Thursday, 22 September 2016

Southampton Boat Show 2016 and other stuff..

Bit of an involuntary hiatus in the season has been hit ... 
  • third week in a row now of either duff tides (very early/0700'ish and correspondingly late) or,
  • weather...  We seem to have hit a period of it either blowing old boots, or flat as a flat thing...  
  • Google also tells me it's the first day of Autumn today so the other issue for this time of the year is earlier evenings..  beginning to come on for dusk from 1900'ish so that rules out post work sailing..
...  what is increasingly frustrating though is that mid-week conditions have been superb at times... while I've been at work...

..all of which means that as much as I'd like to - not much sailing has been done but it doesn't mean stuff hasn't been happening..

Got out to Sparrow last weekend to check her out - some rain as usual but otherwise good... I did take the opportunity to put a whipping on some new line I picked up cheap at Homebase (of all places) and replaced the thinner cord I was using on the kicker - looks good - time will tell if this is just a cheap piece of old tat and can stand up to the wear and tear...

I have also obtained a "pre-used" (so much nicer than "second hand" ) stainless steel boarding ladder for a decent price, so that's been added to the winter job list... I've also started ordering bits and pieces I know I'll need for other jobs - neoprene tape for the replacement hatches is on it's way..

Other than that, on Sunday the current Mrs Steve The Wargamer and I made the yearly pilgrimage to that temple of all things boaty'ness, the Southampton Boat Show, and had a cracking day - we were joined by my sister and bro-in-law which made it even better..

I thought it was a good year this year with some definite signs of improvement in the area of small boats....  very refreshing in these days of 40 footers as "introductory" boats...

In a conversation with one of the boat builders on the pontoon he mentioned that 80-90%+ of all new fibreglass boats built in Europe come from either Poland or Portugal these days - no idea if this is true, but as a small boat sailor I have an interest in sub 30' boats and all the ones I saw today were built in Poland....

So first off - the Sedna 21 (which is marketed by Legend yachts in the UK) - forgot my camera by the way so apologies for phone pictures...  apparently this is a top seller in the UK..   Polish boat builder...

Nothing too fancy or clever on deck... the back rests come off for sailing (that's clever)..  lovely clean lines, good deck hardware, nice open cockpit...

Lifting keel housed within the table - note also compression post..

Despite size, spacious down below - "galley" and electrics

..but this is clever - full width double bunk under the cockpit sole... and behind me was an enclosed heads with chemical loo...

No idea how much she costs as there doesn't seem to be any mention on line of this model - but I seem to remember a sticky on the side of the boat saying £21K + vat

They make a 24 [clicky] as well, which I would like to have had a look at but the crowds round it were something to behold - think they did a review a few months ago in PBO so may be that caused the interest..

So a wonder round the myriad traders in the halls - so much stuff you never knew you needed - a pint of Guinness (£5! ouch) and down on to the pontoons past the dramatic looking Artemis [clicky]

..and on to Artemis - where we watched the Royal Navy sky diving display

...shame we couldn't actually see her sailing - she's a beautiful boat with an interesting history...

...and then on to see some more boats...  first off - among a veritable tsunami, an ocean, of white plastic this one leapt out like an oasis to a parched man in the desert...  French (naturellement ) and an absolute, stripped out, no nonsense, speed machine....  but so beautiful...  model is "Code 0 Spirit" and made by "Black Pepper" [clicky] the racier version of their cruiser of the same name

Bro in law and I had a look below and there really was nothing except a single bench seat...  notice the single winch on a pedestal in the centre of the cockpit? All lines feed to it via the hole behind it...

Notice the rudder? Twin rudders single tiller - not seen that before...  Scrumptious....

So on to the next which was a surprise to me in that I like it so much - even more so when the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer said she'd come sailing if I had one of these ==>

A Haber 620 [clicky] (mtr's - so about 19' ish) another Polish builder - so good to see new small boats on the market - and I really really liked this - quirky - put me in mind of a marine version of a Morris Minor..  loved it..  Gunter rig, single lift keel

Would have liked to have had a look below but it didn't seem to be on offer so the following from various web pages/sites..

