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Boat test run event enjoys success

In mid-May, a group of boating industry players in Finland jointly organised a large-scale test run event for the first time, to bring together a wide range of boat models along with related services and current or prospective boaters eager to take the helm.

The two-day event, held on 16 and 17 May 2019, proved a success. At the event, dubbed " Lauttasaaressa" ("Finland goes boating at Lauttasaari"), there were as many as 43 different boats available for use. During the two days, more than 500 test runs were carried out, with almost 1,200 people participating.

"People attended the event for various reasons; there were those looking to buy a boat, as well as prospective new boaters seeking assurance as to whether boating truly is something for them," says Janne Mäkelä, Sales and Development Manager for Bella-Veneet Oy, the Kuopio-based boat builder.
Mäkelä says that the event clearly had a commercial impact as well: already during the first days following the event, boat dealers around Finland reportedly received new customers fresh off a test run.

A demand exists for the test run event

"The boat test run event does hold potential. Although the popularity of public events appears to be continually dwindling, there were boating enthusiasts lined up at the test run event for the entire duration of two days," reaffirms Mikael Winqvist, Managing Director of AMT-Veneet Oy.

According to Winqvist, about half of those who went out for a test run were very specific about the details and the helm experience they were after in regard of the model in question. And what about the rest? Just wanting to get familiar with boating and enjoy nature in the archipelago off Helsinki.

"This was also the idea: to promote boating and get new people fired up about it," Winqvist states.

Antti Saarisalo of Ajola Yachts, who skippered a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 sailing yacht at the event, says that also the manufacturer's large performance cruiser was continuously manned over the two days.

"The weather was very close to perfect, and all those who went sailing were very happy with the experience. As a sailor, I obviously would have preferred stronger winds, but there was just one leg with so little wind that we needed to run the engine. We had multiple crews going out with us that are planning to buy a sailing boat," Saarisalo recounts.

Three major boating events

The biggest annual events for boating enthusiasts and professionals in Finland are the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show in August and the Helsinki International Boat Show in February. However, the test run event, featuring boats available for trial runs from 23 different boat builders, constituted an opportunity unlike anything ever seen before on Finnish shores.

"It proved to be the right kind of event taking place at an opportune time. The turn-out included both active boaters as well as those who are interested in boating or have designs about taking it up. This is just as well, since where else can you do test runs on a boat selection as representative as this one in such a short time?" says Jarkko Pajusalo, Managing Director of the Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat, the industry's umbrella organisation in the country.

The event arrangements were carried out by Finnboat and the Finnish Marine Retailers' Association, along with varying contributions from the Finnish Sailing and Boating Federation (the central organisation for boating enthusiasts), Helsinki International Boat Show, Mercury Marine, Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association, the boating gear dealers Maritim and Vetus and more than twenty Finnish boat builders, boat dealers and importers.
Moreover, the marine companies based on Veneentekijäntie in Lauttasaari also played an important part by arranging their traditional joint boating season kick-off event concurrently with the test run event. Veneentekijäntie in Lauttasaari is home to Finland's largest concentration of boating industry players, featuring a wide range of related services from a repair dock to boat gear shops.

More information about boat industry and trade:
CEO Jarkko Pajusalo
Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat
+358 40 673 4032