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National Boat Show 2005 – a great ride

The National Boat Show, held at the Randburg‘s Ticketpro Dome from 26-28 August, has confirmed its position as the Rolls-Royce of boat expos on the African continent.

The show beat last year‘s attendance record, drawing close to 30 000 visitors keen to explore the powerboats, sailboats, jet-skis and kayaks on display. With 220 boats valued at just shy of R100-million under one roof, boating enthusiasts were exposed to the widest range of watersports products on the market.

“Our research shows that the show provided an opportunity for visitors not only to view the newest boats and equipment, but also to compare different products, selecting those most suited to their lifestyle and budget,” says Heidi Warricker, MD of show organiser Biz Events. “At the same time there was a strong demand for more sailing and yachting exhibits in 2006.

“Exhibitors indicated they were more than satisfied with the quality of visitor and pleased with the chance to meet the many serious buyers who attended the event.”

The high standard of the exhibits surpassed the organisers‘ expectations, with the best large stand award going to Suzuki Marine, followed by Honda SA in second place, and Leisure Yachts taking third prize.

The best small stand award went to Popular Mechanics, second was Mac Cat and third was After Market Products. The most innovative stand award was taken by Twin Boats & Trailers, and Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing walked away with the outstanding exhibitor award.

There was a range of craft to entice visitors, from kayaks starting at R4 000 each to the luxurious Rodman 41 Cruiser – the most luxurious 41-ft boat in the country with superb interior and exterior finishes, and a special on-show ‘sale‘ price tag of R4,3-million.

The Sea Ray Sundancer, showed off its roomy redesigned cockpit and sleeping quarters, fashionably styled with luxurious finishes. The cruiser‘s fuel tank holds 900 litres of diesel which, at a cost of around R6 000 per tank, will keep the enthusiast on the water for about 25 hours. There are three engines on board, two for forward and reverse steering, and one for powering the fridge, sound system, oven, microwave and other electrical equipment.

Many locally-manufacturers displayed their craft to local and international visitors. Newly-established Ace Boating, a Durban black economic empowerment company – showcased two new vessels, a deep-sea boat and a family boat.

Monaco Leisure, recently appointed as the official representative for Regal Boats, landed a new Regal 2200 bowriders for the show, while Sea Tribe launched its newest model, a catamaran in a container. Designed by Cape Town naval architect Anton du Toit, the Sea-Tribe 870 – an 8,7-metre transportable catamaran – is the only South African-built yacht of its kind.

Aqua Cat Dinglehopper, the world’s first freshwater and surf launched radio-controlled bait boat met with an enthusiastic reaction. Developed in South Africa, the Aqua Cat Dinglehopper enables anglers to drop bait hundreds of meters into the ocean and put a game fish on the line without leaving the beach.

The National Boat Show supports the National Sea Rescue Institute‘s (NSRI) efforts in raising public awareness around water safety, and the NSRI was present at the show to offer expert tips and advice on how to ensure safety at sea and on inland waters.

Competition opportunities abounded with lucky visitors winning R350 000 in prizes, including a Viking Velocity speedboat powered by a Mariner motor, complete with trailer and accessories, a Hobie Cat and a Polaris Quad bike.