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Posted to On the waterfront (by on November 26, 2009

Everyone (with money to spend) is welcome at the Southampton Boat Show

Despite the wide-reaching impact of the global economic downturn, high-end yacht interior designers are still enjoying a very positive year. 

With this weekend’s PSP Southampton Boat Show expecting to showcase 1000 vessels, and brand new 65 boats making their debut, it’s a bit of luck that the ‘have yachts’ are still splashing the cash.

Under the strapline ‘It’s Your Show’, the Boat Show is aiming to appeal to various types of potential buyers this year, rather than sticking to its previous formula of focusing on the big spenders. Of course, that’s a relative concept when it comes to buying boats, but with the year we’ve all had, it wouldn’t be surprising if even the deepest pockets are slightly less bulging. 

But the marketing manager for the Boat Show Mike Enser is keen to point out that boat owners don’t just fall into the clichéd categories of bankers and oligarchs anymore and that everyone is invited to enjoy the show. He said, “It’s all about democratisation. The message is that boating is not just about chinos, blazers and gin at six, but that non-enthusiasts are welcome to the show too.”

Perhaps part of the reason for the change in focus is that this traditionally conservative industry is gaining more fans in the showbiz fields that really appreciate some of the more left-field designs. You can’t keep offering mahogany and stripped interiors when the ones with the money are demanding the very latest in stereo equipment for their perfect party palace. 

According to British Marine Federation manufacturing manager Adrian Waddams, “People are much more demanding about boat interiors than they used to be. Even at the lowest level, they’re looking for all mod cons like eye-level ovens, power showers and open-plan spaces that look like contemporary London apartments. There is a big trend for retro design, too, with long overhangs at the bow and the stern giving a really sleek appearance.”

With the Boat Show showcasing boats costing up to £10million this year, it seems that the interior demands of the rich and famous are showing no signs of slowing down.

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