Stranded high and dry in the remote fastness of London Docklands’ exhibition centre, Excel, this year’s latest models in the luxury yacht ranks had a somewhat forlorn sameness about them. Wandering past surried ranks of vessels, in gleaming whiteness and streamlined styling, it was all too easy to feel that once you’ve seen one millionaire’s toy boat, you’ve seen them all.
Nonsense, of course. On the preview day of the London Boat Show, early afficionados were already clambering over the decks and into the cabins, inspecting the latest refinements and new developments that the very best of boat builders have created. No doubt the £24 M price tag on the top Sunseeker model was a tad much for many old salts but there were plenty of more reasonably (depending upon your wallet viewpoint) priced yachts to tempt the nautical fraternity.
For some, however, the beauty of sail remains the boating standard. And indeed the polished wood and soaring sails of the little sailing ships on display had a distinctive and romantic allure that the mega yachts could not match. Of course, these are by no means the simple vessels of nostalgia, and are equipped with the latest developments, yet also benefit, devotees aver, from the real nautical experience of sail power.
It seems we are still a nation that loves messing about in boats, with some 130,000 visitors attending the show over its 10 days, and quite a few of those placed orders. Many others, it seems, will dream on about their yachting tomorrows.
Sunseeker launched its 37M Tri-Deck model,at top, a super yacht for the super rich at just under 124 feet and 200 tonnes, each to be customised to requirements. This British boatbuilder is the world’s largest privately-owned manufacturer, doing its best to ensure that Britain still rules the waves. For more info on the luxury features go to sunseeker
The beautiful Discovery 55 sailing yacht, above right, is now joined by the Discovery 65 and later this year to be joined by a 50ft catamaran. This is a yacht designed for blue-water cruising, built to the highest standards of British craftsmanship, winner of the coveted ‘Best Deluxe Crusing Boat’ award in the U.S. See discoveryyachts.co.uk
From another British boat builder, ICE Marine Ltd, comes the distinctive hydrofoil Bladerunner series, with these dramatic twin stepped hulls and twin tunnels, shown above. The Series 35 RIB made its debut at the Boat Show, joining the Bladerunner 35 and the Bladerunner 51, the latter breaking the Round Britain World Record. See full details on icemarine.com