All aboard the show (boat)
Back to the boat show, and the world of… well, boats. Here’s the final news from the event, which closed at the weekend with a very mega yacht purchase.
March 6, 2011 2:56 by Samuel Potter
Kipp doesn’t know about you, but whenever someone mentions boats our first thought is of those large pedal swans you get at theme parks, which romantic couples hire so they can spend an age going in a small circle while making themselves sweat profusely, until a dodgy looking geezer called Brian calls them in ten minutes before their time is up.
Well, there aren’t any over-sized plastic swans at Dubai’s International Boat Show, at least not that we have seen. Although that does raise visions of a 50m long superswan anchoring just off the Palm. That would be brilliant.
Sadly, Kipp’s wishing doesn’t make it so, so we ‘made do’ with the second largest superyacht in the world, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s ‘Dubai’. It’s an incredible sight, and makes almost any boat compared to it seem pretty insignificant. So we’ll assume the new owner of the 40m Sunseeker superyacht, sold at the boat show over the weekend, will be keeping his new purchase well away from the Dubai to avoid unforgiving comparisons. Which is a shame, when you’ve shelled out a considerable AED 100 million.
According to Arabian Business, Sunseeker is one of the Dubai International Boat Show’s most prestigious brands and one of the five largest exhibitors at this year’s event. Arif Oomer, director, Sunseeker Middle East said: “The Dubai International Boat Show is without doubt the Middle East’s flagship show for the boating community, and for exhibitors there is no better business platform. Next year, for the 20th anniversary of the show, Sunseeker will have an extremely strong line-up of superyachts and we know that this is the event to present them to our target audience.” Presumably in between sips of sparkling grape juice.
If you can’t afford a 40m Sunseeker of your very own, fear not, there are other ways to get around on the water, and they were also a major feature of the show. Take, for instance, the RTA’s new ferry. On a visit to the show, Sheikh Mohammed officially launched Ferry Dubai, the latest water transport initiative. The 32-metre-long ferry, which can travel at a maximum speed of 24 knots/hour, can carry 100 passengers and is fitted with modern entertainment facilities. In its first stage it’ll serve Jumeirah beach and the coastline stretching along Jumeirah beach, up to the Dubai Marina. Two ferries will begin the service, with a further eight planned. It may not have the style of the Sunseeker, but we can’t help thinking it’ll be ever so slightly more affordable.
Finally, there’s more good news coming from a marine directlion. The National reports that many large marina projects, which were planned pre-crisis and later shelved, are now getting the go ahead. Investors see a demand for these types of developments from Middle Easterners who currently have to keep their yachts in Europe. But can it work after all plans were put on hold?
“The difference in the developments [this time round] is that there’s a lot more emphasis and priority on feasibility studies, on market evaluation, construction costs,” says Michael Horrigan, the chief executive of Mourjan Marinas IGY, based in Dubai. “People like having an apartment near their boat. They like the retail mall, restaurants. That [demand] is still there. Even in Dubai, I honestly believe we will see a return to that energy level that existed in 2008 because it wasn’t a failure in that model; it was a series of financing complexities.”
Kipp certainly likes the idea – we would love an apartment by the marina. Sadly, he’s also right about the financial complexities, though, which is why we currently keep our boat next to the soap.