Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Southampton Boat Show 2011

...or SIBS as it is known to us cognoscenti, has just finished and I had the best of luck to go on the last Sunday of the show on the back of some complimentary tickets my sister had managed to source through her work .....

..a truly brilliant day had by all (my eldest and her boyfriend joined us - my wife is at best antipathetic to sailing, and my youngest finds the boat show the most boring experience anyone has ever inflicted on her...
)

Eldest and beau split off for the day with plans to meet at lunchtime, but we had an unofficial competition between the groups to see who could get on to the most expensive boat on the day * so it promised to be fun...!

My sister and I had a mooch around the tents and land-side displays - I looked around the biggest of the Beneteau (SenSe 50) and Jeaneau (Sun Odyssey 509) boats but wasn't really excited - they really are pretty uninspiring inside, the best thing about them is the outside - some lovely hull shapes... as a comparison I also went round the two smallest Beneteau's ( First 30, Oceanis 31) and was similarly uninspired...  I noted large square portholes on almost all the new boats this year (yuck), and teak toe rails (very classy) seem to have replaced the slotted aluminium you always used to see...

Following the almost obligatory pint of Guiness at the Guiness stand, we headed out on to the pontoons to check the boats there. My prizes for the best boats were the one's we went on on the pontoon - the side facing Southampton Water is where they put the big expensive one's...

My best boat prizes go to Oyster and Discovery - we went on two boats - the Oyster 575 (that's her to the left) was a truly awesome boat - just beautiful from head to toe - the fittings were exquisite, the layout lovely, every electronic gadget known to man (almost TV sized colour plotters!). My prize for best boat this year however, was the Discovery 55 - picture says it all really...  what swung it for me were the two seats they had moulded on to the sides of the pulpit - stainless steel with teak benches so you can sit comfortably as your boat sails through the water - genius!



HMS Bulwark was also there doing their bit for the Royal Navy - not as pretty but very interesting manoeuvring in the afternoon to allow one of her Landing Craft Utility Mk 10's to take off a tracked vehicle - a Bv 206 armoured all-terrain tracked carrier - presumably to make room for herself to dock at a later point... I have an interest in things military so apologies for the following geekery...

It looks like she has room for four of each with a speed of 8.5 knots, and a capacity of either 1 main battle tank, 4 large vehicles, or 120 troops..

Bulwark sinks so as to make that deck awash for launching and recovering the Landing Craft but in this case all she did was drop the back gate and the Landing Craft moved up, dropped it's ramp, and the vehicle drove over without even making the Landing craft secure - swift & skilled work..



...and that was it for a truly exhausting but brilliant day - sore feet all round...

* My eldest won - she and her boyfriend managed to blag their way on to one of the big Sunseeker's I think - either way they came back and told us it was worth 13 or 14 million (sterling 'natch) - I think my sis and I heard the salesman say that the Oyster was worth £1.75M - it's a different world my friends....!

Post edit - she may have been right the, Sunseeker Predator 130 was officially the most expensive boat at the show at £13,200,000 (ex VAT!)

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