One for the records

The Gold Coast turned on perfect weather for this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, resulting in a superb edition from 25 to 28 May that was marked by enthusiastic crowds, innovative products and sales records across all segments.

Written by Jeni Bone

01 June 2023


Under the bluest of autumn skies, over 300 exhibitors presented their latest vessels and products to the 47,345 visitors who flocked to the 2023 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show for its wide array of products and unique atmosphere.

This year there were thousands of marine and aquatic lifestyle products, 740 vessels and 100 Australian, Asia-Pacific and world launches.

“The feedback from exhibitors and visitors is extraordinary, and the exceptional growth of the event supports that,” said SCIBS General Manager, Johan Hasser.

“SCIBS is recognised by the industry as a must-attend event on the international boat show calendar, providing an unparalleled opportunity to market and sell products while showcasing the boating lifestyle.”

Pantaenius Australia was a returning exhibitor in 2023, with two stands at the show – one in the Pavilion and one in the Marine Village, with 10 team members on hand to discuss vessel insurance with boaties and prospective owners.


Jamie MacPhail, Managing Director at Pantaenius, said they wrote and quoted a record number of policies over the four days, with many more to come in the following weeks as boat deals go through.

“SCIBS was very interesting this year,” he said. “We saw that the top end – the $2-million-plus – is very strong, as strong as last year with no sign of slowing down. He added, “We wrote quotes on over $200 million, which is huge. Even with the long production times, which is the reality.”

With Pantaenius’s unique insight into buying habits, MacPhail observed an increase in Australians buying big cats and sailing yachts in Europe.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in big-value vessels – the $1-million-plus models from X-Yachts, Hanse, Beneteau and Fountaine Pajot from Europe. This year so far, we’ve seen an increase in the space of over 30 percent.”

Another trend post-COVID restrictions is the steady flow of Aussies buying superyachts and motor yachts in Europe and keeping them overseas, mostly in the Mediterranean.

“In fact, 25 percent of our business is insurance on Aussie and Kiwi-owned vessels located outside Australia or New Zealand. Many of those owners brought their boats back here during COVID,” he said.

In the smaller craft segment, MacPhail has noticed a reduction – “not huge or dramatic, but a noticeable slowdown, perhaps due to the mortgage and cost-of-living pinch,” he surmised. “But on the whole, the industry is strong. Our exporters are sending boats and products overseas and production is booked out for the next couple of years.”

Michaela Claes, Operations Manager at Pantaenius Australia, who is also on the board of AIMEX-Superyacht Australia, was pivotal in the introduction of the AIMEX Garden at this year’s show, together with Aqualuma’s Carl Amor. “It was a great idea and overwhelmingly appreciated and supported by AIMEX-Superyacht Australia members,” said MacPhail.

Pantaenius Australia also sponsored the Upper Deck, a lounge space above the marina that welcomed partners and exhibitors who bought tickets. “It was busy, but there’s room to improve and extend it to more people, such as media, and promote it more so exhibitors can get on board,” said MacPhail.

Adding an international flavour to SCIBS 2023 were various brands from the UK, Brazil, Italy, France, Taiwan, China and the US. Brands such as Baglietto, Highfield Boats, Zodiac, Highfield Boats, OKEAN, Princess Yachts and Dometic all sent representatives and praised the idyllic location and diverse display of vessels and equipment.

One of the largest displays was from Horizon Yacht Australia – with 14 vessels on show worth $150 million, it was the largest-ever global showcase of Horizon motor yachts.

The team from Horizon sold a new model Horizon E88 Sports Yacht to a fifth-time Horizon owner, as well as an FD90 built to AMSA 2 C survey and a custom FD80 Fisher cockpit. According to Managing Director Mark Western, they’re confident of several orders in the coming weeks.

“We hosted the official launch of the V74 on Saturday night, which attracted a lot of interest – this model will compete with local and imported brands of that size and compares exceptionally well for its volume, features and level of customisation.”

As Western explained, “This was the first time the Horizon factory team of founder John Lu and Business Development Manager Joey Lu have visited since 2019, so it was a great opportunity for owners to meet them and for them to see Horizon Australia at our home show.”

