South African Boatbuilders Make Another Strong Showing in Miami

Another year and another highly successful Miami International Boat Show for the South African Boat Building contingent. In spite of the adverse financial climate of the past 18 months, 4 of the nation’s top boatbuilding companies exhibited at this year’s Strictly Sail Miami Boat Show, which took place from February 11 – 15 at Sea Isle Marina, to much acclaim and accolade. The South African National Pavilion, spearheaded by the South African Boatbuilders Export Council (SABBEX), took home the ‘Best of Show’ award for In-Water Display, a prestigious award presented for stand graphics, level of activity, professional handling of enquiries and outstanding display of boats.

This year’s event marked South Africa’s 5th consecutive appearance at the show, a notable achievement and one that serves to emphasise the popularity of locally-built vessels with savvy international buyers. This year also marked the first appearance of up-and-coming boatbuilders, Cruiser Cats, who were there to showcase their new power catamarans, the Havana 38 and Tortuga 42.

The 5 day event served as an exposé of some of the best on offer from local boatbuilders, with beautiful power catamarans on display from Afri-Cat Marine and Cruiser Cats. Majestic sailing catamarans from Royal Cape Catamarans as well as Robertson & Caine were also on display, making the South African presence at the event both visible and impressive. The event marked the launch of a number of new vessels into the US market, notably the Majestic 530 from Royal Cape and the Havana 38 from Cruiser Cats. Also represented at the event were the Knysna Yacht Company, currently promoting their new Knysna 480, a stunning redesign of the ever popular 440 model.

A well attended press briefing and cocktail reception was held prior to the event, which attracted numerous media personnel, industry organisations, Florida business contacts as well as potential buyers and clients of the South African builders.

The boatbuilders represented at the show were able to attain some very strong leads which will hopefully convert themselves into sales following the show. Many other well-known South African brands who were not able to make the trip to Miami also received numerous enquiries, demonstrating the large impact that local vessels have made on the US market in the last 2-3 years.

Although the market has taken a definite knock in light of the recent recession, the show provided an excellent clientele and demonstrated a definite resurgence in optimism in the US Market. “The quality of the visitors at the recent Miami International Boat Show exceeded our expectations and as a group we are all very positive about the upswing in the US market. We know that growth will be slow, at a snail’s pace for some sectors, but are confident that the competitive, quality product offerings from the SA exhibitors will continue to make a strong impact with buyers as optimism returns state-side,” said Veda Raubenheimer, Chief Executive Officer of SABBEX, South Africa’s local export council.

The South African Boatbuilder’s Export Council would like to extend congratulations to all our exhibitors and look forward to many more strong showings on US soil.


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