Sailing centre stage

The spotlight will be on sailing at the 54th Sydney International Boat Show, 3 to 6 August at ICC Sydney and Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour.

09 July 2023


With close to 175,000 regular sailing participants in Australia, and NSW recording around 48,300 people loving to harness the power of the wind, this year’s Sydney International Boat Show welcomes a special focus on sailing, presenting everything from local club sailing to ocean-going yachts, and featuring live discussions with some of Australia’s foremost sailing identities in the dedicated Discover Sailing & Paddling Hub.

Multiple World Champ ‘The Sailor Girl’ Nic Douglass (who also holds two grade one wins in Women’s Match Racing, and more than 10 Australian Championships in a variety of classes) will host one-on-one interviews with leading Australian sailors, paddlers and local clubs.

Meet members of the Australia Women’s America’s Cup team including Nina Curtis, who is also a crew member with Sail GP Australia.


The aim is to attract people to sailing. “Ultimately my goal is to get more people on the water more often,” explains Nic Douglass.

Also on stage, Lisa Blair returns to the Show, holding the record for the fastest sail-powered circumnavigation of Antarctica, and being the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia, 100 percent eco-powered.

There will also be prizes and giveaways for those who sign up to learn more about sailing, with plenty of activities such as wingfoil demonstrations, ropes and rigging presentations, spinnaker packing competitions and loads more fun.

This special hub also hosts everything for the intrepid paddler, introducing some of the best ways to explore our waterways, and features in-person conversations with Australia’s own endurance rower Michelle Lee on stage. Michelle recently rowed non-stop and unassisted across the Pacific Ocean in her own kayak Australian Maid. You might even catch some paddling demonstrations right on Cockle Bay itself.

The Boating Industry Association (BIA) is proud to this year present the Discover Sailing & Paddling Hub, where you can learn about the many ways to start sailing on our various waterways. From introductory class vessels for younger enthusiasts, to dinghies designed with accessibility in mind, right through to the most prestigious of yachting events, this family focussed precinct will inspire everyone to seek-out their local club and appreciate the incredible, safe and affordable opportunities that exist for sailing around Sydney and beyond.

The BIA reports that there are more than 360 sailing clubs in Australia and each represent an opportunity for people of all ages to experience sailing. The clubs are welcoming, full of volunteers and provide a safe and mentoring environment to learn.

Neil Patchett with the BIA said that more than a third of the people who attend an event like the Sydney International Boat Show are keen on sailing, and mentioned that after paddling, sail power is the second oldest form of propulsion in boating.

“The camaraderie of racing is also special and so too the challenge of getting the sail trim, boat trim and steering in synch with constantly changing wind strength and direction, whilst all the while sailing faster around the course than your competitors,” he said.

“There are sailboats suitable for all ages, abilities and budgets. Gender is not a barrier across the range of sailing activities, from leisurely cruising to racing at the Olympics.”

If you are already a sailing aficionado, you won’t want to miss the latest and greatest offerings from some of the world’s leading sailing companies and brands including Bali Catamarans, Bavaria, Beneteau, Corsair, Defour, Elan Yachts, Excess Catamarans, Fountaine Pajot, Grand Soleil Yachts, HH Catamarans, Lagoon, Leonardo Yachts, Leopard Catamarans, Minicat, Nautor Swan, Sailfish Catamarans, Seawind, and Tofinou.

Find some great training providers at the Show to improve your skills regardless of your level of ability. Pacific Sailing School, which has exhibited at the show since 1977, offers certification internationally recognised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), including Day Skipper and Yacht Master courses which are required should you wish to hire and sail boats overseas.

Dream Yacht Worldwide will feature the new Bali 4.6 Catamaran, appearing for the first time at an Australian show. This impressive craft benefits from all the expertise of the Catana Group: the forward cockpit with lounge and sunbathing areas, the platform connecting the transoms with large bench seat and lockers, the large tilt door and side sliding bays, a helm station with a panoramic relaxation area on the coachroof, a simple and very practical davit system without forgetting the interior access door to the forward cockpit, along with safety and performance you would expect from a Catana design.

Speaking of which, the Catana 50 will also be displayed for the first time at a boat show in Australia. This vessel is the culmination of two years of research by Catana’s naval architects and design team, setting a new standard for luxury and exception in Blue Water Cruising. This vessel is as light as it is strong, thanks to the mastery of carbon infusion technology, which is now used on all Catana boats.

From Performance Cruising, catch the Elan E6, making its debut at the Show. The E6’s modern design finds success in all respects, but some elements truly make this yacht a standout. The coachroof window lines celebrate the heritage of Elan’s E series, while the portlight fold gives the E6 a sporty line and an instantly recognisable look. In the interior, the main stairs open up a spacious saloon with ample windows to light up the quality finishing.

The Elan E6 is a wonderful blend of contemporary design, modern comfort and quality finishes in an eye-catching design.

