Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Friday, 16 January 2015

Disappointing Boat Show

Jim, myself and my son Josh went to the boat show today.

To be honest it was a disappointment compared to the Southampton show.

If I had an interest in huge motor boats, then I'm sure the show would appeal, but I don't so it didn't. The telling thing was the Champagne bars on the mobo stands. It pretty obvious who the London Boat Show is aimed at: the people that work in the City of London, the people getting the huge wages and bonuses.

So not having an interest in huge mobos meant that probably 60% of the show wasn't relevant for us. Not having an interest in water jet powered surfboards, or folding dinghies, or Range Rovers meant that the total sum of interest we had in the show was about 20%.

We talked to the guys on the Ben Ainslie racing stand where Joshua tried an Occulus Rift Virtual Reality headset. Now he wants one.... better start saving then Josh!

They also had a 3D printer working on the stand. They print prototype parts out for theire boats first in plastic to confirm the concept and the fit cheaply, then the 3D print the item in metal. They had a 3D printed bike frame on their stand. Of course SpaceX now use 3D printed metal parts in their rocket motors, so the technology and the materials used in the higher end of 3D printing can withstand same tough treatment. Interesting stuff. All they need to do is have a 3D printer that weaves carbon fibres into shapes at the same time as laminating them with epoxy.. 3D printed boat hulls anyone?

So, the BAR stand interested use for 20 mins or so. Then we cruised the small stands, where I picked up a waterproof case for my HUDL2 tablet. The case has a port for a headphone lead, but a while back I ordered a micro USB plug so I can make up my own adapter lead to make it into a power lead. All I need are the 3.5mm jack plug and socket and I'll be in business with a powered waterproof tablet case.

But that's about it. Some of the electronics companies were showing off new kit but its so expensive its only worth a passing interest. Certainly not something I could consider actually buying.

So there you have it, the London Boat Show: Shiny, Spectacular, but not at all relevant to the Skint Sailor.

We never did find the picture of my sails Jim took. It doesn't seem to have been anywhere we looked at the boat show at all.


  1. Yup - went last year and that was my experience as well.. never again - nothing like as good as Southampton

  2. Its certainly changed and Southampton seems the premiere boat show for ordinary sailors. There and Beaulieu boat jumble for the small companies selling accessories.

  3. There did not appear to be any big headline events or even big news coming out of this show so i decided not to pay the £60 return train fare to attend. I haven't been to a boat show for years, used to attend one at Bingley hall in Birmingham with my dad 30 odd years ago. I find it a bit irritating all the big gin palaces with people queuing up to get on for a look. I believe there was an event at Beale park for the smaller dingy type boats but I never went. One reason i would go in the future is to look at some of the share crew stands if there are any as i sometimes crew on other peoples boats, but am not registered with any of these outfits at the moment as the cost was around £75 last time I looked.

  4. Michael, luckily I didn't pay big money to get to the show: £18 return on the coach and a couple of pings on my Oyster card. I did pay for a couple of tickets But in September they were half price. Then I got the two freebies so even entry was cheap.

    But its definitely aimed at the higher end boater, with not much for the ordinary person. There were a handful of small sailing boats and I was looking forward to seeing what a modern small sailing cruiser would look like, but there was nothing I'd class as comparable to mine or Jim's boats. all we saw were jumped up racing dinghies or trad-style gaffer types.

    Nope, Southampton seems to be where all the "ordinary" firms are.

    I need to have a peek at Beaulieu this year too. When I went there last, it almost made me feel I could run a powerboat... ;-)