by Jeni Bone
Sanctuary Cove boat show was 'overwhelmingly successful' for Duffy Downunder, the Gold Coast-based Australian dealer for the Duffy electric boat range.
Duffy Boats Cr Dawn Crichlow, Gordon Kerr, Tevis Westgate, Eleia Kerr and Nitsa Kerr during the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.
Gordon and Nitsa Kerr, whose dealership is idyllically situated at Mariners Cove, Main Beach on the Gold Coast, were thrilled with the response to their boats.
'We had four boats at the show, and were right next to Maritimo, which was great,' says Gordon. 'People would go from the multi-million dollar vessels to us – more of a reality for most people.'
Gordon operated a sea trial area, taking around 40 groups out on the electric boats. 'Demand was much better than we thought,' he says. 'There was no end to request for sea trials over the four days.'
The company reports one firm sale and anticipation of around six more in the next few weeks.
Gordon describes the 'typical Duffy buyer' as 'anybody'. 'There’s no demographic! One client is in his late 70s, then there are families, groups of friends – anybody.'
The boats are 18ft in length and come in two models: the Snug Harbour Executive priced at $44,000, complete with cherry wood interior, and the Duffy Classic at around $38,500.
Their virtues are their quiet running, 8-hour batteries, zero emissions, no oil, no petrol and low maintenance. 'You really only have to antifoul once a year, they are trailerable and weigh around 1200kg, and their motors are ‘plug and play’, which means, should anything go wrong, you can pop them out, send them to Duffy for repair and then pop them back in.'
The unique feature of the patented design 'power rudder' adds to ease of operation. As Gordon explains: 'The prop is directly connected to the rudder, which gives you a better turning range. When you’re docking , it acts as a bow thrusters, allowing you to manoeuvre the boat in with ease.'
There is plenty of space for day trips, as well as room to retro fit beds for overnight.
Comfort is also a priority and the boats come with Jensen quadraphonic stereo system, iPod set up, CD, infloor and mood lighting, a refrigerator, and options for a loo, sink, barbeque and more.
'We are retro fitting a boat now with benches that turn in to beds. The boats are very spacious and you can certainly sleep overnight. The clears are such quality, they are very sturdy and like glass.'
The history of Duffy electric boats stretches back 40 years, to southern California, when founder Marshall Duffield built his first electric boat, at age 19.
'Duffy really is the pioneer in electric boats. They are perfectly suited to the Gold Coast and Australian lifestyle, particularly in this era of eco-consciousness. We have had people clap when we cruise past, they are so impressed that there’s no sound, no smell.'
Duffy Downunder also rent their boats, a market which is proving very strong.
More at www.duffydownunder.com.au