by Bob Wonders
With the Darling Harbour Exhibition and Convention Centre being demolished, the 2014 Sydney International Boat Show, set for July 31 to August 4, will present markedly different from the traditional exhibition enjoyed each year by thousands of visitors.
Sydney International Boat Show - this year in two locations
The 2014 show will operate from two locations, with the always spectacular floating marina remaining on the placid waters of Cockle Bay and the many displays that were normally housed in the exhibition centre set for a purpose-built facility at Glebe Island.
Is this likely to have a detrimental effect on the largest recreational boating exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere?
Potential exhibitors do not believe so, with many stating bluntly that they are keenly looking forward to the show with high expectations.
More than 200 businesses are expected to be on the two sites displaying the latest and greatest on offer from Australia’s boating industry.
Award-winning Italian builder Absoloute Yachts set for Australian launch at Sydney. - Sydney Boat Show
Mr Domenic Genua, Marketing and Event Manager for the show’s owner/organiser the Boating Industry Association of NSW, also remains confident the show will deliver its usual extravaganza of entertainment and nautical education.
'The two locations will be linked throughout the show by a combination of shuttle buses and ferry services,' he explained.
'I’m sure show visitors, and there could be anything upwards of 70,000, will see this as a case of two shows for the price of one with a free harbour cruise thrown in,' he added.
While the show is undoubtedly an entertaining day out, many show visitors probably don’t realise that for exhibitors plenty of hard work is involved.
In effect, it amounts to a company establishing and staffing a complete branch office!
For some exhibitors, the 2014 show will be somewhat challenging with teams at two locations.
Prominent Rose Bay dealership, Premier Marine, is one of several staging displays at both locations.
Superb Italian-made Zar inflatable making its Australian debut at Sydney International Boat Show. - Sydney Boat Show
Ms Lee Poulson, the dealership’s Brand Manager, said the group would display the popular US-built Regal runabouts at Glebe Island, together with the Australian launch of a superb range of Italian-built inflatables by Zar Fontini.
'We will also unveil another first for the Australian market at Darling Harbour with the award-winning Absolute Yachts with two stunning flying bridge models form the Italian builder,' she said.
'The Cockle Bay display will also feature a strong display from the legendary Chris-Craft plant and we’re particularly excited to have joining us the President of Chris-Craft Mr Steve Heese,' she added.
Major marine electronics house Raymarine is another to feature displays at both locations.
Mr Ben Bowley, Managing Director of Raymarine Asia, said the Cockle Bay display would concentrate on the company’s large, on-water boat technology, including the all-new gS195.
'Our focus at Glebe Island will centre on a new series range, only released recently and boasting easy-to-read six' and twelve' screens designed primarily for the trailer boat market' he added.
Neil Webster, from Sirocco Marine, distributor of the world-famous BRIG inflatable boats, will man both locations 'by bringing our people in from all states across Australia.'
Sirocco Marine's Neil Webster, ready to go for Sydney 2014. - Sydney Boat Show
Sirocco Marine will show two of its larger craft at the Cockle Bay Marina, the BRIG 7.8-metre Eagle 780 and the 6.5-metre BRIG Eagle 650.
'At Glebe Island we will stage a 400 square metre display showing the full range of BRIG inflatable boats, a selected range of Williams Jet Tenders and our unique amphibian Sealegs,' he said.
BRIG stands as the largest-selling breed of RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) in Australia and offers an astonishing range comprising 27 different models in a multiple selection of colours.
'I would also like to point out that our display at Glebe Island is among the top four exhibitors in terms of display area and we will be joined at the show by the Directors of BRIG,' he added.
Pacific Boating, a major player in the ‘time share’ boating schemes, will also be found at both locations.
General Manager Mr David Trimble said the company would display three of its available vessels at the Cockle Bay Marina, 29’, 37’ and 44’ sports cruisers from the famous US builder Sea Ray.
'The 29’ is the newest addition to our fleet and brings the number of craft available to 13,' Mr Trimble said.
'We will also host a display within the hall ay Glebe Island similar to that which we had at the Trailer Boat Show at Olympic Park earlier this year,' he added.
If confidence displayed by exhibitors is any guide, the 2014 Sydney International Boat Show seems destined for success.
Despite the split location, the show remains a fabulous day out for the family; all the attractions at Harbourside, Darling Harbour, remain as usual with numerous restaurants, bars and the opportunity to 'shop up a storm.'
Show organisers recommend visitors travelling by car use Darling Harbour as the 'front door' to the show where more than 7000 parking spaces are available, all within a few minutes walk of the entrance.
'Parking is limited at Glebe Island, so Darling Harbour is definitely the way to go,' Mr Genua said.
'However, for those travelling by public transport, nothing could be easier with the vast rail network, numerous bus services, light rail and ferries all offering easy access.
'Free buses will operate between Central Station and Glebe Island and the free ferry shuttles will operate non-stop between Glebe Island and Darling Harbour,' he added.
Those arriving by train who wish to attend Darling Harbour first, can leave the train at Town Hall and stroll downhill in a few minutes to the venue.
The show will trade daily from 10am to 8pm at Glebe Island and from 10am to 6pm at the Cockle Bay Marina.
For further information and the opportunity to purchase tickets on-line visit the show’s website.