I recently fulfilled one of my childhood dreams which was to gallivant around the superyachts at the London boat show. Growing up in the sunny, distant land of Cornwall much of my time was spent on the water, in numerous aquatic vessels. I can even remember the first time my parents bought a boat and the years to follow of the whole family dog included, getting into a punt and rowing out to our mooring. Living in Falmouth also exposed me to some of the worlds largest private yachts and motor cruisers. I remember taking my tender to inspect Abramovich’s latest yacht, Eclipse.
Now that I live in London the ExCel centre is not so much of a mission to get to. The ExCel arena is vast and the number of boats within it stretches further than the eye can see. As you enter you come across a huge pool with inflatable tubes you run around in. I’m assuming to keep the youngsters entertained, while grown ups went shopping for a new cruiser!
The dominating stand within the arena was that of Sunseeker. It was situated right in the center of the room and featured an array of 8 superyachts ranging from 40ft to 95ft. Each and everyone looked like it had been polished for hours on end, with gleaming chrome features and freshly waxed teak decking. Every boat had a hostess and each of them seemed to be identical twins with bleached blonde hair and maybe spent too long on a sun bed each morning. They would be in charge of showing you around and booking you an appointment with a sales representative should you be interested in purchasing. We put on some protective, overshoes and looking like smurfs we looked around their 75ft yacht.
The kitchen and living room took up the majority of the first deck. There was easily enough room to have 15 people mingling with champagne in hand or whiskey from the crystal decanter set, laid out on the table. Lots of the items displayed would make an incredible mess when hurtling full speed through a 7ft swell. The helm was full of gadgets and gizmos and 3 huge screens, with GPS, radar and charts where laid out in front to ensure you don’t ground your £3million boat.
While sailing in the Helford passage a couple years ago I witnessed someone in a 56ft Princess yacht try to moor to a channel buoy at low tide. He then spent the next 4 hours waiting for the tide to come back in again while people took photos of his boat grounded on the sandbar, even all those instruments don’t make up for brains!
The bedrooms were nothing spectacular, there was capacity to sleep 8 however the space was limited and sleeping 6 in more comfort would be more suitable in my personal opinion. I would have loved to go around the 40 meter yacht, which was unveiled 3 and a half years ago but viewing was strictly by appointment and I frankly didn’t have the patience to wait.
Sunseeker announced that this was their most successful boatshow of the last 3 years, having made sales across their entire range. Who knows what 2014 will bring, should it be successful then maybe I’ll be posting a blog from the flydeck while we’re sailing around the mediterranean!
Any James Bond fan will know exactly what a Riva is, it’s the epitome of class and the Rolls Royce of the ocean. The Aquamarina which as built between 1962 and 1996 made the Riva a legend. Capable of 50 knots, powered by it’s 400hp cadillac engine it balanced performance and luxury and it was crafted from sleek mahogany. Purists do say that the current boats, while upholding their luxury pedigree are lacking in performance because they are now powered by diesel engines and are no longer capable of the high speeds of their predecessors. I think the boats still look magnificent and would make a great addition to any home along the Mediterranean coastline.
There where also some slightly different aquatic vehicles on display one being a hovercraft. For under £20,000 you could get a hovercraft capable of crossing the channel at up to 40mph. With many of the flooding in England and Wales recently anyone with one of these must be feeling rather chuffed. They have a large selling point as a commercial vehicle as they can carry large loads quickly across terrain any other vehicle would find impassable.
To round off the day we made our only purchase which was that of two candles made from off cuts of Acacia wood sourced in Thailand and shipped to Ireland where it’s shaped in beautiful tables.
As far as I’m aware this year the London Boat Show wasn’t home to any new big launches making the champagne at the event rather lacking. There was a Guinness bar that was proving very popular, if I was a sales man I would be handing out champagne by the bottle as with every sip you can practically see someone justifying that purchase.
Have you visited a boat show recently? If so what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!