Boats appear to be back in fashion and sales are holding up well compared with this time last year. Perhaps it’s just the sunny start to the season, or a “devil may care” response to the World’s political turmoil. Either way, here at HSC the mood is positive, particularly as the late Easter has given us an extra couple of weeks to apply the final coats of antifouling and varnish, while the air temperature rises a few degrees.

*Photo by Slim Aarons – La Dolce Vita

HSC’s charter operation this summer

PureBoating logo

Mid April suited us fine at HSC to launch PureBoating at the Boathouse in Wallingford. We now have 4 electric boats there, including our new 11-seater “Morse”, as well as a smart new kiosk. While the plan is to have online booking operating as soon as possible, websites always take longer to build than the pyramids! As soon as the new website is fit for purpose, we will send out an email.

Midsomer Maiden

Midsomer Maiden

In the meantime phones have been ringing off the hook as both regular and new customers are eager to go boating once more. We are delighted to report record bookings for “Midsomer Maiden”, which will be operating between our Henley and Sonning bases this summer. Please use our direct charter line number if you’d like to make a booking at weekends, by calling: 07436 812508. During the week, and for skippered charter, please continue to ring the office.

News from the Swan at Streatley is that the garden and the new bar are open for business, but we won’t be operating any day hire from there until 2018. Looking at the plans I think the result will be worth the wait. In the meantime, we plan to have “Barnaby” running out of the Leatherne Bottel in Goring. Their reception will be taking bookings from late May.

Fancy a quintessential British summer?

All inclusive packages with beautiful vintage cars and boats

All inclusive packages with beautiful vintage cars and boats

If you want to offer a special gift to a city bound friend in need of a breath of country air, Richard Prunier, who is the proud purchaser of two stunning HSC classic boats, has started a company called Vintage Days Out. Take a look at his website where you will also see two vintage cars, and a delicious afternoon tea presented by our friend Charlotte of Time for Tea. Both Richard and Charlotte have founded companies based on quintessential British summer eccentricity.

Barnaby X

Barnaby X

Talking of quintessential Britishness, even the rather high brow British bulldog, Jeremy Paxman, ventured on to our screens to extol the virtues of Father Thames. And guess what? He was driving our very own “Barnaby”, built by one of our Commonwealth partners, The Canadian Electric Boat Company!

Flowers afloat

Lucie rowing (and glowing) at last year's Floral Flotilla

Lucie rowing (and glowing) at last year’s Floral Flotilla

As with children, most boat owners believe that their boat is the most beautiful. Well now is your chance to prove it. The Chelsea fringe is celebrating its third year in Henley with a Floral Flotilla. Come and join in the fun on June 4th in Henley-on-Thames (from 2-4pm).

The Flotilla is this year’s closing event. Boats will muster at 2pm at the Mill Meadows moorings, where there will be a chance to decorate your craft with flowers, fruit, vegetables and vegetation. There will be a parade upstream to Marsh Lock, round Eyot Island, under the bridge to Phyllis Court and then back on to your mooring. The event will be accompanied by a community picnic on Mill Meadows, music from the bandstand and stalls selling floral tea and cakes for those without a picnic.

*With thanks to the Henley Herald – www.henleyherald.co.uk – for the photo above

Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show 2017

Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show aerial shot

Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show aerial shot

Don’t despair if you have not got a boat to show off at the Flotilla, as there will be plenty of opportunity to admire and purchase one on June 2nd and 3rd at Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show, which will then still give you time to enjoy both the Floral Flotilla and the whole summer. We will be exhibiting from June 2nd at Beale Park with boats on the water (near the beer tent), and of course at our yard on the left as you exit the Beale Park estate.

Congrats to Will Stirling

Life Aquatic

Life Aquatic

Classic Boat Magazine’s annual prize winner in the “Powered vessels over 40ft” category this year, is Will Stirling’s magnificent “Life Aquatic”.

"Silver Sonnet" is awaiting your offers

“Silver Sonnet” is awaiting your offers

We also have a Silver for sale in need of restoration. Seeing what Will has done is an inspiration. If you fancy heading north to the Baltic or south to the Med for the summer of 2018, make us an offer for “Silver Sonnet” and perhaps next year’s prize will be yours.

Henley Technical Services

Henley Technical Services logo

Speaking of projects, Henley Technical Services’ Steve Hoile, my now cherished husband, is looking forward to his next major electric installation on the shores of Lake Coniston in Cumbria. Steve is working with Hamish Patterson on an updated electric version of the Windermere launch, which you will see on the water at the Beale Park Boat Show.

End of an era

Carlo Riva driving a Riva

Carlo Riva driving a Riva

R.I.P Carlo Riva, pater familias of the great Riva dynasty. Although he was born at a time when boats could only be made from trees, and glass fibre was as remote as the space age, he did come to embrace GRP during his lifetime. As we know Riva is no longer a European company, but let’s not dwell on politics, and let us celebrate the fact that there are still contemporary boat builders working in wonderful ways with wood.

Riva Tritone "Sea Hawk"

Riva Tritone “Sea Hawk”

Alongside the Riva Tritone (hull number 86) built in 1958/1959, we have the wonderful “Henrietta” on our books, so called for its builder, Colin Henwood, who is one of the finest boat builders of his generation.

"Henrietta"

“Henrietta”

To my mind, this would be the perfect launch for exploring the Venetian lagoon. We are now open to offers for “Henrietta” of around £100,000, which is a snip considering the workmanship.

Come and see us at 5, Friday street

If the real thing is beyond your reach or simply too large for your mooring, Jules Campbell, who has been at the helm at Boatique for a month now, can sell you a stunning scale model Riva.

Marine Business' cushions and Authentic Models' signal pennant

Marine Business’ cushions and Authentic Models’ signal pennant

While continuing with many of our product lines including Authentic Models and Marine Business, Jules is introducing some exciting new brands. If you are passing through Henley, do drop by and say “Hi”, as Jules is open all week, including Saturday and Sunday (but closed on Tuesday). Otherwise visit the rejuvenated Boatique.co.uk website.

Gail and I also always welcome visitors to our crows-nest office on the first floor at 5, Friday street. So please don’t leave Henley without coming aloft for a chat.

If you are one of our more remote readers and enjoy our newsletter from the dockside in Perth, Antigua or Vancouver, please, send me your photos and stories electronically, as I would love to share them.