Superb sailing at SCIBS

The 2024 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show was held under sunny skies, attracting 43,741 visitors and showcasing a record-setting number of vessels on water and throughout the Marine Village.

Written by Jeni Bone

30 May 2024


Sailing yachts were represented, in both mono and multihulls, and the allure of sail is still strong, particularly in Queensland, which is considered the gateway to the pristine cruising grounds of the Whitsundays.

Among the huge mix of mono and multihull brands were Beneteau, Hanse, Lagoon, Leopard, Jeanneau, Seawind, Corsair, Fontaine Pajot, Bali and Dufour.

Steady crowds and great weather for the 35th Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show added up to an event exhibitors have praised as “exceptional”.

Setting records was the number of boats on the water – 356 in total, up 41 on last year – delivering unparalleled diversity and myriad options for all who attended.


Johan Hasser, General Manager of Mulpha Events, said his team was overwhelmed with the public response to the 35th edition and delighted with the results reported by exhibitors in terms of leads and sales.

“SCIBS is about building relationships with marine enthusiasts, it’s the Show where the marine business does business, and we are confident that this year’s Show has done exactly that for our 335 exhibitors,” he said. “At the same time, crowds of 43,741 have had the pleasure of viewing 102 new product launches, 767 boats and over 2,500 marine products at our biggest show yet.”

Anthony Bishop, Managing Director at Windcraft displayed two brand new Hanse models, the Hanse 510 which made its Asia-Pacific premiere, and the smaller model, the Hanse 460.

“We talked to a lot of people and were busy every day. We sold a 460 and the 510, which is heading down to Sydney with her new owners.

As Anthony explained, “Both are fast cruising yachts, suited to couples who want to cruise in comfort. Hanse has spent a lot of time on these models, with a brand new designer, Berret-Racoupeau – French design, German built, which resonates with a lot of people.

“These are much beamier boat with more space in the cockpit and aft cabins, and bigger living space, whilst retaining their performance. The Hanse 510 on show was bought by a couple who are ex-power boat people and it’s their first sailing yacht. They are planning to sail north and enjoy the east coast of Australia. They’re looking forward to being free from fuel and travelling at a silent, slower pace.

Sailing has lost none of its lustre, in fact, it’s gaining popularity, said Anthony. “From visitor feedback, it was heartening to hear how popular sailing is, especially as fossil-fuel burning is being phased out. In Europe, sailing yachts and more environmentally-friendly vessels are enjoying a real resurgence. Boats are headed the way cars are going.

“People told us they wished we had brought more boats, especially in the Moody range, which is made by the same manufacturer, Hanse.”

Taryn Poole, marketing manager of The Yacht Sales Co., representing Dufour and  Fountaine Pajot, commented, “We have experienced a very high-quality show in terms of visitors across displays and interest in brands resulting in a number of orders being taken.

On display were the Dufour 41 and 37, and the popular Fontaine Pajor Astrea 47 sailing cat.

The Dufour 41 sailing yacht made its Southern Hemisphere debut and marks “a new era of design for the shipyard, injecting a modern essence, abundance of light and a host of innovations, all while preserving the DNA of the Dufour brand”.

“We have a number of sea trials in play this week which confirms that there’s still a very strong interest in sailing multihulls and monohulls,” said Taryn. “Our sales team are in the process of following up a number of very strong leads which should result in further orders being secured.

“We also saw a number of sales and enquiries on pre-owned sailing yachts that we currently have for sale globally.”

For Spirit Marine Queensland, who showed an extensive range of Beneteau power and sailing yachts, including the Oceanis 40.1, 30.1 and a Beneteau First 27, plenty of interest and dozens of strong leads.

Peter Nicholson, Queensland dealer for Beneteau said, “The 40.1 is very appealing for the Queensland market and has been very successful. The first 30.1 was on show for the first time in Queensland and is the entry model to the Oceanis brand. And the First 27 is a versatile racing yacht with great accommodation and inboard diesel engine – a nice introductory yacht for racing and a solid family yacht.”

Flagstaff Marine exhibited the spacious and comfortable Excess 11, part of the exciting new range of Catamaran from Groupe Beneteau and winner of the Multihull of the Year from Cruising World.

A return to the founding principles of a cruising catamaran, Excess is designed for those who want to enjoy the freedom and thrill of sailing.

According to Graham Raspass, “It’s also the perfect family catamaran”. “They’re ideal for entertaining, with contemporary, light-filled interiors that are bright and open with generous spaces for enjoying time together on the water. Visibility from the helm station position, the precise feel of the steering, the opening roof… everything has been designed to ensure that you fully enjoy the experience on board.”

The Excess range is available in four sizes from 11 to 15 feet and we’ll have the popular Excess 11, winner of the Multihull of the Year from Sail World Magazine, on display this year.

Kevin Wallis from X-Yachts Australia exhibited in the main Pavilion, and said he was thrilled with the quality of enquiries.

“We presented information and plans for X-Yachts, Dragonfly Trimarans, Spirit Yachts and Southern Wind Yachts. While the number interested was low, the quality was high!

