London Boat Show 2009 Review 2


Sailing heroes like Ian Williams were used throughout the show.

Sailing heroes like Ian Williams were used throughout the show.

The London International Boat Show finished up on Sunday 18 January. The show hosted more than 500 exhibitors and showcased hundreds of boats, ranging from 1.4 metre sailing dinghies to 37 metre tri-deck motor yachts.

Despite the organisers opening in the year 2009 with the stereotypical “Hello Sailor” cliche – model, actress and TV presenter Kelly Brook opening the show surrounded by crew members of attending Navy frigate, HMS Westminster – stars of the boating world were present throughout the Show.

Dame Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding on his return to the country were joined by members of Skandia Team GBR, including Olympic gold medallists Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and flatwater canoer Tim Brabants, all of whom were recently decorated in the New Year’s Honours list. Sailing heroes were also used around the show.

The organisers claimed an overall attendance at the Show of 112,000 – 12% below that of 2008.

Andrew Williams, Managing Director, National Boat Shows (NBS) commented:

“We’re delighted by the success of the Show. Over the past 10 days we’ve enjoyed plentiful media interest, positive feedback from both our visitors and exhibitors and a healthy flow of visitors, with an increase in the North Hall which was our aim. The results show the benefits of a succeeding Show during difficult times to showcase products of all ranges to buyers in the market.”

Henri Lloyd did the best job of using professional sailors to promote to all.

Here at Yachtsponsorship.com we were pleased with the way exhibitors, clothing manufacturers in particular translated the high end professional part of the sport of sailing into their marketing. Boat makers still don’t really get it, but some are doing better than others.

Henri Lloyd used their partnerships with Vendee Globe stars and Olympic champions to create a great stand. Helly Hansen also used their involvement in the Volvo Ocean Race in their marketing.

Of the big boat manufacturers, only X-Yachts and Dufour even mentioned racing on their stands. The former made mention of the X34 winning the Hamble winter series and the latter listed racing performances on a poster. j-UK could have made more of the large size of the j109 fleet racing in the UK. 

Today (Thursday 22nd Jan), we’ll be walking around Boot.de in Düsseldorf to see how it compares.

  • I agree with you – that “Hello Sailor” thing is so tired. How are we supposed to make sailing COOL when the industry keeps giving the public stereotypes of bell bottoms and little white caps? I'm not having a go at the Navy, but there must be another way.

  • cseatonbond

    I agree with you – that “Hello Sailor” thing is so tired. How are we supposed to make sailing COOL when the industry keeps giving the public stereotypes of bell bottoms and little white caps? I'm not having a go at the Navy, but there must be another way.