Ray White Marine’s new office is located in the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars showroom in Richmond

In the past fortnight, two of Europe’s largest boatbuilders – Ferretti and Princess – have both appointed new representatives in Australia, while Ferretti’s importer in Australia and New Zealand – Ray White Marine, appointed in 2015 – has expanded by launching a new regional dealership in Melbourne.

This coincidental shuffling of the pack, set against recent bullish reports on domestic sales from leading Australian builders such as Riviera, suggests an optimistic view of business prospects in the coming year. So much so that Princess recently set up a new venture to handle its distribution in Australia, while Azimut Yachts has appointed a new dealer to exclusively represent the Italian motoryacht brand Down Under.

Speaking to IBI recently, Rick Rodwell, CEO and founder of Ray White Marine, believes the time is right for the luxury boating market to flourish in Melbourne. “Our newly-opened office is actually in the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars showroom in Richmond,” he said. ”Here, RR is under the umbrella of the Zagame Automotive Group, which is the authorised sales and service dealer for a number of leading European luxury, sports and high-performance cars in Victoria, and the office provides opportunities to visualise the latest luxury yacht styling, interior designs, fabrics and finishes thanks to a state-of-the-art AV interactive multimedia display wall at the showroom.”

Having represented a number of luxury motoryacht brands in the past, Rodwell believes that the Ferretti Group brands – Wally, Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, Itama, Mochi Craft, CRN and Custom Line – are a perfect fit for the company. “Whether it’s a classic Riva, a sporty Pershing, or a luxury Custom Line or CRN superyacht, our clients will be wowed by the sheer quality, variety and luxury of the brands on offer.

“Being associated with Ray White Property and Zagame Automotive means that we have access to extensive resources,” Rodwell explained. “Both companies are 100% owned by respected and successful Australian families, and we know that by sharing business synergies we will be able to engage a new community of boating enthusiasts. By bringing a fresh new approach to an industry, we can expand the market which, until now, has been predominantly represented by small independent single offices in marinas sprinkled around the country.”

Melbourne is home to some of the most affluent people in Australia, and it also boasts the highest number of megayacht owners (above 40m) as well. Melbourne’s wealthy may not be keen to keep their boats in their home port, but it is only a short flight to Sydney or the Gold Coast if they want to enjoy their yacht in warmer waters. “Having offices on the east coast of Australia means we can provide local support for owners of both new and pre-owned brokerage vessels,” confirms Rodwell.

Headquartered at Marina Mirage on the Gold Coast, with a Sydney base at the exclusive Elizabeth Bay Marina, Rodwell is confident that Ray White Marine’s new Melbourne office will provide a sales and service presence that is second to none.

What’s more, with the ongoing development of the Docklands surrounding areas, Melbourne is becoming a yachting destination in its own right. “Today, you can escape from the office, hop onto your luxury motoryacht moored in one of the city-based marinas, and ‘go cruising’ in a matter of minutes. Conversely, you can arrive by yacht and be sampling the Melbourne lifestyle and food culture sooner than immediately.”

The point, of course, is that the Melbourne city marinas are practically in the middle of town. “It’s just a matter of changing people’s perspective on how to use the waterways that exist in this beautiful city.”