Big Boat Builders Select Sanctuary Cove

Sanctuary Cove

In Asia-Pacific waters, Sanctuary Cove also heads the North-South boat show network, as recent hub Singapore struggles post-COVID, and China and Japan suffer deflation and other issues. Boat buyers now commute regularly in the region, particularly to and from Southeast Asia, East Asia and Australasia, so Sanctuary Cove seems destined to become the gathering place not only for the broader market but also for next-generation superyacht sales.

SYBAss, the Superyacht Builders Association, already has members like Horizon and Benetti as long-term exhibitors at Sanctuary Cove, with SilverYachts of West Australia and Gulf Craft from the Middle East swelling the ranks.

Damen Yachting and its Amels superyachts is the yard whose vessels are most frequently found in Indo-Asia-Pacific waters, according to our annual Top 100 guide, and Australians own many of its largest custom builds.

Burgess and brokers GLI, Leigh-Smith Yachts and Grant Torrens are among big boat specialists using Sanctuary Cove

Germany’s Lürssen and Dutch yard Feadship are leading builders with assorted Asia-Pacific contracts, while the two Dutch super sailboat yards Royal Huisman and Vitters have both built superb yachts for media magnate Lachlan Murdoch recently.

Add Sanlorenzo and Nautor Swan, and most other SYBAss members have gravitated to Sanctuary Cove anyway, without a formal vote being taken that this should be the new Asia-Pacific hub. The concept is backed by leading brokers like Burgess and Gold Coast outfits GLI, Leigh-Smith Yachts and Grant Torrens.

Riviera and Maritimo, Australia’s leading production builders both based across the Coomera River from Sanctuary Cove, are rising to the occasion too, having released 78ft and 75ft models that are akin to the 80-foot or 24m starting LOA for the definition of superyachts only a few decades back.

Maritimo M75

Custom touches have long been creeping in at the upper echelons of production boat building, ‘semi-custom’ has become a much-used term, and it would be no surprise to see almost fully custom larger vessels being turned out by these yards in the future if the price is right.

Likewise, Taiwan yards Horizon and Ocean Alexander, and Chinese OEMs that produce high-quality Alaskas, Hamptons and many others are filling the niche ranges for serious boaters in smaller superyacht LOAs.

The Gold Coast has the ambiance to make it work. Like Fort Lauderdale, with which it is a sister city, or Cannes, Monaco and Genoa, wealthy buyers can settle into familiar surroundings, and it is not unusual to find them at fancy Main Beach restaurants with Penfold’s Grange flowing freely in pre-boat show days.

They commute to the show via limousine or helicopter, and have often arranged for similar gatherings in the resort’s extensive restaurant-packed Marine Village or in the InterContinental nearby, or perhaps in the Lagoon Beach Club for what organisers say is the very latest VIP experience.

Riviera 78 Motor Yacht

Riviera and Maritimo have substantial stands at the show, along with The Yacht Sales Co which contests with Simpson Marine in Asia for the mantle of Asia-Pacific’s largest boat dealer.

Altogether, says Mulpha Events General Manager Johan Hasser, the event has circa 330 exhibitors, 750 boats and 2,500 marine accessories on offer in a complex that spans the waterways, Marine Village roads and specially-erected Pavilions. Attendance is about 50,000, more than Monaco, less than Cannes.

“Riviera will host a world premiere at their Festival of Boating as part of a record 12-model showcase in 2024,” said a spokesman.

Riviera Australia owner Rodney Longhurst said: “This will be a magnificent display, and will be our only boat show in Australia in 2024,” highlighting the trend in recent years for Riviera, Maritimo and others to focus on Sanctuary Cove rather than larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne.


The Yacht Sales Co, incorporating Multihull Solutions, has a stellar line-up of world-leading brands including Fountaine Pajot, Dufour Yachts, Absolute Yachts, ILIAD Catamarans and Tesoro Yachts.

Fountaine Pajot’s Astrea 42 and the also-acclaimed Dufour 41 are among the sailing models to be shown, and their power vessels will include the recently debuted ILIAD 53S catamaran.

The Yacht Sales Co has specialist knowledge of multihull construction, sales ranges and brand options, including resales, and has a lot of hands-on experience. They have offices in Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.

Absolute Navetta 48

Also being shown is the Absolute Navetta 48, which has four cabins all offering ample windows with panoramic views. This Italian-designed and made vessel is en route to Sanctuary Cove and the concept, indoors and out, is said to offer a very high level of liveability, especially suited to long-distance voyaging.

We have also reviewed the Tesoro T40 outboard from Spain after the initial model was bought by a superyacht captain as a tender when he saw her performance in Sydney Harbour. This vessel has many more features than are apparent at first sight.

Tesoro T40

Other well-known brands on display include Princess from Britain, Fleming, Palm Beach, Whitehaven and Leopard Catamarans. Among favourite marine accessories in the Pavilions are the latest developments and packages from Club Marine, Garmin, Raymarine, Navico, Dometic, Savwinch, and Vetus-Maxwell.

The latter, a Dutch-New Zealand company, will doubtless be showing its range of advanced winches at Sanctuary Cove, but interestingly it also custom-makes deck hardware and windlasses for the world’s top superyachts. Some of these systems are valued at over USD 500,000 alone.

Add in nearby Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Cairns superyacht refit and repair yards that are increasingly in demand by locals and visitors alike, and the gradual upgrade of Sanctuary Cove to a full-scale one-stop superyacht sales centre for Asia-Pacific seems inevitable.

This article was originally published in YACHT STYLE issue 76 and was also seen on

For more on the latest in yachting news, click here.

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