THOUSANDS of visitors headed to Scotland’s Boat Show as HRH The Princess Royal opened the 30th anniversary event held at Kip Marina over the weekend of the 14th, 15th and 16th of October.
Princess Anne, who was greeted by Kip managing director, Gavin McDonagh, praised Scotland’s Boat Show and Kip Marina, saying: “Kip reflects a huge growth in leisure boating activities in Scotland and opening it up as you do through the Boat Show to encourage even more to take to the water is enormous encouragement to everybody else.
“So, thank you for all the work you’ve done to attracting more and more people to understand the pleasures of sailing in Scotland.”
During the opening ceremony, The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion, after which she spent nearly two hours touring the show and viewing first hand some of the more than 120 boats on display, touring the exhibitions, enjoying the on-water demonstrations including a particular interest in the wheelchair-accessible Wheely Boat and meeting exhibitors and visitors to the show.
The Princess Royal and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, are keen seafarers and own a yacht, which is based in Scotland and, at the end of her visit, she was presented with a pair of sailing jackets by Inverkip Primary School pupils, Morgan Barnes and Cameryn Foley.
Scotland’s Boat Show is recognised as the largest brokerage (pre-owned) show in the UK and during the three-day event more than 350 visitors took the chance to get on the water themselves via the RYA Scotland hosted free taster sessions in dinghy sailing, yacht cruising, motor cruising, RIB driving and accessible boating which proved extremely popular despite the challenging autumnal weather.
James Allan, of RYA Scotland, explained: “The success of the Get Afloat experience has been really key for the event and it has been absolutely the perfect stage to bring so many people into the environment of boating and try going on the water in a variety of boats.
“That facilitated the partnership between Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, the sportscotland National Centre Cumbrae, You & Sea and the Ocean Youth Trust, without whom we couldn’t have provided such experiences.”
For the buyer boats of all shapes and sizes were available to view and experience for everyone from the most experienced sailor to the complete novice including new boats from led Hanse catching the eye and the UK unveiling of the stunning environment-friendly Greenline 36 Hybrid Motor Yacht which with its wonderful lines and spacious accommodation is sure to be a hit in Scottish waters.
There was an unrivalled selection of 120 brokerage boats on offer from Michael Schmidt & Partner whose team were operating at full pace from the moment the show opened, taking care of nearly 650 viewings and reporting an increase in interest of over 20 per cent from last year’s record numbers.
There was even a sale of a boat to Finland which was completed via video link, prompting MS&P manager, Roseanne Sweeney, to say: “Without question, this has been the best show yet and, with over 80 per cent of our boats coming from outside Kip this proves that Scotland’s Boat Show is the place to be to buy or sell in Scotland.”
For boating and non-boating visitors alike, there were plenty of attractions to experience in and around the four pavilions at SBS16 including the RYA Scotland pavilion which hosted many of the marine trade and the RYA Scotland stage, in partnership with Practical Boat Owner, which hosted a series of ‘Ask the Expert’ talks covering topics ranging from technical advice on weather or materials to how to sail across the Atlantic.
New for 2016 was the ‘Get On The Water’ pavilion supported by EventScotland and water sports, with experts on hand to help and offer advice on how to get involved in sailing, powerboats, RIBs, jet skis, paddleboards, canoes or even to try the model boats on the indoor pool!
Stuart Turner, head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted that 2016 has been another successful year for Scotland’s Boat Show, showcasing the very best of Scotland’s sailing and boating heritage.
“Scotland is the prefect stage for cultural events and this year’s fantastic programme of on-water taster sessions, displays, talks and watersports ensured that locals and visitors, travelling from far and wide, experienced a memorable weekend.”
On shore, visitors enjoyed more than 40 designer, art and craft stalls in the extended Clyde Life pavilion while next door the new West College Scotland Food & Drink pavilion was a huge success as TV celebrity chef, Nick Nairn, had audiences enthralled with a series of entertaining cookery demonstrations ably assisted by the hospitality students of West College Scotland.
Jim McAllister, head of Hospitality, Tourism and Languages, commented: “West College Scotland was delighted to be part of this successful event which provided our students from across the college with a range of real workplace experiences which included supporting live cookery demonstrations, audience research, information stewarding and demonstration marshalling.
“These roles gave our students the chance to develop customer-facing and communication skills. I’m sure the students will use these skills in the future, whether that be in their studies or in their career. One thing is for sure, they all really enjoyed their time at the Boat Show – the feedback we’ve received has been extremely encouraging.”
Adding to the mix over the show were pipe bands, powerboat rides, jet ski and flyboarding displays plus a host of other activities that had one visitor describe the show as an amazing showcase for Scottish boating.
Kip Marina MD, Gavin McDonagh, reflected: “Another year, another fantastic show! This year we were graced by the presence of HRH Princess Anne opening our 30th anniversary show which was great credit to the work put in by all of the staff at Kip Marina.
“A bumper year for entries and boat sales and the largest number of exhibitors ever ensuring that the show has something for everyone. We are looking forward to next year already!”
Scotland’s Boat Show 2017 takes place on the 13th, 14th and 15th October 2017 at Kip Marina.