New faces and a facelift for the 2011 London Boat Show
A few new sights are expected at January's 2011 London Boat Show – from an image makeover of one of the region's best known boat brands to boat debuts in an enlarged 'dry marina'.
But the sense of uncertainty which appeared to dissipate earlier this year has returned to some in the industry ahead of the 2011 show, which opens days after the January 4 VAT rise.
Despite this, visitors are in for a larger show this year, with 7,000sqm more floorspace at London's Excel Arena.
The extension of the main hall has meant the show's organisers have created an enlarged boardwalk area – where more than 40 berths will be filled by boats in a layout similar to a real marina.
They will range from small craft to a Princess superyacht running down the length of one side.
As a result, a number of boat builders who are not usually regulars have been encouraged to this year's show, partially due to the lower cost of exhibiting their craft there instead of having to pay for a stand.
However, one of the stalwarts of the London show – Broom Boats – is also set to provide something new for visitors.
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Broom went through a rough patch after it was taken over by new owners, including the closing of its production division, now up and running again as a smaller outfit as part of the main firm. But now, to mark its return, the new owners are launching a rebrand.
Mark Garner, chairman, said the firm had invested in a new island stand to go in the main hall.
It will feature the latest boat out of their Brundall yard, an already-sold revamped version of their 395.
Also returning this year is family-run Wroxham Marine, producers of the Sheerline Motorcruiser, who will be on the boardwalk with their 955 aft cock pit motorcruiser on its first London outing.
Gary Applegate said they were hopeful of sales at London after selling two at the show last year and seeing a good summer. However, he added: 'The last month to six weeks has seen everything dry up. People are banking on picking up trade at the London show.'
Another worry is the VAT increase to 20pc – due to kick in just days before the show opens to the general public on Saturday, January 8.
New faces at the show this year are Haines Marine and Hardy Marine, both taking places on the boardwalk. It is the first outing to the London Boat Show since it moved venue from Earl's court for North Walsham-based Hardy, taking its sea-going Commadore 42. The firm is having a good year after selling three boats at the Southampton Boat Show in September, but with a sense of a downward trend in the market the firm is keen to get out and been seen. Like Haines, the firm produces each boat to an individual specification. It makes about eight to 10 a year.
Haines is making another London debut – its 35 offshore, recently nominated for a motorboat magazine award, is due to be announced during the show, on the boardwalk.
It has sold four 35s since being launched earlier this year and has another sale in its sights, says Mary Haine, whose firm has increased marketing this year. 'We are very positive,' said Mrs Haine. 'We have a full factory, one of the few. We've been quite diverse by doing some refurbishments. There are lots of positive inquiries and lots of inquiries from European agents.'
In total, some 500 exhibitors will be at the show, with international launches from the likes of Princess Yachts, Beneteau, Sunseeker International, Mystery Sailing Yachts and Fairline Boats.
A used boats marina will feature up to 70 used boats of all shapes and sizes, there will be a 'watersports action pool' and the new 'knowledge box' where a cast of experts will speak on a vast range of topics.
The boat show runs from January 7 to 16 at Excel in London's Docklands. Visit www.london boatshow.com for more information
See pages 6-7 to read about Oyster Marine's exhibits.
For a full review and more local exhibitors see January's issue of Anglia Afloat.