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Realigning boat shows in Asia

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 29 May 2018 09:10 UTC
Gael Burlot (left), Andy Treadwell (centre), and Olivier Burlot: Getting into bed together © Verventia.com

The Singapore Yacht Show and the Thailand Yacht Show (Andy Treadwell, Verventia) have teamed up with Asia RendezVous (Gael and Olivier Burlot) to run just one boat/superyacht/luxury goods and lifestyle show in Singapore and Phuket. You know it makes sense.

First there was Boat Asia, and then the Singapore Yacht Show came along and knocked that off its perch. At the same time there was PIMEX, run out of the rather constricting Royal Phuket Marina, which was challenged by the no-size-constraints Thailand Yacht Show. The latter is also funded with plenty of Government dollars, has the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and forms part of the “let’s make Thailand the boating capital of Asia” policy, in part by relaxing charter regulations across the board in order to encourage the superyachts to arrive in droves (or fleets) and inject even more cash into the Thai economy.

Next came the Singapore RendezVous, which was luxury goods with a few boats on the side, and then the second Singapore RV which was reported to have an attendance problem – but we don’t actually know, because we were part of it (we didn’t go). And then the Phuket RendezVous had a very good round of sparking up PIMEX, just the once.

And all the time the boating industry has been saying, “Can we have just one show in each place, and do it properly?” In the first place the market just isn’t big enough to justify two shows in each location. Second, an upmarket boat show (we are not talking tinnies and tackle here) definitely benefits from a good weighty luxury goods sector, and third, a luxury goods show goes down well alongside a boat show.

So, while one industry observer wrote, “In a move that has surprised the industry…” most of us were not surprised at all. It was only a matter of time and good business sense. Now all we need is a decent boat show in Hong Kong.

After a great deal of heart-searching, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has decided to bin its biennial 480nm San Fernando Race, the odd-year alternate to the Rolex China Sea Race. It was always touted as marginally less serious race, the “fun in the sun” event, and ostensibly aimed more at cruisers than racers – but there was plenty of serious racing to be had. This will be replaced by a 650nm race to Puerto Galera, a lovely destination if there ever was one. ‘PG’ is a listed member of the ‘Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club’, and boasts the Puerto Galera Yacht Club which ought to be listed as one of the most laid-back sailing establishments on the planet.

A recent survey among RHKYC members indicated that 650nm is the preferred distance for an offshore race, and PG is just – wait for it – 650nm from Hong Kong. Added to the fact that practically every boat afloat is a bit quicker through the water than those that pioneered the San Fernando event in 1977, and this sounds like a win-win decision. Puerto Galera is also a good starting point for anyone interested in cruising the islands around Busuanga and on down towards Palawan. Quite beautiful. Count me in.

Shenzhen Bay Marina recently ran its 5th ‘International’ boat show. Well, yes, there were boats there from overseas, but it always seems that the smaller the show (or event) the grander the title. Shenzhen Bay Marina has aspirations to being southern China’s Sanctuary Cove, which is substantially outside the reach of my imagination, but hey, who knows?

Are you fed up with requests to verify something to do with GDPR? To opt in or opt out? Happily, you won’t be getting anything like that from Sail-World Asia as GDPR is a wholly EU-based thing. We are located in Hong Kong, and you are somewhere else in Asia. We’ll just keep sending the sailing news as we receive (or write) it.

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