Maritimo, proudly made on the Gold Coast, was celebrating the global launch of its flagship model, the S75 Sedan Motor Yacht. Taking pride of place at the front of the stand, the flagship was flanked by five current Maritimo models.

“The show has been a huge success with the global launch of the S75 commencing our 20th-anniversary celebrations,” commented Maritimo Managing Director Tom Barry-Cotter. “We welcomed many thousands of guests over the four days, including overseas visitors.

“Existing Maritimo owners, those with vessels already ordered and many future owners all wanted to see the S75 and our other models up close – the energy was amazing! We consider SCIBS  our hero show as it’s so close to where our vessels are produced.”

With an 11-model showcase worth over $30 million, Riviera welcomed owners and guests from around Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas.

Riviera’s largest line-up to date included select models from 39 to 78 feet across the Sports Motor Yacht, SUV, Sport Yacht and Motor Yacht collections, and featured the world premiere of the 585 SUV, as well as the announcement of a new 58 Sports Motor Yacht.

Running concurrently with the boat show, the exclusive Riviera Festival of Boating for owners was exceptional, with fully subscribed seminars and social events including educational workshops, the Women of Riviera Luncheon, the Galley Master’s Lunch with celebrity chef Sally Jenyns, and the stunning Grand Table Candlelight Dinners held over three consecutive nights along the entire length of the Riviera display.

Stephen Milne, Riviera’s Brand and Communications Director, said it was a tremendous show for Riviera.

“It has been wonderful to host Riviera’s Festival of Boating with our extensive boating education program for over 300 Riviera owners and, of course, our exclusive signature events.

“Our Grand Table Candlelight Dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – for 180 people each night – were elegant and wonderful evenings and a highlight of the showcase this year. The 2023 show certainly created a memorable opportunity to bring the Riviera family together,” Milne said.

Mark Elkington, Managing Director at Multihull Solutions and The Yacht Sales Co. said the show was “a resounding success for our companies with visitor numbers exceeding expectations.

“It was wonderful to welcome dozens of owners  currently waiting on the arrival of their new yachts, and the entire team felt this was the best show we’ve experienced since 2018,” said Elkington.

“Appointments to inspect our Fountaine Pajot sailing catamarans and motor yachts were in very high demand with strong sales in progression across the range.

“Buyer feedback revealed the Fountaine Pajot Aura 51 was considered the stand-out sailing catamaran at the show, while the shipyard’s MY4S was also extremely popular.

“The Absolute Yachts 47 Fly was a real head-turner and enjoyed huge interest, which is a great result for the first time it has ever been displayed at SCIBS.”

In the sailing segment, Elkington said Dufour Yachts also received a lot of attention from the yachties with several orders on various models expected to be finalised following sea trials in the coming weeks.

“Our ILIAD Catamarans team was inundated during the show as the new ILIAD 53S commanded attention and a number of orders were taken across the range.

“We also had an extensive range of pre-owned brokerage boats listed for sale during the event, with many going under contract at our Gold Coast Sales Centre at The Boat Works during the show.”

Representing the sailing cat segment, Leopard was on show with a 45 receiving its share of interest from sailing enthusiasts. David Flynn, Australasian Sales Manager for Leopard Catamarans said he was ecstatic with the turn-out, the response, leads and the weather.

“We had four days of beautiful autumn weather, which certainly brought out the crowds and the buyers. Leopard has a great following with sailors. We have three orders settling after the show, and plenty of other boats on order, and we’re hopeful of some sales from SCIBS.”

On show on the marina from Windcraft was the award-winning, big-volume, luxury family cruiser, the Hanse 460, proving to be the German brand’s most popular model ever with more than 250 orders.

Making its Australian boat show debut, the 460 is Hanse’s first yacht designed by the French yacht designers Berret-Racoupeau and combines a striking new look with maximum innovation while retaining the core DNA of Hanse yachts – fast cruising, easy sailing and exceptional build quality.

Globally, the response has been overwhelming, with more than 250 units sold in the first year of production and the title of 2022 European Yacht of the Year.

Windcraft Yachts has seen a similar market response selling 15 of the new model in the first 12 months and strong demand for more is expected as the first models arrive in the country.

Windcraft Yachts Managing Director Anthony Bishop said he and his team were thrilled with the response to the Hanse 460 at SCIBS. “The boat on show was a client’s yacht and the first 460 into Australia.

