estimated 4000 billionaires. 'The market is too great to ignore. But Australia too is significant. We see there is a growth of high nett worth individuals in Australia - a rise of 35% since 2008-9.'
The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is one of the region's 'most interesting', according to Ms Demaria, who indicated she was very tempted to return again next year, but with the highly awarded Monte Carlo 76 in tow.
Now THAT would be a coup for 2012.
Emerging just after 9am, all guests were exstatic that the rain had cleared and the bluest skies stretched from each end of the venue.