Norfolk’s marine firms head to Southampton Boat Show
- Credit: onEdition
The region's marine firms are travelling to the south coast this week for their biggest domestic showcase of the year - buoyed by evidence of rising production.
The 47th Southampton Boat Show opens to an international audience on Friday with the industry in optimistic mood following a report by industry body British Marine pointing to a 4.3pc increase in the production of UK leisure craft last year with manufacturers building more than 10,000 boats.
Staff from Brundall based Broom Boats were yesterday assembling their biggest ever stands at the show, showcasing their marine services as well as three new boats, a Broom 395, a 370 and a 35 coupe.
Managing director Mark Garner said: 'We are hopeful of selling at least a couple of boats at the event and would expect to clinch four or five sales from the leads and inquiries we get there.
'We see the event as three or four times more important than the London show in terms of the throughput and quality of its visitors.
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'There is a truly international audience and it is a nice day out with lots to do; exhibiting the boats on the water is an interesting dynamic.'
He said a good 2014 had turned into a buoyant 2015 for Broom and they were having to catch up on production having sold all their new boats and demonstrators.
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In response to an improving market they would be scaling up production, adding a fifth build crew later this year and a sixth in the spring.
Mr Garner said their sales prospects would be further boosted by a new deal with Tingdene Boat Sales that would see their boats marketed on the river Thames and Severn.
Staff from Haines Marine of Catfield arrived in Southampton having only packed their stand at the Amsterdam Boat Show days before.
Improving export sales had prompted the Broads firm to exhibit in Holland - showcasing its latest twin engine 360 model - for the first time in its 35 year history.
Director Justin Haines said: 'Never has Haines Marine had so much exposure of our products along with such a great opportunity to reach new markets.
'The Southampton Boat Show comes towards the end of most people's boating season and at a time when people may begin to think about a change. Therefore the autumn months typically are the best in terms of sales.
'We have never been better represented at the Southampton show with two brand new craft displayed by our agents Norfolk
'Our new 400 model is our most exclusive and the fastest craft we have ever built; unsurprisingly it also comes with the biggest price tag at £415,000. We are also displaying our popular 32 Offshore model.'
Windboat Hardy, which builds luxury yachts in Wroxham and motor boats in North Walsham, is displaying a £240,000 Hardy 32DS motor cruiser and a Gunfleet 43 ocean going sailing yacht, priced at about £600,000.
Sales manager Robin Campbell said: 'We have had strong interest in the Gunfleet and we know a number of people are coming to Southampton to see our Hardy 32DS.'
He said the boat, which has two sleeping cabins, was a new, revamped version of their Hardy 32.
Oyster Yachts, which has an expanding production centre at Hoveton, will be welcoming show visitors to view its luxury Oyster 575.
CEO David Tydeman will be hoping for strong new sales leads after seeing a slight slowdown in 2015, citing the euro and pre-election lull as factors.
He said: 'It has been a good production year - we handed over 11 boats in April and May - but that is the result of orders placed in 2013 and 2014. So far this year we have contracted £24m in orders and that is slightly lower than last year.'
The Southampton show is billed as Europe's largest festival of boating with thousands of visitors and more than 100 new craft making their debut.
Murray Ellis, British Marine Boat Shows' managing director, said: 'This year's Southampton Boat Show further upholds its declaration as Europe's biggest boating festival by providing more free opportunities than ever before for visitors to get out on the water. Whether dinghy sailing, trying out a yacht, power boating or taking a ride on a RIB, we want to get all the family active and exploring the world of boating and watersports.'