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Champagne Sailing at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show 2017

Champagne Sailing at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show 2017


Luxury sailing catamarans and monohulls will become an even more common sight in South East Queensland if buyer interest at this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is any gauge.

“It was the best show since the GFC,” was the consensus of distributors. Organisers reported that visitor numbers for the 2017 four-day show were slightly up on the previous year, reaching 42,256, as opposed to 41,621 at the 2016 show (which previously held the same title).

Norm Ambrose, director of Gold Coast-based Ausail Marine Group, stated he has enough work stemming from the show to last him the rest of the year. “It was fantastic,” he said. “I am flat-out doing quotes.” Ausail is the Australian distributor for the popular US-built Catalina sailboat range.

Rowan McMahon, manager of The Multihull Group Queensland, said they also had several sales finalised at the show and expected many more to come. “It was the best result we have had in years,” he said. The Multihull Group’s portfolio includes leading French catamaran range Lagoon.

Both Norm and Rowan confirmed that homegrown buyers were out in force, but distributors also reported a noticeable increase in buyers from Asia.

While powerboats proliferated, there were plenty of sailing multihulls and monohulls. In fact, sail enthusiasts had so many yachts to drool over they were spoilt for choice. Sail brands included Beneteau, Catalina, Catana, Dufour, Fountaine Pajot, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Leopard, Seawind, and Sunreef.

The undoubted belle of the ball was the custom-built Polish-built Sunreef Loft, a stunning 18-metre catamaran, which costs more than $2m. This yacht boasts all the bells and whistles, and a black and red oriental-inspired fit-out that set it apart from the other multihulls. And, take heart, if you cannot afford that price tag, you can still charter the boat for US $30,000 for eight days to go diving in Indonesia. Split six ways, that’s reasonably affordable.

Another new boat turning heads was the new Seawind 1260 cruising catamaran, which was making its world debut. The 1260 is larger in interior volume than its predecessors but has the same streamlined under-water profile. This model also has the trademark fold-up saloon doors, creating a huge open-plan area when raised. Seawind offers the 1260 with its popular galley-down configuration (in a hull), but also an innovative galley-up option (adjacent to the saloon) for the charter market.

The Fountaine-Pajot Helia 44 Evolution catamaran was just one of many French-built eye-catchers. The layout of the display boat was the owner’s version, with a large owner’s cabin in one hull and two guest cabins in the other. Even though this catamaran has a galley up, there is still plenty of entertaining space. The lounge area on top of the cabin is just one stand-out feature.

The Lagoon 42 was also attracting keen interest, which is hardly surprising given 170 were sold internationally within six months of the world launch. This model boasts the space the Lagoons are renowned for but with improved performance.

The Catana Bali catamaran was a must-see for buyers interested in investing in a charter yacht. The Catana has abundant accommodation and a host of charter-friendly features that should make it the perfect holiday yacht.

Germany was also represented, which the Nautitech 40 Open catamaran, built by Bavaria, which was yet another example of this mega-builder’s ability to turn out a well thought out boat at a good price.

Not to be outdone, monohull sailboat distributors also turned out en masse, with French manufacturers yet again to the fore, including Beneteau, Dufour and Jeanneau. However, manufacturers from other countries were also represented, including popular US builder Catalina.

Next to the marina, luxury cars proliferated, but there was still the occasional stand to interest the sailor, including entry-level small sailboats. These comprised an off-the-beach Corsair from Multihull Central, promoting a $995 get-into-boating package that they sponsor in conjunction with the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron at Manly.

There were also two halls choc-a-bloc with new products and gear, including a narrow-beam, forward-looking sonar from Garmin, and some nifty slip-resistant magnetic glasses from Silwy, which promise to make enjoying a beverage on the move much easier. Multihull Solutions’ used yacht brokerage division also had a mouth-watering photo display of second-hand multihulls for sale.

So that’s it! The SCIBS done and dusted for another year, all signs indicating one of the most successful shows sail-wise in a long time, and with dozens of new yachts to grace our waterways as a result. No doubt there will also be more than the odd bottle of champagne consumed as buyers celebrate naming their new purchases.


By Caroline Strainig


scibs 2017 gold coast

Carolyn Martin and John Martin (right) discuss the new Seawind 1260 with Seawind/Multihull Central salesman Andrew Crawford



Luxury afloat – the $2m Loft catamaran. Credit: Sunreef


Helia scibs 2017 gold coast

Stunning interior of the new Helia 44 from Fountaine-Pajot. Credit: Fountaine-Pajot