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||Southampton Boatshow 2014|
I was amazed at how many RIB suppliers had ‘hung in’ since those recession days of 2008. For the first time for a little while now an air of confidence pervaded the exhibitors as the UK boating industry climbs out of recession. It’s reported that the very first sale of a boat was being made by 10.30am on the opening day. Enquiries for new RIBs was buoyant which means production over the winter months will ensure some new ribsters on the water next year. The knock on effect with ancillary equipment suppliers will be much appreciated too.
A great view of the whole proceedings could be had from the Boat Show Eye in the glorious weather, which kept everyone's spirits sky high. For me the highlights included catching up with Ribcraft, who are now so well established in the consumer market that they are one of the industry bench marks with their product range.
A new Scorpion fitted with a pair of four-stroke V6 Yamaha F225’s was handed over to Sir Ben Ainslie. This prestige RIB set-up will be used by his Team BAR as chase boat and crew support in his British attempt to win the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
It was refreshing to catch up with David Rose who is back on the scene as MD of Ribquest. On show among others was a 10m Ribquest with seating and console, from one of the market leaders in shock mitigation systems, Shockwave, (Sidney Vancouver Island, Canada). The deck covered with a traction and mat product for use underfoot, and for high wear areas procured from Specialist Small Craft. Double transom and powered by twin 300hp Suzuki’s. As they say in North America, awesome..!
The happy smile of David Pougher (the longstanding ex-Yamaha UK main man) greeted me, showing his enthusiasm for one of his latest projects. As the UK agent for Selva David had already made an impact at the show, positioned alongside the Honda stand. With an anticipated presence at the forthcoming London Boat Show (Jan 2015) watch for big things from David.
Recent changes at the top in Suzuki has seen George Cheeseman ( always smiling ) move from motors to head up the sales and marketing of the Marine Division. With Mark Beeley remaining his number two, George will undoubtedly continue the progress made by Garth who has moved on to pastures new within the Suzuki dynasty.
Williams Tenders have moved forward with a much grander beast, bringing these high quality boats into a new arena. Always focused on the high end luxury yacht tender market and with shows to come, including Monaco and Miami, this is a budding contender to give Scorpion a ride for their money.
Piranha RIBs found a great little niche along the main walkway and managed to squeeze one their latest 8.4m cabin RIBs in the allotted space. Local RIB dealer Ed Pedley owner of MDL Marine was in his usual spot along with a selection of his Stingher, Predator and Redbay RIBs. Ed had brought along Neil Holmes, re-known for his many racing titles including seven world championships, and three world speed records, to help any prospective buyer with the finer points when purchasing a RIB. Good move Ed..!
Yamaha turned up with almost a hundred outboard motors on show, on the stand and on many RIB transoms. The Brunswick Corporation lagged behind the innovative Japanese outboards from the likes of Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda. Between them these key players had some two hundred and fifty outboards on show. Yamaha brought along their latest, lightweight, four-cylinder F115B and F175 outboards for their Southampton Boat show debut. Check out their all new Helm Master joystick control system which introduces an amazing new level of control for multi engine outboard powered craft.
Suzuki brought along their new DF200A in an exclusive preview ahead of its official launch later this year. The new DF200A is based on an all-new four cylinder block, which weighs in at just 225kg meaning it's over 12% lighter than their current V6 DF200, offering a host of high specification features, including keyless ignition on the AP model, which will be yet another industry first. A cut-a-way model on the stand was truly remarkable.
Check out a selection of Photo’s from the Show here. Next year’s show dates for your diary are 11 - 20th September 2015.