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Southern Spars

Life is Now ... as the dementia may get ya

by Mark Rothfield on 14 Mar 2013
Who dares wins - Quicksilver’s 645 Cabin looks well suited to Australian conditions Collins Marine
There’s a caravan down the street with signwriting on the back proclaiming ‘Adventure before dementia’. Another, a few houses further along, boasts ‘Recycled Teenagers’.

I smile every time I see them, admiring their boldness and devil-may-care attitude as much as envying their freedom. Spending the kids’ inheritance is now a national sport, and grey nomads have taken to caravanning with such vigour that the industry is (baby) booming.

The marine industry, however, can only be envious too.

When it comes to buying boats, the ‘it’s only money’ philosophy seemingly gets thrown out in the propwash. Cheap is good, cheaper is better.

The first thing that suffers when you cut the price is product development, for there’s little fat in the fixed-price materials and labour costs. Next to go is the risk factor because designers can ill-afford to try something too radical.

We’re left in a musty fug, with inspiration and innovation clamouring for breath. Most boat builders make boats to make money instead of striving to create something mechanically and aesthetically exceptional.

As usual, history may have the answers. Rolls founder Sir Henry Royce, for instance, famously said ‘The quality remains long after the price is forgotten’ and ‘Accept nothing as nearly right or good enough’.

In the 1960s, as fibreglass began taking the boating world by storm, Carlos Riva apparently cried ‘Here in Italy we won’t take a s..t unless the toilet seat is made of wood’. Both stuck to their guns and reached the pinnacle of success.

Courage of conviction is what it’s about. Before buyers will commit the builders must entice them, although there can be no guarantees.


It’s something that Peter Collins from Collins Marine admittedly struggled with when offered the importation rights for Quicksilver Boats, which are manufactured by Belgium-based Brunswick Marine Europe.

To launch a new fibreglass runabout range into an Australian market that’s more inundated than the Bundaberg pub is bold … especially when it shares a similar brand name with a surf apparel company and unrelated inflatable dinghy line.

Collins Marine, however, is now powering ahead under the philosophy 'Life is Now'.

The outboard range cleverly complements the conservative, diesel shaft-drive Arvor boats that Collins handles for the same parent company.

There are 19 different Quicksilver models available here, covering several genres from offshore fishing to contemporary sports-loving family dayboats. European Boat of the Year awards have come thick and fast over the past three years.

Check them out during this year's boat show circuit. Go on ... there's a teenager trying to get out.

Plenty of interesting news this week...

The RYA - the overseeing body for British Powerboating – have provided some simple advice on preventing injury or death from prop-strike which should be of interest to boaters world-wide.


The China Powerboat Grand Prix is set to take place in Sanya, Hainan/China from 28th-30th March with Australia’s Ross Willaton who has received an eleventh-hour call-up to step in for Peter McGrath to partner countryman Darren Nicholson at the season-opener. Willaton will take over throttleman duties and says he has ‘big shoes to fill sitting in his [McGrath’s] cockpit’.

Two of Norway’s most skillful powerboat stars Marit Strømøy and Pål Virik Nilsen have confirmed they will race together for the first time when Class 1 makes its historic racing debut in Sanya in China.


A new website that tracks uncommon fish - thanks to the help of boaters, anglers and divers - is now up and running in Queensland. Redmap, or the Range Extension Database and Mapping project, is a website that invites the community to log on to share their sightings and photos of marine life that are not usually found at their local fishing, diving and swimming spot.

It is widely known as the home of the Golden Slipper, the world’s richest race for two-year-old thoroughbreds, but come this weekend, March 16-17, the famous racecourse plays host to the boating industry. More than 60 of the state’s marine dealers will be on hand to show off their product lines, including all manner of boats, from blue water craft through to canoes and kayaks.

Enjoy the news..

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