“We have 12 more on their way, so the first available for delivery is in March 2024, then two more in the following months. Order time is usually one year on a Hanse, but there’s so much demand for this model, production time is slightly longer.”

Making its Australian debut at SCIBS 2023, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380, designed by Marc Lombard, is inspired by race boats with all the creature comforts for comfortable cruising. Lee Condell, Performance Boating Sales Director, said there was fantastic interest in the new model.

“It was the only monohull in the 30 to 45-foot bracket, so people were very keen to inspect it. We had a queue along the marina on Saturday. They were impressed with the walkaround decks, which are quite novel on a vessel this size.”

As Condell reported, this model has been sold into every state in Australia, sight unseen. “We have 380s being delivered to every state, three here and another four on the way.

“Priced from $473,000, the Sun Odyssey offers a lot more boat in a monohull, which people are seeing as good value. We feel it will attract people back to monohull sailing with more volume in cabins and more usable deck space.”

The Lagoon 46 cruising cat was exhibited by TMG Yachts. At 13.99 metres and with a 7.96-metre beam, the Lagoon 46 is a high-performance and seaworthy catamaran, designed for short-handed, comfortable sailing with its elegant lines, unrivalled brightness and generous, interconnected spaces.

Designed for relaxing, bluewater sailing with its large modular sunbeds and quality equipment, the Lagoon 46 boasts a comprehensive galley interconnected with the cockpit that makes entertaining friends and family a breeze.

As Rowan McMahon from TMG explained, “Our Lagoon 46 only just made it in time and we’re very glad it did! For this size boat, the volume and price point are second to none, and the quality of finish impressed everybody – the Lagoon fit and finishes are a deciding factor in people choosing the brand.

“The Lagoon brand attracted a lot of people from all over Australia – quite a few from Western Australia,” he continued. “We sold a Lagoon 42 and a Lagoon 46, and attracted a lot of strong interest in the new 51. We have a deposit on a 51, pending inspecting the boat at the factory in France. For us, it was a great show!”

The HH50-SC carbon-fibre catamaran made its Australian debut at SCIBS 2023. The new HH50 catamaran Synergy was open for inspection. Built entirely from epoxy resin-infused carbon fibre, it was designed as a highly efficient performance cruising catamaran for ocean sailing.

Brent Vaughan, Director Multihull Central, said they were “totally overwhelmed with interest in the HH50″ and saw approximately 200 appointments during the show, resulting in four orders being placed across the HH range.

“SCIBS was the Australian launch of HH, being the first time at a boat show, and confirms the brand’s future in this market. We have been representing HH for just over 12 months and are now their major dealer internationally.

“Before the show, we had 10 boats ordered for Australian and New Zealand customers but that order list is growing quickly, proving our market recognises the value of quality finishes and high performance. We’re looking forward to showcasing the high-tech HH44 at next year’s boat shows in Australia.”

Global pioneer in the RIB category, the Zodiac Nautic Group sent Sales Director Gabriele Ferlazzo to Australia to experience SCIBS 2023 with distributor Sirocco Marine.

This is the first time Zodiac RIBs have appeared in such numbers at an Australian boat show – there were a total of 20 Zodiac RIBS on show from 3 to 9 metres, including the Australian launch of the all-new Medline 9.

“The best thing about this boat show is the location and the weather. It was just beautiful,” said Ferlazzo, who’s based in Italy. “In winter there, nobody is thinking about boating and enjoying the water! Sanctuary Cove is so beautiful and everybody is excited to think about holidays and pleasure, so they are more excited to embrace the products.”

Ferlazzo said there was a lot of interest in the bigger boats in the Zodiac Medline range. “People are interested in the larger models, the 6.8 and the new 9-metre model that the Sirocco team has sold – which is great news!”

Highfield Boats Australia welcomed CEO Julian Carussi from the factory to spend four days at SCIBS meeting owners, brand ambassadors and visitors and outlining the brand values and model characteristics to marine media.

Among what was Highfield’s largest display at SCIBS – spanning 200 square metres on the Promenade, the ideal position for foot traffic – the RIB brand launched the all-new Sport 660, a 6.6-metre offshore-capable RIB, and presented the impressive Patrol 660, named Shorehawk by its owner, adventure and vlogger, Nick Fry.