Another long-time exhibitor, Ensign Yachts, considered one of Australia’s premier yacht brokers and is the exclusive dealer of premium new brands will have new vessels on show. Take a look at the range on Cockle Bay including the Tofinou 9.7 hand-built in France with a superb fit and finish, and the always impressive Bavaria C50, setting a new benchmark in the 50-foot yacht category with its elegant, flat hull line and stunningly dynamic silhouette. Undoubtedly both beautiful and functional.

Worth experiencing is the Grand Soleil, presented by Sydney Marine Brokerage, with both the LC46 and 44 on display. The LC range itself is known for its deeper and larger sections, providing greater luxurious accommodation and exterior comfort when sailing or living onboard, compared to the 44, (the ORC World Champion 2021 & 2022) with its own unique layout designed for those looking for performance along with comfort. Both exhibit attention to detail that allows for expected elegance and improved navigation. The Grand Soleil LC46 will premiere at the Show.

Allsail sailing club operates from the beautiful waters of Church Point and Pittwater, but you can learn at the Show how they make sailing fun, affordable and accessible for everyone, along with servicing a fleet of cruising yachts and catamarans.

On display will be Dancing Star, their Bavaria 40 Sport. Dancing Star is a sports version of the popular Bavaria 40 Cruiser with a taller mast and longer boom which, combined with the deeper 2.3 metre keel and Farr designed performance hull, delivers stable, safe and fast performance. She’s also a top performer in club racing and regattas, winning Division 1 Non-Spinnaker at the Sydney Harbour Regatta three years in a row.

Another vessel making an Australian debut at the Show is the impressive Lagoon SIXTY 5 thanks to TMG Yachts. The new 65-foot catamaran promises to deliver on all the learnings gained from the incredible success of the now legendary Lagoon 620. The SIXTY 5 features the soft lines and floating roof popular with the new generation of Lagoon models. The windows remain framed by the moulding and flush hatches on the wide walkaround decks.

Impressively, the SIXTY 5 offers the same saloon to bow access through the forward door enjoyed by other Lagoon models. TMG has its own exclusive service and maintenance team located here in Australia, while also offering delivery of the Lagoon series to Australian clients who might prefer taking ownership of their vessel in Europe. The Lagoon SIXTY 5 is aptly described as the ideal luxury cruising catamaran for any adventure.

For extensive multiday sailing, see the Asia Pacific premiere of the Dufour 37, the only yacht in her size range to offer so many living spaces on board.

Available at the Show from The Yacht Sails Co, the optimised layout with a bow designed for greater forward volume, offers a very spacious owner’s cabin at the front, with excellent headroom. Whether choosing the three-cabin or two-cabin version with its large bathroom, the inside of this model enjoys extensive natural interior light thanks to the large central hull windows. The bowsprit platform, the large deck hatches and hull windows, and the layout of all the outdoor space, make it easy to move around on deck.

As for the performance when underway, this yacht benefits from a modern and stable hull, similar to that found on offshore racing boats, but with a slightly rounded lower hull that favours efficient passage through the water, while reducing the sound inside the yacht. With a self-tacking jib, the 37 is ideal for short hand sailing. The Yacht Sails Co will also be showcasing the Fountaine Pajot Isla 40 and the larger Dufour 470.

At the other end of the scale, for a sailing vessel that fits into a carry bag, check-out the innovative range from Minicat Australia. These inflatable vessels come in various sizes and are perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy sailing but is short on space for storage. The Guppy is known for its simplicity and swift assembly for an exhilarating sailing experience.

With a flexible composite mast, attached floats, and no anchoring lines, this design masterpiece offers unmatched convenience. Sailing fun from bag to water in under 15 minutes. Perfect for kids and adults of all abilities.

The 310 Sport is similar to the Guppy but with a jib for added speed and performance. Perfect for solo sailors or families seeking compact and secure fun. And the 420 range is perfect for the enjoyment of pleasure, stability, and versatility. From the family-friendly ‘no boom’ Instinct to the limited-edition Laura Dekker, designed in collaboration with the world’s youngest solo circumnavigator, the 420 range caters to all desires.

Whether you choose to buy, charter, share or crew, exhibitors at the Discover Sailing & Paddle Hub, Cockle Bay Marina, or in the halls are sure to thrill you with the desire to experience one of the most exhilarating ways to experience the boating lifestyle.

The Sydney International Boat Show takes place from 3 to 6 August at the International Convention Centre Sydney, and on the adjacent marina on Cockle Bay. The show is open 10am to 7pm Thursday to Saturday, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday. Tickets, now available, can be purchased online only – there will not be a box office at the Show.

One-day early bird tickets are available now until 26 July from $25 (Children under 16 years of age are admitted free with a paying adult). Early bird ticket purchasers also have the chance to win $10,000 in ‘Boat Show Dollars’ to spend with an exhibitor at the Show.

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