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British superyachts headline boat show

With new superyachts on display from British marine powerhouse brands Sunseeker and Princess — underscoring the sixth consecutive year of revenue growth — the London Boat Show tells a story of an industry in fine fettle, writes Dorothy Musariri

The all new Sunseeker’s 76-metre yacht proves size does matter. Making it the largest selling model to date - it offers a little style and sophistication, with the latest deep-V hull design and retractable glass skylight over the helm for that exceptional sea-keeping. Unashamedly lavish, this incredible new yacht is without reservation the new must-have for its range. It comes fully kitted with a lounge, sunbeds, wet bar and hot tub for a comfortable cruise.  Already in high demand, the 76-metre offers 25 per cent more space than its forerunner. It’s no wonder the craft is so popular.

Also presented at the London Boat Show is the Princess V50 - the latest model to join the Princess Yacht V-Class range. Expect vibrant exterior, electro-hydraulic bathing platform, open main deck with L-shaped seating and a garage accommodating a 3.25m tender. From the opulent space the yacht’s open layout offers, the generous saloon with its U-shaped sofa and hand-made coffee table through to the communal seating at the twin helm, allowing the guests and owner to move easily between entertainment spaces.

Superyachts may be out of reach for many, even in the HNW world, but the market is mounting with UK sales rising again this year. New figures released by the British Marine, a trade body for the industry, show that 2018 has seen a rise in the revenue with a 3.4 per cent increase in profits; the industry is now worth £3.12 billion – making it the sixth consecutive year and the highest it’s been since the 2007 financial crisis.

In 2015, earnings rose by 1.6 per cent and many boating brands directly contributed more than £1.11 billion to the UK economy in 2016/2017, while also providing 33,000 full-time jobs in the UK.

British Marine CEO, Howard Pridding, British Marine CEO, gives Brexit some credit: 'These impressive figures demonstrate how the industry has successfully cashed in on the pound’s devaluation since the Brexit referendum in 2016. In 2017 UK marine industry exports grew by 4.7 per cent to £924 million.'

Equipment manufacturing also helped increase the sales, which rose by 8.8 per cent to £335 million. Marinas and moorings revenues improved by 3.6 per cent, while business support services  increased by 2.7 per cent. Further revenue from hire, passenger and charter boats rose by 6.8 per cent.

Sales to international clients rose by 4.7 per cent to £924 million, an effect of the weak pound selling British boats at more competitive prices, says Pridding.

The fall in the value of the pound has also had a positive effect among local holidaymakers, as many favour UK boating destinations over those abroad. 'As the pound has dipped, many Brits have rekindled their love for barges, yachting, water sports holidays and canal cruises in and around the UK,' says Pridding.

Close to a half of British Marine members said they were positive about the years ahead. With the industry now claiming its sixth year of consecutive growth, the future looks bright for British boats.

Dorothy Musariri is a writer at Spear's