De HISWA te water was vorig jaar voor het eerst in Lelystad. Dat het een succesvolle greep was om van Amsterdam naar Lelystad te verhuizen, bewijst het grote aantal boekingen van exposanten in een vroeg stadium. Foto Rens Groenendijk

LELYSTAD – As they prepare for the Sept 4 opening of the 2nd HISWA-in-Water Boat, organizers give their formula a huge thumbs-up. The Sept. 4-8 event at Batavia Haven in this central Dutch city will display more than 300 boats, 30 more than in 2018 and spanning 3km (2 miles). Organizers are committed to make their event “northern Europe’s best in-water show.”

Arjen Rahusen, the show’s director, tells this newsletter that more than before he is focusing on “participants’ contribution to the value of the in-water boat show.” So regatta sailing is out but returning this year is the ‘Optimist on Tour,’ a traveling road show to acquaint youngsters with sailing, surfing, canoeing and whatnot water activities. “Exhibitors and visitors are central,” says Sales Manager Alex Hoeve. Which explains the appointment of  service staff dedicated to “easing the workload of exhibitors so they can focus on dealing with visitors,” he adds. Also new:

— A best-boat prize chosen by visitors “This is the first time we ask the public to vote, on our website, separately from a trade jury,” says Rahusen. The show’s site has been optimized through the technology of YachtFocus, the online new and used boat sales platform, to offer more details of exhibited boats.

— More pavilions to see and show boats better. “We are offering visitors more side views of boat,” says Rahusen. “These berths are now available for 50 boats.”

— Four new pavilions – one each for engine makers Honda, Mercury, Suzuki and Yamaha and their dealers. They’ll show engines on boats which boosts the quality of their displays and aligns them better with their marketing: making engine-boat configurations in the fall for delivered the following spring.

— a ‘Golden Boulevard’ showing boats of 15m+ and costing at least €1.5 million to underscore ‘Dutch-built’ as a mark of quality in global yacht building.

Rahusen insist he is not competing with the popular Cannes Yachting Festival, but rather with the Southampton show with Brexit giving Lelystad a leg-up. “Cannes is very southern European,” he says. “We are the best in-water boat show in northern Europe.” It stands to benefit from efforts upgrade the city’s airport. Also, its Batavia Haven has ample room for expansion.