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Messing about in boats: How rich are dealing with post-pandemic blues


If there was to be a show-and-tell of just how the mega-rich have adapted to the past years of pandemic, disaster and disruption, the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show that starts on the Gold Coast on Thursday may well be it.


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The surging superyacht industry and massive growth across the marine sector over the past 24 months has pooled to produce one of the largest and most lavish displays of leisure vessels and world premieres of new luxury craft in the boat show’s 33-year history.

The continued disruption to the ways we holiday, work and live post pandemic has created a colossal boon for luxury marine craft with buyers splashing out on the craft not only as a holiday plaything, but a new place of residence or office space afloat.

Offering the freedom to escape lockdowns, circumnavigate international travel restrictions, avoid crowds, and master the “work remotely” trend, the rise of the superyacht has been one of the striking global trends to emerge from Covid-19.

More than 200 boats will be “on water” at Sanctuary Cove for boat lovers and buyers, with an additional 400 vessels on display across the precinct from luxury superyachts to full-throttle powerboats and watercraft.

The global yacht market, which was valued at $12.2 billion in 2021, is expected to grow annually by 5.4 per cent between 2022 to 2030, latest industry projections show.

Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show General Manager Johan Hasser said increased demand for boat ownership in Australia meant the motor yacht category continued to make waves with outstanding sales.

Queensland buyers were joining the multimillion-dollar global trend, snagging superyachts or luxury craft and sailing them close to home or around the Pacific, turning the state into a global superyacht hub, he said.

Superyachts, which are generally defined as a boat more than 24 metres in length, were also heading to Australia from around the world, with the lion’s share of the in-bound flotilla arriving in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns.

Gold Coast-based luxury motorised yacht manufacturer Maritimo said it was debuting three new models as part of a fleet of six vessels on water at the Sanctuary Cove boat showcase.

Lead Designer Tom Barry-Cotter said the exclusive global launch at Sanctuary Cove followed the boat building giant already being positioned to experience 20 per cent annual growth year-on-year over the next three years, with orders for new motor yachts already sold out beyond mid-2024.

Princess Yachts Australia Dealer Principal Greg Haines said the luxury British brand had experienced a recent rush of sales, with more stock rolling in over the next 24 months. Princess Yachts would premiere its upgraded, award-winning F Class 55 Flybridge yacht this weekend, he said.

Florida-based Leopard Catamarans Australasia Sales Manager Peter Devers said the company would use the Sanctuary Cove event to launch its most powerful, new, next-generation yacht, the L53 Power Catamaran.

Premium luxury motor yacht builder Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst said the company was bringing its largest Australian showcase to Sanctuary Cove, led by the premiere of the flagship 78 Motor Yacht and 4600 Platinum Edition Sport Yacht.

“We look forward to welcoming boating enthusiasts aboard the very best motor yachts Riviera has created, including the magnificent 78Motor Yacht, which represents a new class in luxury family cruising, entertaining and bluewater passage-making,” Longhurst said.



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