Forget the weather and the economic crisis - it's showtime!
For boating enthusiasts the London Boat Show is a ‘smorgasbord of loveliness’ as Strictly’s Len is apt to say and, despite the credit crunch, this year is no different. The day starts on the main stage sponsored, I’m required to say, by Fairline, with the gorgeous Kelly Brook who when asked if she’s ever been sailing replies ‘oh yes, I did once actually – but it was very rough and I spilt my champagne everywhere’. But never mind, she looks lovely, nautically attired in black and white, complete with a captain’s hat stolen from HMS Westminster.
Then we’re off to the RNLI where we’re instructed to have Serious Fun. They’re displaying the winners of their annual photographer of the year competition and the winner, taken from the adrenaline and action category, reminds us of why we pay our offshore membership every year. How the volunteer crews have time to take photos whilst they’re saving lives is not explained, but the yacht crew rescued from a force 9 are at the presentation to attest to their success.
Next stop is the Sunseeker stand. A 30m yacht is their latest offering so the credit crunch obviously hasn’t hit them too hard, and as a refreshing counterpart to Kelly, we have Only Men Aloud to serenade us from the aft deck of a 48m. The sun is shining in the marina as we marvel at their success and it’s easy to forget that only one in a million of us can afford such a vessel.
Perhaps more within reach is a new product launched by CA Clase. At last the cost of satellite TV on the move is coming down to within reach of the average man in the marina. Their all-in package includes freesat without subscription and can receive all your favourite UK channels across northern Europe. It’s £2000 – not too bad if you say it quickly and what price keeping the kids amused?
Also launching some new innovations are Henri Lloyd, whose window-hooded foulies are a real head-turner. 9 out of 10 Volvo race crews prefer them apparently. There’s more new technology in the form of their lighter than air insulated jacket which keeps you warm whilst weighing nothing – a miracle of modern science. How do they do it for the money?
It’s been a busy day so far but it’s not over yet. Clipper Ventures are announcing the launch of their 09-10 race which starts this year from the Humber. There’s still time to sign up for the challenge of a lifetime – for a mere £7000 you too could enjoy the freezing conditions of the southern ocean or sail from Singapore to the Olympic harbour at Qingdao.
The layout at Excel is starting to feel familiar now and it’s easy to find your old favourites as well as somewhere to sit down and rest your feet. The Guinness bar has been rebranded as the black and white bar which means you’re now welcome even if you don’t want a pint of the black stuff, and as always it’s the best place to bump into boating friends who’ve come to worship at the alter of boating. Forget the weather, and the economic crisis and indulge yourself with dreams of a brighter future – it’s what the boat show was invented for.
Photo:By RNLI Photographer of the Year (2008) Hanna Nuuttila, volunteer crew member at New Quay lifeboat station in mid-Wales. Hanna’s winning image shows Pwllheli Mersey class all-weather lifeboat which came to the aid of the 35-foot sailing yacht, Galasma, in force nine severe gales, high waves and poor visibility. The rescue was a long and arduous one for the volunteer lifeboat crews aboard New Quay and Pwllheli all-weather lifeboats.
See Kelly Brook and the crew of HMS Westminster cutting the ribbon in this opening ceremony video: