Properties, Tech & Motoring

Sydney Hosts Southern Hemisphere’s Largest Boat Show

To be held from August 1-5, the Sydney International Boat Show has enormous in-water and indoor displays, and is the largest yacht show in the southern hemisphere.

Jul 23, 2019 | By Bruce Maxwell

The Sydney International Boat Show (August 1-5) is a little larger than Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in Queensland in May and is held in Darling Harbour overlooked by CBD office highrises. These two events are by far the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

The show features about 200 boats in-water at Cockle Bay Marina in Sydney’s Darling Harbour

About 200 boats are shown in-water at Cockle Bay Marina and another 800 craft and an incredible range of marine accessories are housed in the adjacent, recently upgraded International Convention Centre.

Although timed in mid-winter as opposed to Sanctuary Cove’s balmy sub-tropical venue further north, the upcoming show is set in beautiful Sydney Harbour in Australia’s most populous city, and residents have buying power to match.

Strangely the big superyacht yards of Europe and America have never had a presence here, although Australia probably has more superyacht owners and crew per capita than anywhere else in Asia-Pacific, bolstered by expats in Asia and elsewhere. Amels, Feadship and Benetti are among builders that have made substantial sales Down Under in the last two decades.

Instead, Australian production builders and Taiwanese and lately a few Chinese yards rule the roost at the Sydney International Boat Show, which is more focused on the sub-30m range. About 60,000 visitors regularly attend, 10,000 more than Sanctuary Cove’s single resort land access, plus helicopter and river boating arrivals.

The adjacent International Convention Centre in Sydney houses another 800 craft and an incredible range of marine accessories

Both Australia and New Zealand have significantly higher numbers of sailboats than in Asia, where motor yachts reach a dominant 9:1 ratio, so this is definitely the place for adherents of wind power. Most individual and production brands worldwide are represented, and visitor-buyers can literally sail off to Asia’s exotic seas and straits or the South Seas with their purchases.

Domenic Genua, the experienced General Manager of Events and Marketing for the Boating Industry Association that runs the Sydney International Boat Show, says “recreational boating lifestyle, plus all the gear you need for a great experience on the water, are showcased here”.

Ever innovative, he last year introduced an Events Deck on the top floor of the exhibition centre, which will now feature an enormous 35m boating safety pool, with its own DJ island providing music, and a 7m tall lighthouse.

The pool is devoted to demonstrating aquatic products such as kayaks, paddle and peddle boards, and there are great attractions for children. Adults keeping an eye on their offspring can sip a cold chardonnay and perhaps try a tapas plate of lobster, prawns, green-lipped muscles or Balmain bugs.

Fishing experts discuss in-depth tackle and techniques, and the show probably has the greatest range of marine electronics currently available. Famous water speed record holders and solo ocean rowers also take part. If planning a trip to Sydney, including the boat show period can provide a really interesting experience.

The original article appears in Yacht Style Issue 48. Email [email protected] for print subscription enquiries or subscribe to the Magzter version at:


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