The razzamatazz of the new look London Boat Show, complete with champagne bar and speak easy jazz piano (oh yes and a few shiny boats), is now behind us and as the days lengthen we start to think about spring launching. In our new year enthusiasm we have ordered a couple of Scoops to keep in stock at E-Boatique as well as a little Ace for the day hire fleet at Pure Boating.

Stars of print and screen!

The year certainly got off to a fine start as we braved the vagaries of London Transport and headed east to Excel to man our stand at this year’s London Boat Show.

Both E-Boatique and HSC were represented at the London Boat Show.

Both E-Boatique and HSC were represented at the London Boat Show.

We loved our spot near the East entrance to the show and the champagne bar and it seems that the visiting public loved us too. We were glowing after 5 days of compliments and a number of in depth interviews with the press ably organised by Henry of 2112 marketing in Henley. It was refreshing to speak to a LGBT publication called ‘Vada’ as well as the more mainstream boating magazines.

Our boats were closely inspected!

Our boats were closely inspected!

For those of us who still like our fish and chips wrapped in newspaper the online publications seem somewhat irrelevant. However there are thousands upon thousands of readers who prefer to get their news online and travelling on public transport this becomes ever more apparent.

I guess if I had to commute for 90 minutes a day rather than freewheel on my bike down to the river, I might be a subscriber to one or several of these eminently readable publications.

Gillian & Steve filming with the Reuters team.

Gillian & Steve filming with the Reuters team.

We are hopeful that we will also appear in the now rather quaintly old fashioned pink printed pages of my favourite weekend read, the FT, and we have spent several hours in the company of Reuters TV presenters who will be syndicating a piece on electric propulsion to the world and especially China!

"Ferryman" - a Windermere 27

“Ferryman” – a Windermere 27

Thanks to all of our readers and customers who came to say “hello” on the stand. You were very welcome. I hope you enjoyed the Loddon Ferryman’s Gold kindly donated by our local Loddon Brewery. Stuart got quite a taste for it I believe and we sent back to the builders of the Ferryman Windermere 27 a locker full of bottles to thank them for their hard work in producing this lovely launch.

Get your boat ready for the season

Beale park work shop

Beale park work shop

While we were busy basking in the limelight at the London Boat Show, work continued apace at Beale Park with Ellie and Toby rubbing down and varnishing in the work shop.

If there are jobs that you would like us to quote for prior to spring relaunch, bear in mind that Easter comes very early this year (Easter Sunday – April 1st), so there is little time ahead. Contact us as soon as possible so we can book your boat in.

A very special book recommendation

Another first for the New Year was the launch of my daughter Chloe’s first book. Chloe is an anthropologist who is currently doing research in Papua New Guinea. However her doctoral research was focused around a tribe in northern Brazil called ‘the Enawene-nawe’ who are river dwellers. I know that Chloe enjoys reading my newsletter as she was immersed in my business from a young age, constantly hearing talk of boats and river events and even crewing on charters as a student.

10-year old Chloe (summer 1994) at the helm of our electric canoe: "Millers Lass" (left) Vital Diplomacy book cover (right)

10-year old Chloe (summer 1994) at the helm of our electric canoe: “Millers Lass” (left) Vital Diplomacy book cover (right)

Here is what she says about her book for HSC readers:

”I grew up on the River Thames opening locks with the big wheel and levers and hanging around at boat shows watching my mum swing into action. As a teenager I coxed, then sculled, and then, while at Cambridge, I rowed for my college. The mist rising from the river at night and in the early morning sustained me through the frozen fingers and heaving lungs.

In 2006 I first went to visit the Enawene-nawe in Brazil’s Mato Grosso State, taking a 6 hour journey up the Juruena River and its tributaries and arriving after dark, winding through the narrow headwaters and miraculously not running the outboard aground. I wasn’t driving!

The Enawene are river people: expert navigators and fishermen. They are famous for the temporary wooden fishing dams they build annually to coincide with the downriver migration of fish after spawning and for their colourful and constant ceremonial life. In the book I try to explain what motivates their tireless collective ritual dancing, feasting and work.

Boat owners will certainly find something of interest in Chapter 1, where I describe the construction of fishing dams and its place in the Enawene’s fish and river-focused system of belief. Chapter 6, meanwhile, is about how the Enawene are responding to permanent, concrete hydropower dams on their river system. It’s alarming and relatively little known that 30% of the Amazon’s indigenous people now have their livelihoods affected by hydropower dams.“

The Enawene's temporary wooden fishing dam

The Enawene’s temporary wooden fishing dam

I hope you will enjoy the book Vital Diplomacy: The Ritual Everyday on a Dammed River in Amazonia.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of the book, there is a 50% discount for copies purchased from the publisher Berghahn before the end of February 2018. Use the discount code NAH061 at checkout.

Get ready to party in July!

While the Enawene-nawe depend on the river for their food, here in the first world we use our river these days mostly for relaxation and enjoyment. The big event of the year here in Henley-on-Thames apart from the Royal Regatta, is the Henley Festival of Music and the Arts, which takes place from July 11th – 15th.

Henley Festival 2018

While it has in recent years struggled to reinvent itself I think that this year’s line up will be a triumph.

Wednesday’s star is Rita Ora, who currently is at number one in the charts I believe. Thursday’s treat features Grace Jones and Friday a song writer called Nile Rogers with a band called Chic. Saturday will be a sell out I imagine with Ronnie Scott’s big band, and I believe there is jazz every night on site courtesy of the National Junior Jazz band, who are phenomenal.

For those of us who love classical music the organisers have bowed to public pressure and are bringing in none other than the English National Opera. So my advice is to get booking as soon as you can.

Friends of HSC having fun at last year's festival.

Friends of HSC having fun at last year’s festival.

We will be booking Midsomer Maiden into a mooring for the whole week and have already got two repeat charters on Windsor Belle for the lucky few.

Weekly passes, which sold out last year, are also going to be a great option with proper fireworks exploding over the river every night.

So polish your brass, dig out your penguin suits, don your diamonds and let’s just pray for balmy evenings on board in Henley.

Our new (ad)venture

If you haven’t yet visited our new E-Boatique website please take five over a cup of coffee and see what we have to offer. As you will see it has a clean look to reflect the eco friendly credentials of our electric boats.

Screenshot of the new E-Boatique website

Screenshot of the new E-Boatique website

We were happy to have a visit at the boat show from Grove Boats whose solar and electric passenger boats we are promoting for commercial use.

Steve from Henley Technical Services also helped us out on the very busy Thursday of our new company launch, fielding questions from the R&D guys who found their way to our stand for a bit of gentle industrial espionage.

If you are thinking of a propulsion change for 2018 now’s the time to speak up as we are just about to do another slipper launch.

Remember too that “Millennium Star” is still for sale, “Lady Jane VII” is under offer and there are a couple more gents launches including “Arabella” and “Zanzibar”.

“Zanzibar"

“Zanzibar”

We had a big format album at the boat show with our HSC brokerage boats too and are continuing to advertise the latter in Classic Boat, so please do not think that you will be neglected if you have a reliable old internal combustion engine.

Embracing the future while appreciating the past is part of our survival strategy and Stuart and I are committed to ensuring that the essential historic boat component of our business continues to flourish.