Norfolk and Suffolk boatbuilders head to Excel London

Show launch for Haines' latest cruiser

Boatbuilders and marine suppliers from across the region will be taking their stands at ExCel London tomorrow for one of the industry's biggest showcases.

The Tullett Prebon London Boat Show is seen as a major opportunity not only to sell products but to expose brands to the guaranteed international audience of visitors at the event which runs from Saturday until January 20.

Brundall-based Broom Boats will be giving a UK show debut to its luxurious £400,000 Broom 395, a sea-going four-berth cruiser, and will also be displaying its entry level Broom 30 and Broom 35 coupes, starting at under £130,000.

Marketing manager Louise Busby said: 'We have been to every London boat show since the first one at Olympia. It is very important for us to be there and to be seen as a major player in the marine industry.'

She said their boats were very much customised to owners' specifications so sales on the stand were less likely than inquiries followed up by visits to the factory or dealers at a later date.

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Ms Busby said there had already been a good response to their Broom 30 and Broom 35 models which were launched at Southampton in September.

'They are designed for people to be able to get involved in Broom boating at a more affordable level,' she said.

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Broom will be sharing a stand with its local dealer, Norfolk Boat Sales, which is viewing the show with optimism having bucked the economic downturn and recorded sales of more than £1m during the month of November.

Recent sales successes by the dealer, which has outlets in Brundall, Wroxham and Lowestoft, include a Broom 395 bought by a customer in Burnham on Crouch, in Essex, and a Broom 370 ordered from the London area to be based on the Thames.

Sales director Matthew Stone said: 'We knew it would be hard work this year selling luxury cruisers in the middle of a recession but this gives us a massive springboard going into the new year.'

Haines Marine, based in Catfield, near Great Yarmouth, will be giving a major show debut to its 32 Sedan motor cruiser which has proved a huge success, with orders already placed for six boats since its launch at Lowestoft in early September.

A standard four-berth version of the £140,000 boat will be displayed, but the design of a new six-berth layout will be marketed at the show.

Managing director Justin Haines said: 'The last three years has seen both investment and growth in the company, with a very strong order book with many orders for both export and the UK market.

'This means Haines can go to London with the confidence of further sales, and the easy access to City airport means the show attracts a good many overseas visitors.'

He said their confidence going into the new year meant they would shortly be looking to add to their 23-strong workforce with a new joiner, boat builder and engineer.

Other local firms looking to boost their order books at the show include Wroxham-based Jeckells and Son, which deals with upholstery and covermaking on boats, and Seaglaze Marine Windows, on the Rackheath industrial estate, near Norwich, which will be displaying such industry leading products as its hidden frame technology for boat windows.

Exhibitors from Suffolk will include luxury sailboat manufacturer Oyster Yachts, from Ipswich, and Anglia Yacht Brokerage from Bury St Edmunds.

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