Show has something for all

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 April, 1994, 12:00am

IT does not matter if you are a boat buff or not, you are bound to appreciate the range of boats on display at the Gold Coast Boat Show this weekend.

At least 45 new boats will be displayed by 28 exhibitors, representing a large part of the marine leisure industry.

''Modern yachts are becoming larger, more luxurious and are packed with the latest in sophisticated electronics,'' said Gold Coast marina manager Neil Brooke.

Traditionally, Italian yachts, such as those made by Azimut, have always been the most sought-after luxury craft. Among those on show today range from 18 feet to 150 feet, their prices from $100,000 to $30 million.

Ronnie Orr, the Gold Coast general manager, said the Italians still had the edge when it came to quality and interior design but Taiwanese-made boats - the other big sellers in Hong Kong - were improving in quality.

Big sellers from Taiwan include Horizon and Vitech. Many Taiwanese companies are now using Italian designers to improve their designs.

Rising labour costs have meant that Taiwanese boats have become more expensive but Italian boats are still twice the price of Taiwanese.

A regular 60-foot Taiwanese-built boat costs about $6 million to $7 million but a similar Italian boat costs between $15 million and $20 million.

British boats, such as the Princess range, also sell well here, but American boats have not penetrated the market, despite being good quality. Their speedboats, though, such as those made by Bayliner are popular. They range in price from between $80,000 to $1 million.

The star exhibit this weekend is the 147-foot Bengal-1 luxury yacht from Japan, owned by Masakazu Kobayashi, founder, chairman and sponsor of the Japanese marine sports team, the Bengal Bay Club.

Cougar Catamaran ferry boats from Australia will also be on display.

The new 27.2-metre high-speed catamaran ferry has already been bought by a Shanghai passenger ferry operator.

Cougar Cats have combined fibreglass hulls with aluminum superstructures to keep costs low. The fibreglass hulls also require less maintenance than aluminum hulls.

Asia Yachts, based in Marina Cove, Sai Kung, is the agent for Princess powerboats from Britain. The company will be exhibiting the Princess 366, a 39-foot, open sports boat, and a new design, the Princess 470, a 50-foot flybridge (which means it has two helm positions and a large room at deck level) mother yacht.

The 470 has a new super yacht finish, complete with burr maple and lacquered woodwork.

China Pacific Marine, will be displaying a Silverton 41-foot Motoryacht from the United States, a 31 Sedan Cruiser, a Larson 18 speedboat and a Kawasaki Jet Ski.

Mesco - the Hong Kong agent for Akhir mega-yachts from Italy and Horizon and Tania cruisers from Taiwan - is exhibiting a 58-foot Horizon vessel.

Ocean Alexander HK markets the Taiwan-made Ocean Alexander powerboats. The company will be displaying two of its most popular boats: the 56-foot Sedan the the 52-foot Pilothouse.

Outboard Marine Corporation Asia is regional headquarters for the Johnson and Evinrude outboards.

Its production boats include 40-foot cruisers, such as the Four Winns craft, which will be on display.

Seanergy is the Hong Kong agent for Tecnomarine and Gold Island powerboats.

The company will be exhibiting two brokerage yachts: a spacious Johnson 55 built in Taiwan in 1991; and a Formula 35 built in 1988.

Formula fittings include air-conditioning and microwave ovens.

South China Marine will be exhibiting a Carver 320, which can accommodate six people and has an open saloon, command bridge and large cookpit with storage for water sports equipment.

Vitech Marine Hong Kong Service Centre offers Taiwanese-built boats. Vitech produces 12 models ranging from 52 feet to 90 feet. The 72-foot motoryacht and the 47-foot sundeck are at the show.