Tuesday, 7 January 2014

London International Boat Show

....I wonder what relevance the "international" bit has in the name....  other than that it makes it sound better???

So yesterday Jellybean Phil [clicky] and I legged it up to the Excel to have a look round the London Boat Show - my normal stomping ground for such things is the Southampton show, this is the first time I've been to the London Show in years (30+???) and last time it was at Earls Court...

The world’s oldest complete steamship - SS Robin - the last of her type in the world. Built in 1890 at Thames Ironworks shipyard and in continuous service from then until 1974; she’s undergoing final restoration work before opening to the public this year
Now I know the Excel (my other hobby is wargaming and the biggest UK wargame show in the year is the same location) but it's a bit of a pain to get to, and since last year they've bought in flat rate car parking at £15 a throw..  ouch...   a little harsh on top of the £10 to get in....

Once in the display area is huge - at least four of the exhibition areas in one - but the overwhelming effect is space - they've spread out stuff to fill the area and it does show...  there also weren't very many people, I know it was a Monday and all that but even so - there couldn't have been more than what 600 or 700 people in there?

Ben Ainslie's boat from his record breaking Round the Island last year

The sail reminded Phil of the balsa wood planes he used to build all those years ago...

The overall effect was just of brutal efficiency - lots of carbon fibre and nothing frivolous

The show was light on sailing boats - perhaps no more than 20 or so big ones and then the dinghies etc. The motor boats were well represented but we gave up on them when the nice lady told us she wouldn't let us on until we had given our emailid's...  no thanks...

The usual 'ancillary' stands that you see at Southampton also abounded - not such a problem at Southampton as the show is huge, but here they kind of stood out - so wooden furniture, aromatherapy, pictures, massage chairs, jacuzzi's etc. Space fillers basically..

They have a huge amount of water outside (Excel is Dockland so lots of dry dock space) but there were only 4 or 5 boats out there...  couldn't understand it??  Two huge gin palaces, a couple of historic tugs/fire boats, and a London barge (which was lovely)..  but where were the yachts? Ribs? Have a go experiences? I know it's January, but even so?!

I see no yachts....
In terms of boats seen and visited - the vast majority of new boats look the same to me now (it's a bit like modern cars),  so the excitement has waned over the years and I find I go on less and less of them as the years go by - mostly they are white, with varying quantities of chipboard veneer (and the quality of said veneer was poor this year on what are supposed to be display/show boats - scuffed, dinged, scratched we saw it all) - real AWB's in every sense of the word.

One boat that did buck the trend (for me anyway) were the racing versions of the J boats. I particularly liked the J88 interior as it was clean, stripped down, puritan almost - owning Sparrow has given me a liking for being able to see the fixings for the skin fittings, and this featured heavily....  the J88 had a really good idea for storage - full length cockpit bags on each side of the cabin - very clever...  I wouldn't want the boat but there were lots of ideas to go away with...

J88 interior - no lining at all - that's hull you can see around the windows... duff place for radio though - too far from companionway

J88 interior - note storage ...
J88 exterior - nice big cockpit - lots of winches....!
Got some good advice from the guy on the West Systems stand on doing the nose repair on Sparrow - I need to construct a dam, or shelf, to support the epoxy I'm building up the area with, and he told me blu tack and plasticine could both be used - or rolled up newspaper pressed into shape and covered with parcel tape....   looking forward to having a go but I need warmer weather first....

Had a Guinness or two and met a "Coral" Paul for a chat and a chin wag.... it may be the Guinness but we may have agreed to do the Round the Island in "Coral" this year! 

Overall??? 6 out of 10, but I'm not going again... much, much (much) prefer Southampton.. I think the Excel Show will die purely because of low footfall...my thanks to Jellybean for the lift, I've just about managed to unclench my hands.....

2 comments:

  1. Thank Steve, a good day out and I would second every thing you have said. I would also add that for me the exhibitors didn't seem to exude any buzz or enthusiasm. I sometimes felt that I was a hinderance to them. Shame really, I don't think I'll go back.

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  2. My impression of the show was exactly the same. It seems that the guys in the city with their bonuses were the target of the show (hence why every mobo stand had a champagne bar), whereas the "ordinary" sailor was pretty poorly represented.

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