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Best of British at London Boat Show

Britains finest motor boat manufacturers sail into town at the 2013 London Boat Show.

Published: 14 Jan 2013

The London boat show has once again sailed into London’s Royal Docks, and this year the fleet is made up of the finest in British made boats. With all major British leisure boat builders well represented, the 2013 show is also a fantastic opportunity for several new vessels to make their debut appearance under the Excel exhibition centre spotlights. First out of port is Poole based Sunseeker, who unveiled two of their latest models, an updated San Remo and the Predator 68, whilst Plymouth based boat builder Princess, powered their latest Princess 82 and Princess 52 motor yachts into dock.

As a visitor to the show, you are welcomed on-board a number of these yachts and for a few moments, you can dream of a life on the open seas. We were kindly given a tour of one of the largest ships berthed in Excel, the Princess 82. With what we can only described as a floating palace, the Princess 82, boasts three decks, designer interior, bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms with not only showers but a bath too, not forgetting a large lounge that would rival most of the Docklands apartments nearby. This £2.7m floating palace deservedly has pride of place on the Princess stand and is a definite must see.

For those with smaller budgets and a big appetite for fun, Kent based hovercraft manufacturer “Flying Fish Hovercraft” were on hand with their latest hovering offering. Director, Emma Pullen said she “is immensely proud that her and her team were able to manufacture in the UK, the birthplace of the hovercraft”. She added that “British manufacturing has a lot of advantages over China, in terms of quality of production, delivery times and customer service”. She just needs to find a British-made engine, so maybe someone out there can help her?!

As with such a prestigious show, there is no shortage of British made luxury items on offer to keep your boat in good company. With the fantastic British boats on display, it was lovely to see that our British car manufacturers had also made journey to the capital, with both Aston Martin and Land Rover showcasing their latest ranges. A hidden gem at the show is also a recently restored vintage Rolls Royce, which is well worth hunting out.

For the nautical bargain hunter, the flotilla of smaller stands offered a good range of boats and accessories to accommodate every budget, together with a selection of show only discounts on the latest innovative boating products. We chatted to Irvine based plastics manufacturer Hurricane Mouldings who make boat fenders (they surround and protect your boat from damage). They had made the long trip south from Scotland and had their wide range of fenders on display. We were impressed with the quality of their fenders which start from around just £8, and especially since they can mould a logo or your boat name, in your colours into it for a small extra charge. We say if your in the market for a fender then you should certainly be buying these British ones.

Also proud of their Norfolk manufacturing base was surface protection specialist “A Glaze”. Technical manager Clive Hancock, explained “that the innovative protective coatings they produce at their watton factory, help reduce boat drag which lead to a reduction in the amount of fuel used, and they also make the boat much, much easier to clean”. Demonstrating his products, in front of a stand emblazoned with the British flag and a “Made In Britain” tag line, he added that “A Glaze products are not just for boats, they work well on cars and they are currently in the process of coating aeroplanes with the stuff”.

Younger sailors, not yet old enough nor with sufficient pocket money to take the helm of one of the larger vessels, aren’t left out either. Budding sea boys and girls, can grasp the opportunity to play captain (or captainess) and test their marine skills, albeit at the helm of a smaller remote control model yacht. It is good to see that the show is attracting visitors from far and wide to this waterside location in London’s east end, with visitor numbers up on last year.

The London boat show 2013 is sponsored by Tullet prebon a broker in the nearby City of London. So in conclusion and after our trip there this week we are very pleased to announce, officially, that ‘Britain still rules the waves’. But only until Sunday 20th as the show finishes this weekend, so get there pronto !.

Advance tickets start from £10.

Reporter : Alastair Grant