The Barcelona International Boat Show celebrates an event marked by innovation and tradition

With over 260 exhibitors anticipated to attend, 670 boats (165 of them in the water), and hundreds of products and services in the sports and recreational boating field, the Barcelona International Boat Show will once again be the leading event in the industry in Spain, at a show in which innovation and tradition will take centre stage. In addition to displaying more than one hundred new products (more than 70 boats and around 30 in engines and electronics), the show will allocate an exhibition area and seminars to entrepreneurs, while maintaining its commitment to raising awareness of maritime culture and heritage with the ‘Traditional Sailing’ area, which is taking place for the tenth time. 
From 12 to 16 October, visitors to the 55th Fira de Barcelona Boat Show, which will occupy the Moll d’Espanya and Moll de la Fusta quays in the Port Vell, will be able to enjoy both the floating display, with 165 boats at least 8 m long – and the exhibition on land, with all kinds of boating products and services, in addition to small boats. The new exhibits being presented for the first time in Spain include the Lagoon Seventy 7, a spectacular catamaran 23 metres long and with a sail area of 337 m2; and the smaller Jeanneau Cap Camarat 6.5 BR, 6.6 m long, and the first in this range with an open bow to increase the space on deck, which has been nominated for the European Motor Boat of the Year 2017 awards.
Also for the first time, on 13 and 14 October the show will also set aside a specific area for technological entrepreneurs and startups, featuring around twenty innovations, ranging from new apps to facilitate navigation to a project for an ecological self-inflating craft. This area complements the first edition of the seminars on entrepreneurship, organised in collaboration with the Spanish Sipping Companies Association, ANEN, which will also be hosting an investment forum.
According to the president of the show, Luis Conde, ‘promoting innovation is crucial for the growth of a sector of great importance and with a long history in Spain. Start-ups can contribute new ideas, solutions and benefits to many of the exhibiting firms and vice versa, if the collaboration between them is enhanced’.
Promoter of heritage culture and maritime
Besides being the best showcase for discovering new models of boats and innovations in the industry, the show is also the place to see old boats that fishermen used to use in the past, such as the centenarian vessel ‘Rafael’ that will be on display in the water, and participate in sailing baptisms, boat restoration and knot workshops, and in the ‘Traditional Sailing’ area, the show’s initiative to bring together professionals and organisations working to preserve and foster maritime culture and heritage, which is being held for the tenth time this year.
The salon will also feature other themed areas once again, located at the Moll de la Fusta quay, which will involve around a hundred activities for both professionals and for sailing enthusiasts in general, as well as those wishing for an introduction or who are curious about this world: the Fun Beach Area, with a test area with access to the sea for the public to enjoy introductory sessions to light sailing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle surfing; the Nautic Food Plaza, a restaurant and chill out space, and the Nautic Village By The Cooluxury, where premium fashion, design and gastronomy products are on display. At the same time, many exhibitors are organising activities and parties at their stands, most of which will take place on the Nautical Night on Friday 14, when there will be tastings, music and dancing, fashion shows and other events, including ‘Swimnight & Kayak’, a night-time crossing of the waters of the Port Vell. Saturday 15 will also see the IV Barcelona SUP Festival, the event for fans of Stand Up Paddle Surf.
Professional and charity events
Meanwhile, the Sea Corner will be hosting presentations of regattas, trophies, debates and conferences about the marine environment and all aspects of boating. Highlights include a round table on nautical sports organised by the Spanish Association of Shipping and Ocean Architects, featuring a discussion of the importance of sailing at high levels of competition, with important regattas such as the Americas Cup and the Barcelona World Race, where debate between designers, builders and boaters will be encouraged. This session is part of the 55th Shipping Engineering and Maritime Industry Congress.
There also several talks on the values of sustainability and solidarity. One will be given by Òscar Camps, the founder of Proactiva Open Arms, an NGO of lifeguards working on the island of Lesbos to help refugees mostly from Syria, which was awarded the Catalan of the Year prize in 2015, who will be talking about his experiences. At another, Ignasi Mateo, an expert from the Catalan Waste Agency, a representative of the Barcelona Fishermen’s Guild and a representative of the Barcelona Port Authority, will be presenting the ‘MARVIVA’ project for the collection and classification of marine debris by Barcelona’s trawler fishermen. This project is currently being piloted in the port of Barcelona for a year, and is planned to be rolled out to other Catalan fishing ports.
Registrations increase by 3.15%
According to ANEN data, registration of recreational boats has grown by 3.15% in the first eight months of this year. According to its general secretary, Carlos Sanlorenzo: ‘the boat market has maintained its dynamic so far this year, with a slight increase in registrations compared to 2015. Apart from the numbers, the new types of consumption in boating are continuing to develop, as reflected in the growth of the rental market which is gaining ground on the purchase of boats for private use. This means that there is a real interest in enjoying the sea and that is why users are seeking other alternatives, which we are telling them about with the boating promotion campaign #embárcate ( which will have a very high profile at the exhibition’.
Meanwhile, the show’s director, Jordi Freixas, says that ‘the potential growth of the Spanish market can be seen by the fact that this event attracts interest from international organisations such as CACEL, the Argentinian Boatbuilders Guild, which is participating for the first time with an institutional stand representing half a dozen shipyards, as well as the USA, which is attending once again thanks to an agreement with The National Marine Manufacturers Association’.
The Barcelona Boat Show was a founding member of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO) and continues to serve as an international benchmark. Organized by Fira de Barcelona and held every year, the show enjoys the backing and collaboration of the ANEN.
Barcelona, 28 September 2016