“We were very pleased with our representation at the show, with 12 boats spanning the range and lots of sales on each model, plus dozens of leads to follow up,” he said.

“SCIBS is a world-class show,” Carussi observed. “Many people came from interstate and New Zealand, and we’re proud to say we’ll be sending more Highfields around the country and over the Tasman.”

Sealegs, represented by Super Marine, hosted the Australian premiere of the 9-metre model, as well as showing the 10.5 and 8.5 Sealegs. “I’ve never seen so many clients at a show,” commented Michael Rigby, Australian Sales Manager for the New Zealand-made amphibious boat brand.

“We saw customers and contacts who flew in from China, Sydney, New Zealand and Western Australia. There has been a lot of interest in the new 3.8-metre tender. It was a very successful show and we’re confident of sales post-show.”

The team from Alexander Marine Australia hosted owners, VIPs and guests at their stand and aboard the sensational Ocean Alexander 28E BIG SHOT, which is running as a syndicate – a concept that proved very popular during the show.

Greg Haines, Dealer Principal at Princess Australia said he is over the moon with the results of this year’s show. “We had more people through than ever before on the Thursday – it was the busiest I’ve experienced it in 34 years of exhibiting at SCIBS.”

From the four-day show, Haines and his team reported “some of the best quality leads of any boat show we’ve attended. We’re finding there’s a lot of interest in boats above 65 feet,” he added.

“We held the Southern Hemisphere launch of the Y72 at this year’s show, which was really well received. Everybody said it’s next-level in terms of craftsmanship and all the details – and that’s from our competitors! Most importantly, we have five or six people interested in purchasing the Y72.”

Princess Australia hosted a massive owners’ event on Friday night, a 20s-themed evening with dancers and a chanteuse flown up from Sydney for the occasion. Joining Haines and his team were Princess COO Will Green and Adam Essex, Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific. “They all thought it was epic,” said Haines.

After more than a decade of sales success in the US and Europe, and numerous awards including the 2020 World Yacht Trophies Cannes for the most avant-garde yacht, OKEAN celebrated its Australian launch at SCIBS 2023.

Luis Henrique Ferreira from OKEAN in Brazil flew in on day two of SCIBS for the debut of the OKEAN 52 Flybridge. Impressed by the atmosphere and the depth and breadth of vessels on water, Ike – as he’s known – cured his jetlag with a rousing display of samba, capoeira and Brazilian food to celebrate the brand’s launch Down Under with dealer Nautical Imports from Victoria, who sent the OKEAN 52 Flybridge up to SCIBS in the week prior to the event.

“OKEAN is the result of Brazilian imagination, Italian design and German engineering – you have the best of all worlds in one vessel,” said Dealer Chris Zois. “People were amazed by the space on board, the quality of the finish and the 360-degree views from the saloon.”

Sunseeker Australia East Coast Dealer Principal Brad Rodgers said visitor traffic throughout the four days was “steady and good quality. We exhibited the new Sunseeker Manhattan 55 and we’re very happy with the feedback. We have plenty of prospects and good leads so it’s positive all round.”

John Hogan, CEO at Superior Jetties, one of the foundation exhibitors since the first Sanctuary Cove boat show in 1989, was thrilled with the weather and the quality of visitors the sunshine brought out.

“People are very positive, they’re buying boats and enquiring about pontoons and other options for storing them. We’re very pleased with the level of enquiry,” he said.

In the Stella Marine Pavilions, naming rights sponsor Stella was joined by electronics brands Raymarine, Navico, Garmin, Fusion and Dometic, plus marine furniture, decking, lifestyle products, anchors, winches, apparel and accessories.

“It was a good show overall. We’re still in the follow-up stage but we can tell from the leads and enquiries it was a good show,” said Stella Director Gary Cooper.

“There was a great reception to the launch of our new step lifter, the hydraulic swim platform with steps included. These are custom designed and built on the Gold Coast for each and every boat and feedback was very positive. So, we’re going through the design process with a few owners now.”

