While debate rages over Earls Court

The 47th Salon Nautique de Paris, which started on Saturday, expects an attendance increase of 10 per cent to 300,000 by the end of its run on December 9. Organisers have increased the size of the show to 15 kilometres of space, with 1,200 stands.

About 170 of the show’s 1,200 exhibitors are non-French companies. This year’s show theme stresses environmental stewardship, and highlights measures by the boating industry to protect the environment.

The French boatbuilding industry says that boating activities cause only one percent of water pollution. Show organisers have set up displays stressing the importance of proper disposal of waste materials, and ways of using energy more efficiently. The Bic group also displayed a sailing dinghy made of recycled Bic Biros.

Annette Roux, head of the French boatbuilding federation FIN, and the main shareholder of Groupe Beneteau, said the industry has worked hard on techniques to destroy old fibreglass hulls, instead of having owners abandon them. “But so far we are having difficulty finding any: they are in good condition and sailors continue to use them,” she said. Roux said that the French industry is generally healthy. The industry reported an 8.0 percent increase in sales of sailing yachts this year, following an 8.3 percent increase last year.