Sales buoyant after boat show


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Boat companies are following up leads worth millions of pounds from the biggest maritime event in Wales.

Thousands of people from across the UK flocked to the All-Wales Boat Show in Pwllheli over the weekend.

Two new international partnerships were also launched at the event at Plas Heli, Pwllheli’s new £8.3m Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre.

Irish boat dealer BJ Marine has opened a new outlet and Pwllheli boatyard Partington Marine have been appointed as agents for Slovenian boat manufacturers Seascape. It is the first time the European manufacturer of trailable yachts has had an agent in Wales.

After two years in Conwy, event organiser Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of Wales Watersports International, was delighted with how things had gone in Pwllheli.

She said: “While the weather was not kind for the whole weekend, we have had very positive and constructive feedback from the trade.

“I have not had the full picture yet but it is clear that more than £500,000 in boat sales were clinched at the show and that leads worth a lot more than that are being followed up so the total value of the sales generated will undoubtedly be impressive.

“The consensus was that the All-Wales Boat Show has the potential to become the boat show for the north of the UK.”

Among the stars of the boat show was a rebuilt skiff that once ferried pilgrims to Bardsey Island.

The 15ft long hand-made boat has been restored by volunteers thanks to funding from the Llyn Landscape Partnership, and visitors to the show got the first public glimpse of the vessel.

The Gwylan (Seagull)  was crafted  in the late 1940s by renowned Gwynedd boat-builder John Thomas to ferry passengers from the mainland, explained  Gwenan Griffith of Eco Amgueddfa, which celebrates Pen Llyn’s cultural heritage.

The digital project aims to promote tourism outside the peak season, and increase the £5bn that visitors bring in each year for Gwynedd.

“The Gwylan was owned by Robin Sgoldy of Porth Cychod, but he had a heart attack and his son used it as a fishing boat, and then his son,” said Gwenan

“However, it was left as a ruin for years until the project took it over and began to restore it. This is the first time it has been seen in public – it is proving very popular with visitors to the show.”

The sailing boat, similar to ones that would once have been a common sight off the peninsula, has been restored using larch and oak form Conwy and traditional techniques by local craftsmen who are all in their 70s, according to Arwel Jones, project leader for the Partnership.

Once fitted out with sails, which are being made locally, the Gwylan will be formally launched at the Taste of the Sea festival on June 14 at Aberdaron. It will then be used to tech local youngsters how to sail.

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