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One hell of a year! - Australian newsletter

by Peter Rendle 30 Dec 2020 13:00 PST
A spectacular Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race start © Daniel Forster / Rolex

As we approach New Year's Eve and a New Year, a reflection on this last 12 months can be summarised as tough and tougher. The unprecedented measures to curb a previously unknown virus has led to widespread closure of businesses, especially in hospitality and tourism.

The boating industry remains relatively unscathed, albeit boat show cancellations and events, culminating in the cancellation of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for the first time since the inaugural race in 1945. However, boat sales have mainly stayed buoyant as people look for ways of legally escaping the lockdowns and the ocean has provided a welcome escape.

Based in Sydney, where we have escaped the worst of the lockdowns, I will not regret the end of 2020 and hope that with the implementation of mass immunisation in 2021 we can look forward to a much more inclusive and mobile year. Let's hope the worst is over.

We continue to update the industry news. Already plans are being made to stage boat shows and the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) is pleased to advise that their host venue for the Melbourne International Boat Show, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, has granted an extension to the booking deadline which they have passed on to Exhibitors. This follows what has been an incredibly challenging year, an amazing industry rebound, and a current period where exhibitors and dealers are grappling to keep up with demand, contemplate stock issues, and figure out a 2021 boat show plan. They are pleased therefore to extend the deadline for Exhibitor bookings to Wednesday 10 February. Their planning will be greatly aided by earlier bookings, so those that are ready please don't delay. The BIAV office re-opens on 4 January so that all enquiries can be addressed.

Another event set to return next year, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) is proud to announce that MacGlide has continued its partnership with RGYC, set to present the 178th Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race on Sunday, 24 January 2021. MacGlide, by Mactac, is a world leading biocide-free fouling release film manufacturer who first partnered with the Festival of Sails in 2020. While the 2021 Festival of Sails has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19, the Organising Committee has resolved to maintain the tradition of the iconic Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race and provide sailors the opportunity to get out on the water over the Australia Day long weekend.

A new era begins in 2021 at Australia's Laser dinghy class builder Performance Sailcraft. Performance Sailcraft Australia has appointed Ian Douglas as General Manager after the departure of long time GM Chris Caldecoat earlier this year. Growth in demand for PSA products more than doubled last year following the decision by the ILCA to rename the 'Laser' and open the world market to the Australian boat builder. PSA has been investing in increased manufacturing capacity and resources to service growing world demand for their product. The appointment of Ian Douglas provides an exciting opportunity for the growth of the business.

Meanwhile in the Superyacht market, after an exhaustive search for the world's leading superyacht businesses, a 15,000 strong network of crew and captains have voted Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM) as Australasia's leading superyacht marina in ACrew's inaugural Superyacht Business Awards. The voting was based on the marina that provided the best standard of services and facilities to superyacht captains and crew as well as a willingness to assist superyacht guests; ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay. "We are humbled and proud to be recognised by this award. We share it with all of our on-site tenants and partners. It is truly a team effort," stated GCCM's CEO, Mr Trenton Gay.

New boats revealed recently include the latest from Fleming Yachts based in Sydney. The goal was to design and build literally the finest possible ocean-going pilothouse motor yacht, in every respect. From the renowned naval architects of Norman R Wrights and Sons and the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to fine tune the hull design to ensure it is absolutely the most efficient and most beautiful semi-displacement hull on the water. It's not often that Fleming unveils a new model. The Fleming 55, for example, was first introduced in 1986, and while it has undergone hundreds of changes since then, it still remains a popular choice today for our customers. Fleming believes in making adjustments to our design when a need is identified, without consistently changing our models year after year. We believe this benefits our owners in many ways, including the re-sale value of their vessel.

Approaching the end of 2021, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all readers of our digital news sites that include Sail-World, Powerboat.World, FishingBoating-World and MarineBusinessWorld. Have a great New Year, stay safe and let's look forward to 2021 with renewed optimism.

Peter Rendle

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