18th China (Shanghai) International Boat Show

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


It will take some time for the dust to settle and for organizers, exhibitors and visitors alike to decide whether the show was a success or otherwise.

As far as visitor numbers are concerned it should come as no surprise if, pre-show, numbers were expected to be down on last year with two primary reasons to expect this drop but the pundits who thought this would be the case were clearly wrong.

By a peculiar coincidence the Shanghai Formula One Grand Prix fell on the same weekend this year and with a bright sunny day on both the Saturday and Sunday, long queues could be seen on the highways heading to the circuit so a natural source of visitors for both events was split between the two.

Secondly and with a deeper seated impact in visitors to Shanghai in general is the current worry of Bird Flu, particularly in the part of the country that has Shanghai at its heart.

However, in spite of the competition and the health concerns, both of which took visitor numbers away, CIBS 2013 saw an increase of 10% in visitor numbers to just under thirty five thousand, 34,822 from 51 countries to be precise visiting around 500 exhibitors.

It would also appear from exit surveys that more visitors were better prepared prior to coming to the show indicating more serious visitors rather than just people lost for something to do.

So once again the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show matched or exceeded the growth rates being experienced by the country as a whole, healthy in anyone’s calculation.

Too early yet for a correlation of business transacted, feedback from exhibitors ranged from that of those finding it interesting what was happening here in China through to some dealers not just finding interest in one boat but in cases fleets of boats with particular interest in smaller boats perhaps signaling a market shifting towards not just the very rich to the middle classes who are also being tempted to get on the water.

A wealthy city with (clearly) thousands of interested citizens, more exhibitors by far than any other show in Asia increasing the opportunities for potential owners to compare, a vast covered airy exhibiting space – why would you want to go anywhere else?

‘Sailing for Kids’ Charity Regatta supported by China (Shanghai) International Boat Show

I am not sure which is the more important number from the Charity Regatta – 23 boats on the water competing, 3 races sailed or the 1,200 dictionaries that will shortly be in the hands of the less fortunate kids in rural valleys in China. Actually that’s not really true – the sailors had fun, the organisers felt good by helping those less fortunate then themselves but the difference to those children who will receive those dictionaries is almost incalculable.

If just one ends up in a life position they might not have otherwise achieved due to the increased learning opportunities then it was worth not just the efforts of the day but 10 times that or more.

The 5th China (Shanghai) International Boat Show Charity Regatta was held on Dianshan Lake at the Shanghai Yacht Club & Resort (SYC&R) with Shanghai Boat & Yacht Club (SBYC) providing rescue cover.

Conditions could not have been better for either the sailors or the gathered spectators with 8-10 knots of breeze and clear sunny blue skies leading to exciting sailing. Too exciting for one or two teams who ended up with a short swim but SBYC’s rescue cover was on hand to make sure things didn’t get too serious.

The race management was provided by Team 4 Dragons (T4D) both on the water and correlating the results after the racing with the monohulls won by Uli & Lucia Biller in an RS Vision while the multihull class was won by Jonathan Kingdon crewed by Nicholas Poynder on a Taipan Catamaran.

At the end of day prizegiving the charity providing the dictionaries thanked all concerned for their efforts and gave a short report on the difference last uyear’s regatta had made to the kids.

A wonderful of inter-discipline cooperation by SYC&R, SBYC, CIBS and T4D where no thought was given to anyone’s ultimate benefit other than that of  over 1,000 under-privileged kids who will soon have brand new dictionaries that none of us might ever meet.

ASIAN MARINE & BOATING AWARDS 2013

The 4th running of the Asian Marine & Boating Awards attended by the genuinely great and the good of Chinese business community along with leading lights of the international marine Industry took place on the first evening of the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show at the Intercontinental Expo Hotel in Pudong, Shanghai 

The evening hosted by Alistair Skinner and Lillian Lee saw the winners in the sixteen categories well received by the gathered guests.

 The evening was the culmination of a process that stated with nominations for each category from boating media in Asia and followed by a robust and independent voting procedure with more than 70 local mainstream media organizations.  You gathered here  will be the first to discover the winners in each category.

