For the second year in a row a boatbuilder from an area primarily known for its red wine, fruit and sunshine has sailed away with the marine industry's most coveted prize, the Boat of the Show: Overall Winner award.
Dickey Boats, a family-owned company run by Jason and Tristin Dickey and based in the Napier suburb of Pandora, collected the supreme award for their 7.5m Dickey Custom 750 XS (profiled in Weekend Marine on May 4) at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show in Auckland.
It is an aluminium hardtop overnighter that boasts a GRP-like finish, impressive craftsmanship and precision engineering.
Before being able to compete for Boat of the Show, the Custom 750 XS had to win its own category, the Aluminium Fishing Boat Open. This meant it had to outscore some of New Zealand's best known and most awarded aluminium boatbuilders.
The Custom 750 XS was then pitted against other category-winning GRP and aluminium craft from New Zealand, Australia and France.
Last year's overall winner, Profile Boats, won the Boat of the Show: Aluminium Fishing Boat 6-7m Metres Award with its Profile 635H. Fish City's FC 600 Centre Console won the other aluminium category, the Boat of the Show: Aluminium Fishing Boat Under 6m.
In the GRP Fishing Boat division, the Smuggler Multisport 570 won the Under 6m award for the fourth year running, while Rayglass' flagship Legend model, the 2800, won the Open.
In the all-purpose division, the Haines Hunter SF 600 Limited Edition won the Under 6m award, the Rayglass Legend 2350 won the 6-7m and the Beneteau Barracuda 7 took the Open.
Despite bad weather, the four-day show attracted 36,000 paying visitors to the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, within a few hundred of last year's record-breaking crowd.
Show general manager Dave Gibbs says the high attendance proves boating is still a key pastime for many Kiwis. "They came to see the latest GRP and aluminium models from the country's leading boatbuilders, to learn new fishing skills from some of New Zealand's most experienced fishers, and to enjoy a fun day out with their families."
They also came to buy. Many of the show's exhibitors have already reported a high level of sales and genuine enquiries to follow up.
Dave Burgess, a property manager from Parnell, won the $100,000 boat package, consisting of a 6.4-metre Stabicraft 2100 Supercab, a lightweight Yamaha F200 200hp outboard and a range of accessories.
Marine mainstay joins Hall of Fame elite
Kim McDell Kim McDell's major contribution to the marine industry over 40 years was recognised when he was inducted into the New Zealand Boat Show Hall of Fame.
He has been a mainstay of the boat show, won world titles, served on the boards of marine industry and sporting organisations, manufactured boats for export and built some of this country's most popular yachts and powerboats.
After working in the accounting profession, McDell's boating and business interests led him into the marine industry in 1973. In 1974 he won his first world title on board the 18ft skiff Travellodge.
He followed that by winning the 1977 Half Ton Cup in Sydney on board a Farr centreboard design, Gunboat Rangiriri. After founding McDell Marine in the early 1970s he went on to produce a wide range of Bruce Farr-designed trailer yachts and keelers, and one of this country's most popular trailer powerboats, Sea Nymph.
By the time the company chose to cease trading in 2010, McDell Marine had generated $100 million of export sales for this country. With his brother, Terry, he runs the brokerage company McDell Yachting.