Sailing success at SIBS

The 2022 Sydney International Boat Show was held under dazzling blue skies and welcomed more than 45,000 visitors eager to see the latest models and immerse themselves in the yachting lifestyle.

Written by Jeni Bone

02 August 2022


The 53rd edition of the Sydney International Boat Show was held over five days, 28 July to 1 August at Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay.

BIA President, Andrew Fielding told industry and government leaders “The BIA is proud to be back in this harbour city with the Sydney International Boat Show.

“Two years of cancellations disrupted what was up until that time an extraordinary run of boat shows,” he said.

“We responded to the NSW Government COVID Recovery Plan and call in October last year to revive events and get people back in the city. We understood the need for leadership and the need to put this event on for our members and for our public.”

Mr Fielding said as an industry body, charged with making decisions for the benefit of our entire industry, BIA had stepped up and delivered.



“It was great to see the crowds in the tens of thousands of people over the past few days. People enjoying the opportunity to get out and ignite their passion for boating and all that a boat show like this offers.”

He said it was also great to see the ripple effect of the Show where cafes, bars and restaurants across the precinct enjoyed the benefits of the return of what is a world-renowned boat show.

“It really was a fabulous showcase for the boating lifestyle, and I would like to acknowledge all those members who supported this boat show this year; well done every single one of you.”

From sailing yacht dealers, there was unanimously positive feedback on the success of the show.

Graham Raspass, Director at Flagstaff Marine said he was pleasantly surprised at the quality of show visitor and their enthusiasm for cruising.

“We haven’t had a Sydney show since 2019, and the key thing that impressed me was the number of very positive serious discussions we had with people who are looking to either upgrade their yachts or take up sailing. We’re now following up dozens of very promising leads and we’re confident of several sales.”

Graham continued, “The weather was great, the crowds were better than I envisaged. We were showcasing the Beneteau Oceanis 40.1, the Oceanis 46.1, the Figaro 3 which we had there doing demonstrations, and the premiere of the Excess 11 catamaran and Amel 50.”

The Figaro Beneteau 3 is the first production foiling one-design monohull ever to be designed. A distillation of technology and innovation, it results from a collaboration between group Beneteau’s experts and the Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP) office, the architects of the two last boats to win the Vendée Globe.

“Our range this year was predominantly targeting the cruising market,” said Graham. “They enjoyed strong and enthusiastic response from people looking to set sail – couples and families.

“People are certainly in the mood for sailing. They told us they’ve reprioritised as a result of the pandemic and want to embark on a trip, spend more time boating, time with family, or upgrade their current boat to a newer model.”

Graham explained, “The Amel 50, the larger Oceanis and the Excess attracted people who want to spend months, even years at a time at sea. Now that travel is opening up, we are seeing a return to people exploring the idea of European delivery. They pick their boat up in Europe and cruise for a few seasons before bringing it back to Australia.”

Performance Cruising Yachts exhibited the Dufour 48 Catamaran for the first time to the Australian market, along with the Elan GT6 and another Elan 40, which is going into syndication.

Matt Hayes, Director at Performance Cruising Yachts, said the show was one of superlatives.

“It was awesome, fantastic, beyond expectations! Overwhelming!” he reported. “We have hundreds of leads and will be following up for weeks.”

According to Matt, the fact that there were significant brands absent from this year’s event meant more attention for the brands he represents, particularly in the catamaran segment.

“We were thrilled with the response to the Dufour 48 Catamaran. Saturday was manic. We had queues across the dock to get on!”

While the Dufour 48 Catamaran is a new name on the multihull scene, it has decades of expertise behind it.

Formerly owned by Dufour Yachts, the design and technology teams behind it are up there with the world’s best including world-famous Italian naval architect, Umberto Felci.

The design was so special that the rights were purchased by established Italian boat-builders JJL Catamarans, who refined the manufacturing process and improved the design, changing this catamaran from a simple production vessel to a unique work of art.

Felci was the original designer of the sleek catamaran in 2018, and continues to oversee production of the catamarans since the company was sold to JJL Catamarans in 2020. JJL Catamarans are partnered with Under the Heavens Sailing Cruises in Croatia, who are backed by International conglomerate – the Fozzy Group.

While the name and management might have changed, the prestigious Felci touch is still front and centre of the Dufour 48 Catamaran, as he uses his vast knowledge and experience to give the catamaran a sleek, Italian styling to rival luxury yachts and catamarans around the world.

“There is a new 44 model in production, under the Cevetti name, which we hope to have by April-May next year,” Matt continued. “We have had a lot of interest in that one as well.”

From Elan, the GT6, which recently won a prestigious Red Dot Design Award, and the new Elan E6 attracted their share of interest. “The E6 is a little more on the performance side of cruising and the GT6 is a cruising boat with performance capabilities for short-handed sailing.”

Performance Cruising has taken on a new Italian brand called ICE yachts, made near Milan, high-spec, luxurious performance cruising yachts from 52 to 70 feet.

“We are looking forward to seeing the new ICE 62 and 70 at the Cannes Yachting Festival,” said Matt.

In the sailing range, Windcraft presented the Solaris 47, Hanse 418 and Dehler 30.

Making its Australian boat show debut, the highly innovative Dehler 30 one design was created

by respected design house Judel/Vrolijk for double-handed offshore racing, a stand-out trend in racing circles over the past few years.

This award-winning “skiff on steroids” has confirmed its performance potential in major offshore events in Europe and New Zealand. The Dehler 30 OD is also capable of switching modes: to either a fully-crewed fast twilight competitor or even weekend cruiser thanks to comfortable quarter berths and settee berths as well as perfectly functional galley head compartment.

Sydney Marine Brokerage has been the official dealer for Grand Soleil for the past five years.

At SIBS 2022, they presented the Grand Soleil 44 and 34 Performance to huge interest.

“The show was fantastic, we were absolutely swamped,” said Director, Andrew Withers. “We had six of us working on the stand, and we didn’t see each other between 10am and 7pm every day. We had a good location at the entrance. Grand Soleil hasn’t been at a Sydney Show since 2006 and visitors told us they were glad to see it back.

“We gained a lot of prospects and we sold some boats as well!”

The Grand Soleil range appeals to people seeking luxurious performance cruisers. “They’re keen to race and want a luxury fit out downstairs for extended east-coast cruising,” said Andrew.

“All our boats are semi-custom and we build boats with owners, which is a different model from most production boats. We recently sold a new Grand Soleil 40 off plan. It will be released at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September, along with the 72 Performance. We’re heading there with a few clients to see the new 40 and 72. The boat show season has just started for us!”

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