Starting where many boaters start, with the small boats with the first category being, appropriately Best Dayboat, Sportboat or dinghy with the nominees being Ten, J-80, soto 27, Platu 25 and the RS Sailing Range. The category was won by not one boat but rather a complete range. The winner was the RS Sailing range which has “introduced more to sailing in recent years than any other type of boat having provided many thousands of people with their first introduction to sailing or actually owning a boat in Europe and are now bringing their expertise and range to Asia.” 

Increasing the size somewhat was the category for sailing yachts under 45 feet.

The nominees were the Dehler 38, the Dufour 36 Performance, the Hanse 415, the new Hunter 40 and the Chinese built Ker 40.

The category was won by the Hanse 415, a “modern, yet slightly retro-styled yacht’ from a builder that has truly re-invented themselves in recent years.

The other side of 45 feet saw nominations including the British Southerly 47, the Danish Xp-50, from France the Jeanneau Sun Odessey 469 and the German Bavaria Vision 46.

Topping off the list were catamarans from two of the world’s best known cat builders, the Nautitech 542 and Catana 59.

The Philipe Briand designed Jeanneau Sun Odessey 469 won the category proving that “style and performance can indeed go together”.

Next up were the motor yachts starting with those under 40 feet were there was an international field of nominees with a strong European presence. However the British  Princess V39, German Bavaria Sport 39 and the Italian Cranchi Endurance 30 were upstaged by the Americans with the The Regal 35 Sport Coupe manufactured by what is still a family owned and run company taking away the prize.

In the next size range from 40 to 75 feet, again no one country dominated with the Ferretti 690, Monte Carlo 65, the Sunseeker Portofino 40, the Fairline Squadron 42, from the Pestige 620S and Sunreef 70 power cat

It could be said that the Monte Carlo 65 is built under a combined Mediterranean influence. “From the bottom of her keel to the fop of her carbon fibre T-top this Italian operated yet French owned yard has produced a fine looking boat yet with her top speed of 30 knots she isn’t just for show.”

On to the big boys, Motor yachts over 75 with Sunseeker obviously impressing the judges producing two nominees the 28M and the 40m. making up the nominee list were the Ferretti 124 Custom Line and IAG’s 100 foot Electra.

Despite 2 Sunseekers in the mix (perhaps they split the Sunseeker vote) the Ferretti Custom Line 124 took the award with  a top speed of 27kts and sleek enough to be a patrol boat but with an interior no admiral ever enjoyed.

The penultimate boat category for Best Sports Boat shows with its number of nominations the popularity of this type of boat.

Running through them all there are the Chris Craft Corsair 32, the Quicksilver Activ 705, the Bayliner 642, the XO 240 RS, the Windy Kharma 26, the Riva Iseo and the Regal 2300RX

In spite of the large list of competitors it was the Chris Craft Corsair 32, a new model but “enough signature elements to still be readily recognised as a Chris Craft which is a name that is almost as old as leisure boating itself. The company, named after its founder started building boats full time over an incredible 135 years ago so more than just a little experience built up over the years. “

The final category was the relative specialist category of Sports Fishing Boat

The nominees in this category are the Rodman 1250 Fisher Pro, the Barracuda 7, the Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless, the Bertram 57 and the Oceania 22C.

A varied list of candidates but te Boston Whaler carried off the category but the unsinkability and safety this brings impressed the judges with the company still sawing the odd boat in half to demonstrate their claim.

Having awarded trophies for individual baots the judges turned their attention to Best Brand Penetration in Asia.

As international a group of nominees as you could imagine with Sunseeker from the UK, the Chinese company, SeaStella, Feadship from Holland, Nautor Swan of Finland,  From the United States, Brunswick Corporation and finally Jeanneau of France and with three individual nominees across the categories it came as no surprise when Sunseeker were announced winners.

