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Why METS matters

by Mark Jardine 16 Nov 09:00 NZDT
METSTRADE © METSTRADE

It's an odd thing taking a flight into a country which is in lockdown. Some would regard it as foolhardy, some plain stupid, others brave and the full range in-between. For better or for worse that's exactly what I've done and I'm now in Amsterdam, ready for the METSTRADE Show, the world's largest trade exhibition of marine equipment, materials, and systems.

In 2020 the show was understandably cancelled, and the industry was chomping at the bit to meet again face to face and learn about all the latest innovations in the marine trade. All looked set with 1,300 exhibitors lined up, until at the end of last week a massive curveball was thrown when The Netherlands went into 'lockdown-lite'.

While METS hasn't been cancelled - due to the Covid protocols they've put in place - many of the exhibitors, and no doubt many visitors, have pulled out. This is a devastating blow for the marine industry, with the companies losing out financially with the outlay they've already made on exhibiting, flying staff to Amsterdam, and the hotels which are already paid for; yet the longer-term loss is the products that aren't discovered by the big manufacturers, the innovations in materials which aren't seen first-hand, the electronic devices not sampled while talking to the engineers who developed them, the fittings which aren't seen to understand exactly how they can be used.

The list of innovations first shown at METS is endless, and while products can be shown in videos, photos and articles - which we do on our websites, but particularly on www.marinebusinessworld.com - there's simply no substitute for seeing them in the flesh and talking to the teams that developed them.

This is a business-to-business show, so why I am talking about it on Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com? The answer is that everyone who sails sees these innovations on the boats that they sail, and if they're not seen, then they won't have the chance to make our sailing more enjoyable. The more we enjoy our sport, the more we'll do it, and the more people will be attracted to it. Quite simply, METS is vital to sailing.

Attention to detail

Talking of press releases, at this time of year we receive a lot from the marine industry, and one from modern classic yacht design and build company Spirit Yachts really caught my eye.

Fans of James Bond will have seen the Spirit 54 in the latest film "No Time To Die", but it was the all-electric Spirit 30, and the attention to detail that piqued my interest. Just take a look at this tiller and you know she's a quality yacht.

With the recently held COP26 summit reminding us that we all have a responsibility to be kinder to the environment, the Spirit 30 is the first Spirit hull to have flax lay-up and bio resin incorporated into its build. It's these kind of material innovations which are found by boat builders at METS and are going to be so sorely missed by everyone who cannot attend.

She's currently sailing in the UK and will be on display at boot Düsseldorf in January 2022. Covid allowing...

Transat Jacques Vabre delivering

I knew I'd be glued to the tracker in the Transat Jacques Vabre and it's a race that is delivering. After a slow start, the massive Ultim trimarans have powered down the Atlantic Ocean with Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier on Maxi Edmond de Rothchild leading the charge to the turning point at the archipelago of Trindade & Martin Vaz in the South Atlantic Ocean.

These astonishing foiling machines eat up the ocean miles at an incredible rate and are making the 7,500 mile course look short. It's only a matter of time before the round the world record is broken again.

The IMOCA fleet is providing close racing, with sleek-looking Apivia, LinkedOut, Arkea Paprec, the new 11th Hour Racing Team Malama, and the mighty Charal all vying for the lead. Whose strategy is going to pay off is anyone's guess at the moment.

International competition opening up

It's great to see truly international events happening again, with the ILCA Worlds in Barcelona concluding recently and now the Masters out on the water, the 49er, 49er FX & Nacra 17s all set for their World Championships in Oman, the M32 Worlds set in Miami, Florida, and many more events around the globe.

I always look forward to receiving Frank Quealey's reports from the 18ft Skiffs on Sydney Harbour, as I have done for 25 years, and the final race of the Spring Championship delivered with high winds and plenty of drama.

It was also great to see Sailing win 'Best Coverage by the Host Broadcaster' in the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Golden Rings awards for Tokyo 2020.

Sailing is a tricky sport to cover for television and there's no doubt that Producer Henry Mok, Director Leon Sefton and their team did an exception job in the difficult circumstances that surrounded the Olympics.

So many times with live sports coverage we've seen the footage cut away from the key moments, leaving us screaming at the television, but the sailing coverage caught these key moments, such as the exceptional finish to the 49er Medal Race, with the perfect angles and then the emotion of the competitors. The Olympics is aspirational, and if sailing can deliver with the coverage, then it will help secure its place in future Games, as well as attracting more people to the sport. Bravo to all those involved.

We'll continue to bring you all the news from the world of sailing so do keep an eye on all our websites for the latest from METS. If you haven't already then try the drop-down list at the top of the websites to see our other publications such as MarineBusinessWorld.com and Powerboat.World. We hope you enjoy what you find and we welcome your feedback.

Mark Jardine
Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor mark@yachtsandyachting.com

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