“Our brands are premium and aspirational – our owners are already experienced sailors and owners, so SCIBS is a good opportunity to reinforce our brand to existing and aspiring owners,” he explained.

“A lot of people are interested in chartering a Southern Wind Superyacht in the Med – which is an investment of Euro 50,000 to 80,000 for a week.

“Interest in X-Yachts remains strong, with several very good leads being followed up for new yachts.”

Dream Yacht Australia had a Bali 4.2 on show on the marina. As importer for the Bali cat brand, they also run the Dream Yacht ownership program.

“We sell boats to private owners and people can put their sailing cats of whatever high-end brand into charter through us,” explained Amara Vanek, Sales and Marketing at Dream Yacht Sales and Dream Yacht Charter.

This year, the Dream Yacht team was very happy with response to the Bali 42. “The weather was great, good quality enquiry and we have some good leads to follow up on.

“SCIBS is very important for us,” said Amara. “We are based in the Whitsundays and there are five charter companies here. Sailing charters are extremely valuable to the region.

“Sailing cats suit people who want to take their time, savour family time on board and enjoy the feeling of cruising under sail, while learning valuable skills, especially for kids. You’re unplugged, learning to communicate together and bond.

“We’re noticing this a lot with families with teenagers are enjoying a more natural way of life, and it’s very good for their self-esteem.”

Multihull Central’s Brent Vaughan said “SCIBS was good show all round this year”.

“We had a nice little display and visitor attendance was good – we were busy every day,” he commented.

“We presented a Seawind 1170, a brand-new design and the southern hemisphere premiere, which was really well received. It’s the first time anybody has seen the boat. We already have five on order for Australia and we’re confident of a few more sales.

Brent continued, “We also had the Corsair 880 trimaran, a 28-foot fast cruising trailer boat, you can fold up and tow.  People were very impressed and we’re close to wrapping up a sale on that one.

Ian Douglas, Director at Mooloolaba Yachts which represents French brand, Jeanneau Yachts, said this year’s SCIBS “was our best for a few years!”

“The enquiry was of the highest quality with several Jeanneau Yachts being priced for delivery to Australia and another two for European delivery. We had the Jeanneau 60 on display that we sold at last year’s SCIBS, and many visitors claimed it was the stand out sailboat of the show.

“The demand for larger yachts seems to be increasing as the value in the over 40-foot mark is clear.”

Scott Newland, dealer principal of Bentley Brisbane & Gold Coast said “The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show has been the perfect opportunity to showcase our latest Bentley range, connect with our Bentley owners, and meet new prospects for the brand.

Rowan McMahon, Queensland Branch Manager for TMG, representing Lagoon catamarans, said SCIBS 2024 was “excellent”.

“It was a great show for us. We had the Lagoon 46 sailing cat on water and the feedback was incredible. We also promoted the new Lagoon 43, which is yet to be released, and gathered a lot of good leads and signed a deposit on at 43, which was great! Our European order book is filling up for 2025.

“People still love cruising under sail,” Rowan continued. “People just love the silence, sailing along at a reasonable speed and not consuming fuel. The other thing you can do that motor yachts can’t do is sail the South Pacific and go further afield with no restrictions.

“Sailing catamarans offer the space and stability at sea as well for families and larger groups.

“At SCIBS, there were so many people planning their future cruising – selling their home or business, or continuing their business via Starlink on board, which has been a boon for sales in our segment. Every single Lagoon we sell will have Starlink installed for fast internet.”

For the Sydney International Boat Show, TMG will again display the Lagoon 46, anticipating equally strong response, as well as displaying a number of models in the Saffier sailing yacht range represented by sister company, Carbon Yachts.

“We sold the Continental GT V8 S displayed in our suite and we look forward to more sales opportunities arising from our partnership with the Boat Show. We’re thrilled to be part of this esteemed event and look forward to continuing our support.”

In the Pavilions, foot traffic was heavy at the Navico Group stand, with especially strong interest in the new Simrad® NSX® ULTRAWIDE marine display and new Lowrance® Eagle® fish finder.

Navico Marketing manager Brad Verkerk said: “The Show is always amazing for us. We also enjoy the collaboration between all the different brands.”

Also in the Pavilion, Quality Marine Clothing had a “strong boat show, particularly in the upper end of the market”.

“The superyacht market is very healthy,” said Managing Director, Duncan Curnow. “We have supplied a lot of gear for crew, broker and marine staff uniforms. Brands that proved popular included Smallwoods and SLAM, as well as the perennially popular MUSTO.”

Bill Hull, sales manager of Northside Marine, representing Highfield Boats, praised the “wonderful atmosphere of the Show. “It has been really rewarding, with strong quality leads and a lot of enquiries from people we haven’t spoken to before,” he said.

Managing director of Italian Marine Accessories company Gineico, Pierluigi Gambacorti, lauded “a very dynamic market” at the Show. “We specialise in very expensive Italian products and we only really supply vessels from 60 feet up. We have been able to build relationships with our particular type of client.”

Johan Hasser said, “After this year’s phenomenal Show, exhibitors are already lining up to join us for the 2025 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.”

The 36th Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show will be held from 22 to 25 May 2025.

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