Seats/table convert to bunk ==>

So much light! 1.8m standing head room apparently! enclosed heads (chemical) - really liked this little boat...  review here [clicky] and more detail here [clicky]..  US review quotes estimate of $30K sail away - so much the same as the Sedna

So mooched on and admired as ever the boats on the Spirit Yachts pontoon - this is the new Spirit 47CR - the first of a new cruising line and currently up for the European Yacht of the Year award

Simply beautiful - but so impractical as far as yours truly is concerned...  I'd go potty maintaining all that varnish....  oh, and she really is traditional - she's cold moulded in wood rather than GRP

...and that was largely it...  wandered back to the entrance to have a chat with Jelly Bean Phil [clicky], who had bought Ciao Bella to the show as part of the Practical Boat Owner "Cheap Sailing" initiative, where he was sharing a stand with Dave Selby [clicky] and doing a sterling job demo'ing Silky cleaning stuff .. couldn't believe how good Ciao looked on the side away from the crowd, Phil ..

One last boat that I didn't get chance to go on - peeps were knackered - next year I think as she looked quite nice..  and yes, another Polish builder - bravo!

Very successful day - replaced my grab bag (new waterproof 10L bag for a tenner), bought myself a new sail bag (old one was always just a little too small), but I also got 17mtrs of 8mm braid on braid, shiny this time, to replace the genoa sheets 0 bargain for £15..  interested to see if they make tacking faster...


  1. Replies
    1. Max - in my humble, admittedly Francophile, view, the French do sailing boats better than anyone I know, and this was a jaw dropper... porn on water... :o)

  2. "The current Mrs Steve Thewargamer"? Do you trade them every season and get a new one? - Tell me how to go about it LOL.

    What is that long slot on the side deck of the yacht in the first photo? or do I require new glasses?

    1. Alden - it's an old joke from one of the old veteran broadcasters on the BBC, he always said if you put "current" in front of your wife's name whenever introducing her, it kept her on her toes.. :o))

    2. PS. Not a slot, a foam padded back rest that slots into two holes on the coaming and that you can remove if required depending on sailing conditions

  3. Was good to see you Steve, pity we couldn't stop for a beer :(

    1. Phil - you were doing good business and I didn't want to hold you up... put up a post when you have the time I'd be interested to hear what you thought of being an exhibitor as opposed to customer.. :o) Beer next time..

  4. Steve, it looks like the boats that caught my eye also caught yours. One other I picked out was the W1da, The Wild atlantic 33 Ocean One Design. It looked nice with a red hull: very striking against the acres of white. I went over for a closer look. The electric drive put me off straight away. Quickly followed by the £170,000 price tag. The Sedna 24 at £29,995 looks good value for money compared to that. I'm convinced that PBO have the right idea: as we know there are thousands of indestructible small GRP boats out there available for peanuts. There's a whole untapped industry in terms of supplying decent cheap parts and accessories to the impoverished sailor. Maybe the margins aren't so good and you have to be a bit more savvy about what you supply, but it would be nice if someone started to service the budget end of the sailing spectrum.

    1. Mark - agreed - thousands of mall boats on the 60's and 70's were launched with fairly common fittings.. both boats I've had despite being different makes had Sparlight masts/booms for example, no longer made, there must be a market for a cheaper alternative to the more up market mast makers.. there are thousands of Centaurs (and other Westerly's) to tap into for hatch covers and the like...

    2. Steve, I just wonder if it's a market that you could actually develop. I mean there's nothing there at the moment, it's virgin territory. By supplying the old, small boat market you could actually create the market. Many projects have stalled due to the cost of buying items. I mean used winches are a hellish coat, because new ones are even more expensive. If cheap, reliable options could be made available then many more old boats might be completed and get back on the water. It's a shame old boats get cut up because their accessories are worth more parted out than the value of the boat as a complete unit.
      The main problem is ensuring decent/reliable standards of quality using far eastern suppliers.