by Bob Wonders
As has been well documented, the 2013 Sydney International Boat Show (August 1-5) will celebrate its 25th and final exhibition at what has become its ancestral home since 1989, the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour.
Sydney International Boat Show 2011
The site will undergo a fabulous Billion Dollar redevelopment through 2014, ’15, and ’16, with the show returning fully to the site in 2017.
For those three-years, the indoors component of the nation’s largest recreational boating exhibition will be on show at a specially built interim facility at Glebe Island. It will be known as the Sydney Exhibition Centre. The facility will be accessible by road or ferry and will be located under the Anzac Bridge.
However, the always spectacular component of the Sydney International Boat Show, the specially built floating marina on Cockle Bay, remains the 'home port' for the on-water displays.
However this year and as usual, the 2013 exhibition is a virtual sell-out as more than 300 exhibitors gather to show off their goods and services to what is always an adoring public.
The halls of Darling Harbour will be packed with millions of dollars worth of boats, engines, electronics, and general boating equipment and associated accessories.
A sure fire attraction for the many visitors, and there could be anywhere from 70,000 to more than 80,000 of them, will be the MyBoatingLife.com.au Entertainment Precinct.
Owner/organiser of the Sydney International Boat Show, the Boating Industry Association of NSW, has always paid heed to extensive customer feedback and this has revealed that show visitors seek entertainment and education.
An imposing array of guest speakers has been confirmed for the MyBoatingLife stage.
Prominent among the speakers is well-known local skipper Sean Langman who, with his teenage son Pete and five of their mates have written their names into the record books with an astonishing world sailing speed record over the punishing route from Sydney to Hobart.
Sailing as Team Australia in their sleek multihull, the crew in February endured a wet and wild ‘rollercoaster ride’ down the coast and across Bass Strait in less than 30 hours.
Their time bettered the race record set by Sydney-Hobart legend ‘Wild Oats XI’ by more than 12-hours!
Although proudly a ‘local boy’, Sean Langman is a respected yachtsman on the international scene; he has competed in 22 Sydney-Hobart classics and achieved numerous successes in the flying 18-foot skiff and 49er classes. When he’s not racing, Sean operates the Noakes Group, which he founded in 2006 and operates Rosman Ferries, a historic fleet of five beautifully restored, federation-style vessels.
He also owns the historic Kermandie Hotel and marina on Tasmania’s picturesque Huon River.
Show visitors will be thoroughly entertained to hear Sean’s amazing story involving the triumph of Team Australia and its record breaking run.
Another guest speaker certainly has a tale to tell; Katrina Ham, a Brisbane girl who has had a passion for sailing since high school, is working hard to qualify for the 2013 Mini Transat, already viewed as one of the world’s toughest races.
Set to begin in October, the Mini Transat involves 84 sailors racing tiny 21’ (6.4-metre) yachts across the Atlantic Ocean, from Douarnenez, France, to Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean.
Their only stop over is scheduled for the Canary Islands.
These yachts are devoid of luxuries; no toilet, no galley, no bunk and class rules forbid the use of computers and GPS, with all communication done via VHF.
No one could ever accuse Katrina of lacking passion for the sport; she has done everything within her power to be involved, including moving around the world in a never ending hunt for sailing opportunities.
After studying sports management on the Queensland Gold Coast, Katrina took her first international adventure in Mexico after which she moved to Sydney to further her quest for competitive sailing.
In 2010 she again headed overseas in search of more opportunities and worked on several teams in various race classes, determined to find a way to become involved with the professional solo ocean racing, Classe Mini.
In what could only be termed a massive ‘leap of faith; Katrina moved to France despite speaking no French and having no sponsors and no job!
Nevertheless, she managed to campaign her own boat, AUS785 and is now working hard towards qualifying for the 2013 Mini Transat.
A true international flavour arrives at the MyBoatingLife stage in the person of Ecuador’s Elyse Guevara-Rattray, daughter of Luis Anibal Guevara who in 1973 was one of 12 men on an historic 13, 067 kilometre journey across the vast Pacific Ocean on balsa log rafts!
The rafts were each 14.02-metres (46’) in length and 5.48-metres (18’) wide.
Each consisted of nine massive balsa logs secured with wooden pegs and handmade sisal rope, no wire, screws or metal used.
Just 178 days after leaving Ecuador, the rafts arrived in Ballina, on the far northern NSW coast after what remains the world’s longest journey undertaken on a raft.
Elyse is both proud and passionate of her Fathers’ achievement and her tales of the amazing voyage will be well worth listening to.
Nick Martin is another with quite a story sure to fascinate those fortunate enough to be in the audience when this young man speaks.
It seems young Aussie sailors thrive on adventure and Nick certainly qualifies there.
As Event Manager for the World Cruising Club, Nick Martin will be giving visitors an amusing round up of recent adventures undertaken by Aussies abroad.
Whether you wish to hear just how much fun can be had afloat or if you just want to pick Nick’s brain and find out how to sail off into the big blue on your own boat, here’s the man and a talk not to be missed.
In ‘another Nick’, this time Nick Black, it could well be said he boasted the ‘gift of the gab’.
Nick was able to convince his employer that taking a year off would be beneficial to his work environment.
So began the voyage of ‘Charm Offensive’, the 13.41-metre (44’) Hanse 445 yacht owned and skippered by Nick Black.
Nick’s plan is to Sail from Greifswald, Germany, home of Hanse Yachts, across the Atlantic and the South Pacific and back to Sydney in one year.
He had the courage to write a letter stating how beneficial to the professional work environment it would be to experience a journey where he was in sole charge of a yacht and how the skills learnt would benefit him in the workplace.
His argument was that he would learn psychology under pressure, leadership, stress management, financial and project planning and engineering solutions.
Nick is due to arrive in Sydney only weeks prior to the show and he will have a wonderful story to tell.
The Sydney International Boat Show will trade each day 10am to 8pm in the halls and 10am to 6pm on the Cockle Bay Marina.
To complement the MyBoatingLife stage, all the other attractions will be on hand, from daily Musto fashion parades to the boat building competition, cooking demonstrations to angling experts on stage and the grand final of the Berkley Evinrude Fishing Series, it’s all happening.
Admission charges comprise $20 (single adult), $47 (family ticket admitting two adults and up to three children aged 6-17, $14.50 (Pensioners), $18 (Seniors), $44 (Three day VIP Pass) and $5 for admission after 5pm daily.
For further information visit the show’s informative website, www.sydneyboatshow.com.au, join the FaceBook page or follow the show on Twitter.
Keep tabs on the show, its activities and plan your visit accordingly via the website, www.sydneyboatshow.com.au
or through Twitter @SydneyBoatShow
or Facebook at www.facebook.com/SydneyBoatShow