The annual Helsinki International Boat Show, which will take place between 10 and 19 February this year, is the main boating industry event in Finland and northern Europe, and will give the boat building industry in Kokkola, Finland, known for its top international brands, the chance to show off its newest creations.
Among the show’s stars will be the biggest-ever fibreglass boat mass produced in Finland, the Nord Star 47 SCY built by Linex-Boat Oy.
“Our brand sells the best in countries such as Norway, Russia, France and the US – in other words on markets where the popularity of more expensive and individual boats is on the rise. Our Nord Star 47 Semi Custom Yacht, for example, is a boat that customers can tailor to their own preferences,” Olli Lindkvist, the CEO of Linex-Boat Oy, explains.
His company’s 49-foot yacht features a walkaround deck and luxurious interior. The first yacht of this type was sold to a customer in Norway for about EUR 1.2 million.
“We’ve made several preliminary deals and customers are coming to Helsinki from all over the world to see the new yacht. If all of these preliminary deals go through, it is likely we will experience our busiest period to date. One 47 SCY yacht takes about 3000–4000 hours to build, which means we also keep numerous boat building industry subcontractors busy,” Lindkvist says.
The company’s newest creation is the 42-foot taxi boat version of the Nord Star 40 yacht. The first of these taxi boats has been sold to a customer in northern Norway.
Finn-Marin bringing four new boats to Helsinki
Finn-Marin, another Kokkola-based boat builder, has developed four new boats for 2017, all of which will be showcased in Helsinki. The boats are Grandezza 25 S, the newcomer and the smallest boat in the Grandezza range, Finnmaster S6, a fibreglass boat, and aluminium boats Husky R5 and R8, which represent the smaller and bigger end of the Husky line, respectively. With its 350-horsepower engine, the Husky R8 is the flagship of the sport line.
In Finland, the sales figures for Finnmaster boats went against industry trends in the previous season. According to Raimo Kielinen, the CEO of Finn-Marin Oy, the market share of Finnmarin increased sharply after Finnmaster boats joined the Yamaha retail network via Finnish retailing conglomerate Kesko.
“In addition to the Finnmaster line, the market outlook is also very promising for the Husky and Grandezza 25 S boats in Finland,” Kielinen says.
The 2016 season saw Finn-Marin’s turnover increase by nearly 40%, and there are no signs of the growth slowing down. Shortly before the Helsinki International Boat Show, the company’s turnover was 15% higher than the previous season.
“Our strongest markets in the Nordic region are Sweden and Norway, while we have also gained traction in the UK and Switzerland. Going forward, we want to expand our sales network and cover new parts of Europe,” the CEO says.
“Trade winds are blowing in the leisure maritime industry”
While attending the Seattle Boat Show in the US, Thomas Sarin, CEO of Sarins Båtar Oy Ab, told us that the future is looking bright for the boating industry:
“The industry is growing stronger, or at least it is in Europe. We closed some deals at the Düsseldorf boat show in January, and this year was our most successful in Düsseldorf since 2008. Even the sailing boat industry seems to be picking up. Boat builders in Kokkola have their hands full with current projects, with orders to keep them busy for a long time into the future,” Sarin says.
In Helsinki, the company will showcase a total of four Sargo boats, including the SARGO 33, at what will be its first winter season show. The CEO believes that the company will have stronger sales than at any point during the past five years.
Exports account for about 90% of the company’s sales, with most boats being sold to Norway and Sweden. However, Sargo boats are also exported in large numbers to other European countries, as well as to the US and Japan.
To keep up with the increased demand, Sarins Båtar opened its new final assembly and testing hall in January 2017 – one of the few of its kind in Finland.
“Thanks to the hall, we can perform all the tests we need, even in the winter. We sell boats to different parts of the world, so it is of utmost importance to us to test them thoroughly before shipping. We are also building a marina next to the hall, which will give our customers the chance to look around the boats at their own pace when they come to pick up their boat from our factory,” Sarin continues.
The new assembly and testing hall will increase the company’s production capacity by 30%.