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Lifestyle : 2010 Sydney International Boatshow
1HERSA1 0002 2 July 24-25, 2010 smh.com.au SPECIAL REPORT Floating a dream . . . (fromleft),aposter from the original show; boats galore at the marina; and a model draws interest at an early Boat Show. WELCOME KEELI CAMBOURNE 43 YEARS OF BEAUTIFUL BOATS As Sydney has grown and become more sophisticated, so too has the city's famous aquatic show. W hen it began more than 40 years ago, the Sydney International Boat Show was billed as a ''glittering pleasure paradise of boating [and] holiday enjoyment''. Based at the old Royal Agricultural Showground, the show grew out of a forerunner called the Motor, Caravan and Boat Show, which had wowed crowds looking for ideas on how to spend their increasing recreation time. In 1968 it was realised that boating was popular enough to warrant an event of its own and 5500 square metres of space in five of the showground's pavilions was set aside for the inaugural show. How things have grown from there. From those relatively humble beginnings, the Sydney International Boat Show has developed to become one of the most prestigious and well- attended events of its kind in the world. It is the largest in the southern hemisphere and regularly sets the agenda for other shows. Now based at Darling Harbour, this year's show will fill more than 28,000 square metres of undercover displays at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre as well as a specially built marina that houses more than 200 vessels. And just as the size of the show has increased dramatically, so too has the range of boats and pleasure craft that will be displayed for the more than 75,000 visitors expected to attend this year. Recreational boating has become a major part of many people's social and leisure calendar. In the past 20 years, the number of registered boats has increased by 65 per cent, from 139,000 in 1991. In NSW there are almost 230,000 registered recreational boats and just fewer than 500,000 people registered as having a boat driver's licence. But the actual number of avid boaters is probably much higher, as some vessels, such as small sailing dinghies and low-powered boats, do not require registration. It's estimated that there are probably another 40,000 non-registered boats that people use for leisure. In the early years of the show, the exhibits mainly focused on water activities such as fishing, sailing and waterskiing but in the 1980s and 1990s there was an increasing demand for boats that catered for family boating. Boating has since become one of the more popular activities for the family to do together and although activity-specific boats are still very prevalent at the Boat Show, most are now geared towards social activities and the family unit. Despite this evolution and the ever-increasing number of boat suppliers, builders and distributors, there are still a number of the original exhibitors attending this international event. The most prominent of these is perhaps Hunts Marine. Peter Hunt, past managing director of
Taste of Europe