As the countdown to the London Boat Show 2017 begins, YBW looks back at some of the boat shows of yesteryear which were held in the capital….can you spot someone you know?
Before it was held at ExCeL in London, the main boat show in the capital was held first at Olympia before moving to Earl’s Court in 1957.
The show was a direct result of the launch of cheaper boats, such as dinghies, post the Second World War, which opened up the sport of sailing to the middle classes.
Prior to that, it had been seen as an activity for the wealthy.
Earls Court proved very popular, mostly because of the venue’s pool which could showcase new launches.
The 1967 show featured English Rose III, the 20-foot open dory that John Ridgway and Chay Blyth rowed across the North Atlantic in the year before.
At the time, sailing was a headline hitting sport, with Sir Francis Chichester completing his 1966-67 circumnavigation on board his yacht , Gipsy Moth IV, in May 1967.
The vessel later showcased at the 1968 show.
The 1968 show also saw Ocean Bird go on display.
The John Westell-designed trimaran featured fold-in external floats on a webless steel-beam frame chosen to avoid stability threats from windage when keeling.
The 1970 boat show featured a fresh-faced Robin Knox-Johnston, who the year before had become the first person to sail singlehanded and non-stop around the world.
His 32-foot Bermuda ketch, Suhaili, was a star attraction at the show.
The London Boat Show eventually moved from Earl’s Court to ExCeL in 2004 to accommodate a larger selection of boats and equipment.
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