By: KEVIN GREEN, Photography by: KEVIN GREEN

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  • Trade-A-Boat

Sundance Marine has seen a lot of changes in boating during its 30-plus years of trading from a Melbourne base that today supplies a wide variety of yachts and power boats Australia-wide.

Sundance began as a yacht sales business during the 1970s with well-known brands that included Sonata and Noelex. Noelex built popular trailer sailors and, along with Austral and other brands, served a large yet modest boating community. Budgets were tighter in those days, with families happy to simply pile into small boats for jaunts up estuaries and creeks, and places like Gippsland Lakes or the vast Myall Lakes were busy holiday venues.

Australia's increasing wealth gradually brought changes to sailors' needs and Sundance Marine had to change with them, as families moved to 30ft keelboats and then outgrew those as Sundance’s Director, David Beck, explained to Trade-A-Boat: "Where we used to see a large volume of orders in the thirty to forty-foot range, we now see owners wanting a forty-five to fifty-footer."  As the business moved into larger keel boats it began its long-standing relationship with Beneteau in the mid-1990s. By the millennium it had a well-established reputation as a Beneteau dealer, and so transitioned to David and John Beck in 2003 at the current waterfront office at Sandringham. The father and son duo have gone on to expand the business, both in location and brands as well as power and sailboats, which some traditionalist may question.

"We don’t see this as disparate, at the end of the day it’s all about helping people create their best boating experience – this is what we love," said Mr Beck. Sundance now supply a wide variety of boats, from modest outboard runabouts like the Beneteau Antares right up to the flagship superyacht level of Monte Carlo Yachts. In between is a formidable array of yachts that includes Beneteau's Oceanis cruising range and the semi-custom CNB. Having looked at the very first of the new CNB 60s during construction in its Bordeaux yard, I was duly impressed with the attention to detail that company co-founder Olivier Lafourcade showed me. Sundance have since delivered two of the Bordeaux 60s to Melbourne owners.


Supplying our vast land has required Sundance to branch out from Melbourne, so there are offices now in St Kilda and Williamstown in Melbourne, Jones Bay Wharf in Central Sydney and one in Hobart, Tasmania. These service their markets individually and are tailored to local demands. For instance, Sydney is a base for larger motor yachts such as the popular MCY 76 and Prestige range and has a specialist team to go with it, while Melbourne is strong on the yacht side with plenty of local clubs around Port Philip Bay to service.


Used boats is a significant part of the business and current listings include an eclectic mix of power and sail with some racing exotica as well (such as a TP 52 grand prix racer for $315k). Other listings include multiple Hobart winning First 40s and a more modest, Australian-built Cavalier 375 cruiser ($41,500). Along with good pre-sales help that includes advice on marine surveys, insurance and berthing, Sundance pride themselves in looking after new boat owners. "Upon handover of new boats, we provide a comprehensive handover service where we spend time with purchasers and ensure they are comfortable with their new boat and how to handle it," said Beck.

Equipment supply is another part to the business that is convenient for busy owners unable to source gear: "Through our own chandlery store, we are one of only a few dealers able to provide a dedicated service team, with team members based in Melbourne and Sydney we do this," added Beck.

For motor yacht customers, Sundance has a Vessel Management service that streamlines daily needs of boats and their owners, allowing step-on and off without prior work. Ongoing help includes assisting with regular maintenance tasks, having the boat ready when the owner arrives at the marina or, if an owner wants to head north for events such as Hamilton Island Race Week, Sundance can assist with the planning and delivery.


One of the most exciting recent arrivals at Sundance is the Invictus brand.  The new 280SX centre console debuted at the Melbourne Boat Show on June 28th and will also be on display at Sydney Boat Show. Italian styling from superyacht designer Christian Grande, along with some wonderful fine detailing, elevates this day boat range from the competitors out there. Ranging in size from 20ft to 37ft, Invictus offers a wide variety of deck layouts and the larger ones have cabins. The 280SX combines the luxury equipment of the GT series with the sporty soul of the FX to create a versatile family boat that can carry eight, and it has enough muscle to pull water toys or skis. Invictus use inboard engines and the 28-foot 280SX comes with a Volvo V8 350 HP or a 260 HP MerCruiser 3.0 TDI.


Beneteau continue to upgrade their Oceanis range and to enhance their performance, in 

doing so bringing these boats into the cruiser-racer category. The brand new Oceanis 46.1 comes with 28% more sail area than its predecessor and one-metre longer mast to hold it, along with a deep lead-bulb keel to increase stiffness and some Harken Proforma deck gear that's race spec. To manage the extra volume on this new hull, designer Pascal Conq has used twin rudders. In cruise mode, goodies include in-mast furling as standard and a self-tacking jib. Italian stylists Nauta ensured that the three-cabin interior is both functional and smart. The wide bow section is devoted to the owner with ensuite, while aft are two double cabins.

Overseeing this wide portfolio of brands and styles is all part of the job for David Beck as Sundance strive to meet the needs of the modern multi-dimensional boater: "Many customers also have multiple boating interests. They sail in club racing with their crew, yet also want to spend relaxed family time on a powerboat. We’re able to assist them in all areas."

You can see the Sundance Marine team at the upcoming Melbourne and Sydney boat shows - they’d love to share their passion for the exciting brands they have on offer.


Check out the full feature in issue #505 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration. 


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