The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show, the mid-August culmination of the Finnish boating season, is again gearing up for opening, this time on 15 August, familiarly in the maritime Lauttasaari district. The event brings together 150 exhibitors and well over 260 different boats at HSK yacht club’s marina, which effectively transforms into one big boating village for the four-day event.
“The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show comes first in a sequence of in-water boat shows arranged in the Nordic countries, which means that many new boat models will be on public display for the very first time at the event. People come to the boat show to enjoy themselves by the sea with their entire family and also to buy a boat or boating equipment,” says Jarkko Pajusalo, Managing Director of the Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat.
The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show takes place at the HSK yacht club’s marina (address Vattuniemen Puistotie 1), and it is open on four consecutive days as follows: on Thursday and Friday 15–16 August, from 10 am to 8 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday 17–18 August, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Families with children will find the boat show particularly welcoming: Next to the piers there is a designated area for prams that is attended by event staff and available free of charge. Additionally, there are children’s life jackets available for borrowing so that families can visit the piers and board the boats with added safety. Visitors are also allowed to bring their dogs to the area.
Abundant programme offering and test run opportunities available throughout the event
Those planning to buy a boat have the opportunity to take motorboats out for test runs off the Lauttasaari island, under the tutelage of professional skippers, all through the four-day event. The test runs depart from the Kippari magazine’s pier. When signing up at the pier, your party will be provided life jackets for the test run. Those interested in sailing on large cruising yachts can get a genuine experience by going for a ride with members of the association for sailing instructors in Finland (Purjehduksenopettajat ry).
In addition to testing the boats at Kippari’s pier, visitors will also have opportunities to try out other exhibited boats by appointment and outside the event’s opening hours. This year Friday 16 August will mark the most extensive test run day of the Finnish boating season: beginning already from 4 pm that day, every single pier at the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show will have craft available for test runs so the visitors can test a large number of boats even during the show.
Information-based programme offering will be provided throughout the event at Venemestari’s dock, situated at the central square of the area. The speakers include Ari Huusela, Tapio Lehtinen and Kari “Ruffe” Nurmi, who all are well-known advocates of sailing. Visitors will get practical advice and tips on matters such as boat upholstery, fishing, boat heaters, hull repairs and installation of synthetic teak flooring. Those visitors that are into cruising may well be interested in such topics as boating destinations in the Baltic countries and the Ocean Ladies’ first-hand experiences on crossing the Atlantic at the ARC event.
On Thursday 15 August at 3 pm, Venemestari’s dock will serve as venue for a topical panel discussion on the state of the Baltic Sea and current environmental matters. The panellists include Saara-Sofia Sirén, Member of the Finnish Parliament and member of the parliamentary Environment Committee, Aija Kaski, Secretary General of the Keep the Archipelago Tidy association, Johan Schmidt, Managing Director of the Baltic Sea Action Group, Anders Kurtén, Chairman of the Board of Finnboat and Janne Kjellman, manufacturer of electric boats.
To make the event experience as enjoyable as possible, the food offering at the central square of the area has been expanded further. In addition to Treffi Pub known for their hamburgers and Feri’s the sausage specialists, tasty food will be offered this time also by The Aleksander’s, Quickies and Fisu & Ranet. Flyboard and jet-ski demos will spring into action on a daily basis in the central basin between the piers, just as in years past. On Thursday and Friday, the demos will take place at 2 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm.
More than 260 boats on show, from rowing boats to big yachts
While the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show as an event has evolved over the years into a more enjoyable all-round experience with food trucks, test runs and flyboard demonstrations, the boats remain front and centre there. This year’s edition boasts an all-new section for rowing boats, displaying craft such as Suvi, Särki, Terhi and Veto5 and also exhibiting “city rowboats” made available to the public by the City of Espoo, Helsinki’s western neighbour.
Moving up the size range beyond oar power, the following are the biggest boats exhibited at the 2019 event: the sailing boat X49 (15 metres), a new luxury-level performance cruiser from Denmark, along with the motorboats Prestige 520 Fly (14.5 metres), Targa 46 (15.11 metres), Galeon 500 FLY (16 metres) and Princess S78 (24.66 metres).
The Galeon model has an exciting special feature, a fold-out terrace on the port side to increase cockpit width to a generous 6 metres. Visitors can also get acquainted with the comforts of the m/y Sweet Hope, a Nordhavn 64 charter vessel almost 20 metres long.
In the extensive motorboat section, a particularly convincing segment consists of outboard-powered open boats with a length of 5-6 metres, the most popular class of motorboats. All the major manufacturers will be represented, including AMT, Bella, Brig, Falcon, Faster, Finnmaster, Silver, Sting, Terhi, Marino, Master, Zodiac and Yamarin Cross. The new models for the 2020 season include the aluminium-built Buster XL and Buster XXL, both making their global debut at the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show.