Lots of pretty boats up to this point but what about those who draws them – The yacht Designer of the year had nominations for Bill Dixon who is well known in China, Phillipe Briand who across the years has designed everything from quarter tonners to superyachts, Mark Mills who has drawn some of the fastest sailing boats around, Axis Design from the powerboat world and Jason Ker, the man of the moment in the yacht racing world but up against some illustrious competition Axis Design won the award with an impressive client portfolio which includes the likes of Azimut, Perini Navi, Couach and SanLorenzo.

There are so many ways to judge the top regatta. China Cup has growth over the years to be the biggest yacht regatta in Asia, King's Cup has a long history and great parties, the Neptune Regatta to the Equator and back has perhaps the widest net to attract entries from both sailboats and powerboats, the Round Hainan Regatta a brave attempt to bring long distance racing to China, the Top of the Gulf Regatta with the largest number of competing boats of all shapes and sizes and the China Club Challenge Match which has grown into the largest keelboat regatta for Chinese sailing clubs.

But after many years of being nominated, the winner China Cup International Regatta which had just over 90 entries in the latest edition carried the day.

To be the Asian Boating Capital of the Year requires many qualities. Facilities, activities, participants and many other factors

The nominees in this category are as follows; Sanya, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket.

The winner, is Hong Kong is so popular amongst the water users, never mind the judges that all her marinas are virtually full. Waters already crowded by commerce are joined each weekend by 100’s of leisure users.

No other category runs the risk of hurting someone’s feelings like this one, the Asian Boating Personality of the Year.

The nominees here include Xu Lijia who won China’s first sailing Gold Medal in a boat rather than on a board, Frank Pong a long time supporter of the growth of sailing in China and owner of more boats than some country’s navies and Russ Parker who since its inception has been Principal Race Officer of the China Cup and finally Chinese long distance sailor, Guo Chuan.

“I first met the winner some years ago in Qingdao on a cruising Hunter sailboat. He went on to become the first Chinese crew member on a Volvo 70 race boat around the world, race single handed across the Atlantic Ocean and just 6 days ago sailed back into Qingdao having spent 138 days at sea to become China’s first solo non-stop around the world sailor breaking the class record for that type of boat as well. “

In the category for Asian Yacht Cub of the Year there were nominations for Shanghai Yacht Club helping to develop small boat sailing here in the city, Royal Varuna Yacht Club responsible to amongst other things Asias most numerous regatta and Ironrock YC who have nurtured the China Club Challenge Match from a 2 team head to head in beat up old boats to one of China’s must do events with a number of the key members still finding time to sail around the world together in the past year and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

“Sometime, just as in football you find your opponent is Manchester united or Barcelona so in sailing you find yourself up against a club with a 100 year plus history, more members than almost any other club in the world, 3 sailing bases and  regattas renowned the word over. To beat them in this category is never going to be easy. “

There are 4 nominations in the category for the Most Eco-Friendly marine Business, Hansheng Yachts for their solar Cruiser, Axis Design/Kingship for their Green Voyager), Fountaine Pajot’s hybrid power catamarans and Torqueedo, manufacturers of a range of electric outboards, a category that was won by Hansheng Yachts for their new and novel use of solar power on a cruiser  currently floating on a city lake in Xiamen.

The final award, in some ways looks to the future, that for the Most Innovative Marine Company.

Garmin were up for their recent launch of a GPS watch which amazingly also has the ability to provide remote control for some of the yacht’s functions.

Spinlock’s Deckvest got a nomination for its comfort making personal safety more sufferable, Hangsheng Yachts received a second nomination for their solar yacht while Yamaha was nominated or their helm-master Outboard Control System and it was that system that allows joystick control for multiple outboard engine boats to be controlled by a computer aided joystick that picked up the final award of the evening

Final comments from the Judges Panel Chairman, Alistair Skinner once again highlighted the involved process that produced the final results on the evening, awards that had to be nominated, pondered over and voted for and correlated, winners AND nominees that  “deserved to be the category listings and were there on merit and not because they placed their advertising in a particular direction” and the deserving eventual winners, won against, in some cases, pretty stiff competition.

Hardly will these awards be put away wnd the whole process will start all over again.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 April 2013 )