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Mandurah Boat Show 2014

Sunseeker is not for meIf you're looking for an article about fishing boats or similar or want to spend $20,000 to $50,000 then this page isn't for you. From this point on I'm writing about boats worth in excess of $3 Million and will be having a personal moan about a particular brand, so you might want to stop reading now.

First of all, Mandurah is a coastal town south of Perth which hosts an annual Boat Show during October. As boat shows go this one is really very good regardless of what you're looking for. Exhibitors from every marine industry, from fishing hooks to multi-million dollar luxury yachts are represented so the show has something for everyone. If you're chasing the thrills associated with Jet Skis or are turned-on by wearing a wetsuit and swimming with things that can eat you, you're covered. What I'm trying to say is “if it floats, sinks, swims, or catches lunch” then it was a great show for all.

We visited on the final day and there were stacks of people touching, sniffing, licking, discussing, and buying marine related equipment so if the measure of success is people then I call it a complete success. Congratulations to the organisers, you did a great job.

Let's Get Started

I'm not a professional boat reviewer nor am I much of a writer, so consider that as you read. My comments are from my own point of view and for no other reason.

Now I've set the scene let us move on to what I wanted to say and why we visited the show.

My wife and I were there to view two boats and two boats only, the Sunseeker and Horizon. If you've read some of my previous articles you will already know that our dream boat is the Riviera and it has been on top of the short list for a long time. But as I get closer to buying I've decided to look at other options because spending those kinds of dollars on what is nothing more than a toy is risky and I want to make the right choice. So, with that in mind I've spent six months researching brands such as Horizon, Sunseeker, SanLorenzo, Princess, and a few others. What I've leaned is there are loads of luxury yacht builders out there and it's obvious the top-end of town have not been badly affected by the global economic downturn politicians keeps complaining about.

I have previously been aboard a number of Riviera vessels and didn't feel the need to look at them this year, but I'm always in awe of their quality and use of space. Princess, who were at the show, have been ruled out because I wasn't happy with the quality or finish on vessels I've seen. So, this trip was all about Horizon and Sunseeker, nothing else.

Horizon had two vessels, a 56 and 73, whilst Sunseeker had three. I have to admit that externally I prefer the sleek, stylish and sporty Sunseeker, however we could not get on board for a closer look because they were closed to the public. You have no idea how much that annoyed me and as a result Sunseeker have been struck off my list of possibilities. I can be spiteful sometimes!

The way I see it is, if you're going to bring boats of that caliber to a show and not let people on board then your arrogance becomes very obvious to me. Right now the only thing which will appease my anger is if I walk into their office in Perth, wave a few million dollars cash under their noses, and pull it away while saying “not for you buddy”. So, now I've had my whinge about Sunseeker, I wont mention their name again.

Horizon had a 56 and 73 footer on show but I must be honest and say we didn't board the 56 because it wasn't our style, in fact if I'm being honest I should point out we're more interested in the E88 but was hoping the E73 was similar internally because the exterior design was almost identical.

How did Horizon stack up?

I was mostly impressed but was surprised to find the full-beam master cabin was smaller than the master cabin found on the Riviera 53, although the en-suite bathroom was large and could easily accommodate two people without tripping over each other. Remaining cabins were cosy, which is another way of saying "small" but well appointed. having said that, If you were spending a week or two on board you would not be disappointed!

All rooms were air conditioned and featured loads of polished timber surfaces, ample storage and are bathed in natural light. It is fair to say that timber surfaces throughout were stunning but not up to the same standard found in the Riviera range.

The Engine Room was large and I could easily stand up & walk around in there (I'm about 185cm tall). If you like large engines with shiny bits then you'd be very excited entering the Engine Room with complete with a well stocked toolbox. Water Makers, Gen Sets, Air Conditioning, and more were all presented neatly and methodically.

At the helm Horizon is a clear winner over Riviera with an impressive & intuitive overhead display / map of everything going on mechanically and electrically – a very nice touch. I'm a fan of bells and whistles, knobs, switches and buttons. Instrumentation was well placed and balanced to create an aesthetically pleasing and efficient viewpoint from the Captains Chair.

Crew Quarters are aft with both internal & external access but were cramped. I'm not convinced that Crew Quarters are required on a vessel this size, besides I have no intention of employing crew. My crew will be the poor saps I invite on board! They'll have to work for their free beer and accommodations.

I'd love to provide info on that “other brand”, whose name shall not be uttered by me again, but as you might have guessed the people of Mandurah were not of sufficient caliber nor could we be trusted to not destroy the boats, so alas I can give you nothing. Perhaps they weren't even real boats! Maybe they were cardboard cutouts, I just don't know.

Final opinion, and as it's my money only my opinion matters

Bottom line, for quality I still can't go past Riviera but the one thing they lack in their Flybridge range (and I really want) is a garage for other toys such as Jet Skis. Use of space in the Horizon is very good, but the Riviera 53 (obviously much smaller) appears more spacious and luxurious.

My Riviera of choice is the 63 Enclosed Flybridge. It is a large volume vessel with all the trimmings for weekends, or even weeks away. If only they made one with IPS!

Riviera is still number one on my list of many options but I've got more to look at and more work to do before I say “wrap it up for me”.

That's all folks, you're dismissed - for now!

Published 14 October 2014

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