The larger yachts exhibited include Nord Star, Sargo and Aquador. Jeanneau will showcase as many as 12 models, ranging from the smallest Jeanneau Merry Fisher 605 Marlin cabin boat to the largest Leader 36 yacht, at less than 6 metres and almost 12 metres long, respectively.
Day cruisers with bow cabins are becoming increasingly popular, and the boat show will feature models from Askeladden, Flipper, Nordkapp and Yamarin, among others. The most exquisite day cruiser exhibited at the event is the Princess R35, a beautiful Pininfarina design at 11 metres long making its Nordic debut in Lauttasaari. Powered with two 430-hp Volvo Penta V8 engines, the boat reaches a blazing top speed of close to 50 knots.
The boats for recreational have been relocated to a more central spot for this year’s show, with side-on moorings at the brand-new piers built by the company Laakson Laiturit right in front of the area entrance. Professional fishing guides including Pasi Tuike, “pike guru” Antti Heinonen and Jani Ollikainen will be present for product presentations and good tips for upcoming fishing trips.
Around-the-world sailors Tapio Lehtinen and Ari Huusela attending Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show
Sailing enthusiasts get a chance to marvel at two ocean racers: the Asteria, on which Tapio Lehtinen went around the planet in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, and the Ariel2, the IMOCA60 yacht of Ari Huusela who is currently preparing for the next Vendée Globe, a solo yacht race around the world. The Ariel2 heads to the Helsinki-Tallinna Race on Friday evening, only to return to Lauttasaari on Saturday morning after the contest.
The two sailors will also speak to the public at Venemestari’s dock. Tapio Lehtinen will enter the stage at 2 pm on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and at 2.30 pm on Friday, while Ari Huusela’s turn is at 4.30 pm on Thursday and 1.30 pm on both Friday and Sunday. For specific information on performance timetables, refer to the programme displayed at the event next to the stage at Venemestari’s dock or online on the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show web site at www.uiva.fi
The sailing boat section will feature Beneteau’s Oceanis 30.1, the smallest model in their line-up of sailing yachts making its debut at the event, alongside a bigger Beneteau, the Oceanis 38.1 Performance. X-Yachts, the Danish company known for its sporty cruisers, will exhibit the speedy X49performance cruiser along with the XC45 cruiser. Lagoon will display the outstanding catamaran cruiser Lagoon 42. In addition to X-Yachts, Nordic boat building competence is represented by the Arcona 380, whose “Z” version is equipped with an electric sail drive motor by the Finnish company Oceanvolt.
The day sailor Nordwind 20 is undoubtedly among the most beautiful boats exhibited at the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show. The 6-metre-long wooden sailing boat was built by Jakobstads båtvarv.
Reach the event effortlessly by metro train and free shuttle bus
The island of Lauttasaari only has limited parking space available. The West Metro provides an easy access to the island from both east and west. A free shuttle bus connection is available for boat show visitors from the Lauttasaari metro station right up to the area entrance. During the event opening hours, a shuttle bus departs every 20 minutes by the Lauttis shopping centre, next to the entrance on the Otavantie street.
The designated parking area for the boat show is situated at the end of Vattuniemen Puistotie street and attended by the Vikingarna sea scouts. If you aim to come by car and park it there, note that the parking fee is 8 euros, payable in cash, by Finnish debit card or any major international credit card.
Helsinki city bikes are also a good choice for reaching the site. The nearest city bike stand is located on Heikkiläntie, at a comfortable walking distance of 800 metres along the seashore to the boat show area.
It is not recommendable to come to the boat show with your own boat, as all the berths in the marina are reserved for the exhibitors, and in all of Lauttasaari there is a very limited number of berths available for visiting boats.
Those arriving by road from Helsinki should also consider the renovation of the bridge to Lauttasaari, scheduled to commence some time before the boat show. While the bridge can be crossed on foot and by bicycle and car during the renovation, the lanes on the bridge will be narrower than usual during the boat show, since the north side of the bridge (towards Lauttasaari) will already have been closed for traffic.
Those coming from further afield can make use of the special boat show offer by the Clarion Hotel Helsinki: with the code “UIVA”, single rooms are available at a rate of 125 euros and doubles/twins for 140 euros a night.
The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show in Lauttasaari between 15 and 18 August 2019
- The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show will take place at the HSK yacht club’s marina in Lauttasaari (address Vattuniemen Puistotie 1).
- Opening hours: Thursday and Friday 15–16 August, 12 am to 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday 17–18 August, 10 am to 6 pm.
- Standard tickets cost €13 in advance and €15 at the gate. Children’s tickets cost €4.35 in advance and €5 at the gate. Children under 7 years of age get free admission.
- Group tickets cost €10 per person. They are only available for advance sales in the online store for a minimum order of 10 tickets.
- To get more information on the 2019 Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show and acquire advance tickets, go online at www.uiva.fi