SCIBS was a great success for Raymarine and FLIR, according to Raymarine General Manager Damien Weber. “There was particularly strong interest from the premium motor yacht market in stabilised FLIR Thermal Cameras, the new Raymarine Axiom 2 XL MFDs and Raymarine YachtSense™ digital control,” he reported. “The capability of YachtSense to offer superior on and off-boat control and monitoring was viewed especially favourably.

“In terms of refit work, Raymarine Service Dealers who worked the show with us picked up a good quantity of jobs that will be scheduled in the coming weeks and months. We’ll be back in 2024!”

For the first time since it was established in August 2022, Navico Group’s portfolio of brands was on display at one stand, with the next generation of products from Lowrance, Simrad, Fathom and allied brands RELiON Battery, Mastervolt and CZone.

Quality Marine Clothing took its usual space in the Pavilion, with seven staff and brands including Musto, Dubarry, Gil, Code Zero and the relaunch of SLAM, plus the Australian debut of Revo polarised sunglasses.

Director Duncan Curnow said that while his business usually benefits from inclement weather – and last year was incredible for sales of wet weather gear and warm jackets – this year’s sunshine still brought customers and made the show worthwhile.

“More than half the reason we attend SCIBS is the B2B networking and to see clients,” he said. “It’s always a great show and we’ve already booked accommodation for next year’s!”

This was Andrew Chapman’s first SCIBS in the role of Chief Operating Officer at Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard. The long-time marina industry proponent has attended SCIBS for over a decade, and this year he was front and centre in the GCCM stand, welcoming existing and future clients to discuss lifting and servicing of their vessels.

“We are B2B and B2C,” Chapman explained. “We welcomed owners and captains, and were pleased with the uptake from our partners at GCCM who joined us on the stand. We have more than 90 tenants on site and they were very active during the boat show.

“SCIBS was very successful for us this year. A lot of people came to our stand to see the live cross with Xavier Doer, who is undertaking the Little Aussie Lap. We hosted the live video cross to him in the middle of the Indian Ocean via Starlink.

“It was great to hear from owners and industry,’ he added. “What was evident was their positive sentiment for the next 12 months.”

In the PWC and trailerboat segment, JSW Powersports Director Jeff McNiven said he believes SCIBS 2023 would have to be “one of the best ever. There was a great vibe around the entire precinct and the sunshine brought out the quality visitors,” he said.

The JSW showcase included brands such as Sea-Doo Watercraft, Sea-Doo Switch, Sea Fox Boats, Malibu and Axis Boats, Seabob, Fliteboard and Can-Am Off-Road.

“We’ve been exhibiting for 12 years as JSW, and we’re the world’s biggest selling Sea-Doo dealer – 11 years in a row!” he said. “We hosted the Asia-Pacific launch of the new Sea-Doo Switch and held on-water sea trials that were very popular.

“We sold 10 of the new Sea-Doo Switch at the show, and many more to come, as well as 21 boats and more than 45 SeaDoos, plus plenty of Seabobs and Fliteboards. We look forward to selling more over the next weeks and months.”

SCIBS 2023 marked the 11th year of sponsorship by major partner Bentley Brisbane & Gold Coast, and the prestige marque had a significant presence at the show in its Bentley Suite on Marina Boulevard and a superb Bentley Continental GT in a prominent position on the Promenade. Group Marketing Manager Rebecca Henry said the luxury marque was delighted to continue their ongoing partnership with this luxury marina lifestyle event.

“The atmosphere at SCIBS this year was electric,” she said. “Our engagement and attendance from our Bentley owners were at an all-time high this year. In the suite, the Continental GTC Speed and the all-new Flying Spur Hybrid were the centre of attention and enquiry continued to build for the Bentley Mulliner commissioning program.”

Wrapping up the show for another year, Boat Show Manager Johan Hasser said the enthusiasm from exhibitors for the show was the driving force behind the ongoing investment in Sanctuary Cove by parent company Mulpha Australia, including the recent expansion of the marina to include an additional 28 berths and the upcoming development of another superyacht arm by early 2024.

“The show is very much a collaboration between everyone involved –  us, our sponsors and partners and exhibitors,” he said. “We’re passionate about ensuring an exceptional visitor experience and the best platform for exhibitors to showcase their products to an engaged audience.

“It’s proven to be a very successful strategy, with this year being our biggest and best in our 34-year history.”

The 35th Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show will be held from 23 to 26 May in 2024.



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