More work needed

Like a giant Christmas cracker I found this year’s London Boat Show a thrill to behold, but the contents a trifle disappointing.

Coming off the excellent Docklands Light Railway and onto the new Prince Regent station was a joy: the oversized Olympic pool (excluding depth) witnessed through plate glass windows was a genuinely impressive sight, creating the ‘wow’ factor National Boat Shows have been working hard to create.

The way the hall lowers you down into the show via a ramp I like too: it gives one a real sense of ‘arrival’ and the ability to look at the show with elevation.

The mast-up section was a disappointment for sailors with only two small dayboats sporting the full rig and the other Oysters and suchlike just stayed up with dummy sawn-off spars.

Likewise the second-hand section: a wonderful feature if you like crossing the ocean in a plate glass living room at 40 knots, but not if you enjoy sailing.

As usual the rip-off food prices were a disgrace: one bacon and egg toastie for £5.90 and a milky coffee £2.40: no wonder many people sat with flasks and sarnies: good luck to them I will follow suit next year.

But the real inspiration of the show for me this year was the Knowledge Box presentation by Mark Covell on Saturday. The breath-taking footage of extreme sailing had the stand packed out with all seats taken and standing room only.

John Goode’s Cruising Chute demo was the best practical at the show and NBS would do well to incorporate more of these as there were never less than 200 spectators at each showing.

The Classic Boat stand has also become a must-see at the show. Again it is as popular with glassies as it is with woodies. This year had some master shipwrights from the excellent Down’s Road Boatyard at Maldon, Essex.