As avid readers are aware February was an exciting month for me as I celebrated riverside nuptials with Steve Hoile. For our honeymoon we went to Morocco and enjoyed the last few days by the sea in Essaouira.

A hip town on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast

We stayed in a quirky hotel outside of the main town, which enabled us to walk along the dune backed beach into the medina there. Here are a few photographic highlights to enjoy.

Essaouira fishing fleet

Essaouira fishing fleet

If you are thinking of going there, take advantage of the direct Easyjet flights to Essaouira twice weekly and check out the Auberge Tangaro which has been operating as a hotel and restaurant since 1915.

The view from the Auberge Tangaro terrace

The view from the Auberge Tangaro terrace

The owner told us that wealthy merchants used to take their mistresses there in the early days – very appropriate for a honeymoon!!

Antifouling in progress (top) - Replanking a boat (bottom) - On the slipway (right)

Antifouling in progress (top) – Replanking a boat (bottom) – On the slipway (right)

As you can see you can’t keep me away from boatyards. It was fascinating to watch the sardine fishing boats being replanked for the spring, and antifouling being generously coated on the wooden bottoms of these timeless coastal fishing vessels, while nearby simple striped tented cafes compete for your business as they grill to order fresh squid, sardines and any other recognisable sea creature.

Interesting innovation in boating

A sample of what was on offer in Bern.

A sample of what was on offer in Bern.

The weekend before the wedding found me in Bern at a minor boatshow, which attracted me for the innovative Polish solar designs. We are often courted by overseas manufacturers looking for agents for the UK market. While this is of course flattering and just reflects how long I have been in this game (not “on the game” you understand!) one has to distinguish between a great product and a mad idea.

Caravan boat (left) - Green Dream Boats' Solar Catamaran (right)

Caravan boat (left) – Green Dream Boats’ Solar Catamaran (right)

Green Dream Boats' Solar Catamaran interior

Green Dream Boats’ Solar Catamaran interior

Do let us know what you think of these designs as we may be importing some or all of them in the near future.

HSC’s SILVER anniversary!

HSC 25 year anniversary

I had a sudden realisation that 2017 marks 25 years of brokerage and boat sales for HSC. Originally in 1992 I set up Hambleden Sales and Charter, changing the name to reflect the change of location in 2007. Actually this proved to be a smart move as Henley is a globally recognisable “brand” which has certainly helped with marketing in the past decade.

eboatique logo

Anyway something celebratory had to be concocted and so you can expect to see our new subsidiary “Eboatique” springing into life in early summer. The new company will be a launch pad for all the electric boats we sell from new, including the Canadian Electric Boats such as the Fantail and their 2017 models, which will be more contemporary in styling. Cockwells Duchy 21 will feature, as will the Ruban Bleu electric range and some exciting boats from our European cousins across the North Sea.

"Lola" (top) - "Most" (left) - "Barnaby" (right)

“Lola” (top) – “Most” (left) – “Barnaby” (right)

Barnaby is a Fantail 217 from the Canadian Electric Boat Company. They have an innovative idea on their website whereby you build your boat online and just a few moments later you get an email with your spec and price. If you want to try this enter the promo code 4911 to get a discount. We will organise shipping etc..

A new customer with private lakes in Wraysbury has Barnaby on short term hire while we build a couple of new ones in Montreal for them to enjoy this summer. The venue is fantastic, so close to Heathrow and just ideal for conferences, weddings and smart parties.

Pastures new for Boatique

And while Eboatique emerges, Boatique, our retail venture, passes into the capable hands of Juliette Campbell whom you will meet at the till if you come to visit either the shop or the office. Juliette is an experienced business owner who sold her first online business in 2011. She has now relocated to Henley on Thames and is going to take Boatique to all the places I would have liked to have ventured had I had the time. Please come to support her and admire all the new stock which is arriving daily.

Juliette Campbell sporting Boatique casuals from Petit Bateau.

Juliette Campbell sporting Boatique casuals from Petit Bateau.

The old website is down while undergoing a rebuild but rest assured we will ping you details when phoenix-like Boatique.co.uk rises from the cyberashes.

URGENT sale needed

The beautiful "Arabella"

The beautiful “Arabella”

Sadly Arabella’s owner has passed away and we are being asked by the estate to dispose of this beautiful Taylor Bates gentleman’s launch. We are very much open to offers. All she needs is a new set of batteries. She is in lovely condition having been restored by Freebody and then finished by Classic Boatworks.

Creative Marine's "Estel"

Creative Marine’s “Estel”

“Estel” has also just come through the door and will be on our website shortly. She is the only Frolic 36 ever built by Creative Marine, electric with bow thruster; a magnificent contemporary classic.

Auction news

Some of the boats up for auction

Some of the boats up for auction

Peter Sparrow of Time and Tide Boats tells me that he now has 15 entries for the new look Beale Park boat show auction on June 3rd 2017. We will feature some of the auction entries on our website nearer the time. If you fancy a small sailing boat or a clinker dinghy then this will be a good place to look. However there will also be some larger river boats including a 50ft electric launch. More next month on how to register as a bidder.

Fun Easter weekend activity

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta Greenwich

If you are at loose end over Easter weekend and your boat is not yet ready for action, why not head down to the national Maritime Museum in Greenwich to see the splendid array of tall ships which will be gathered there for their flagship maritime and river event to be held between the 13th -16th April 2017.

Spring has sprung, and so has our Day Hire season

Our Wallingford charter fleet

Our Wallingford charter fleet

Closer to home there will be some action in Wallingford as we tentatively start our day hire season with our new 11 seater “Morse” from the Boathouse pub by the bridge. “Morse” will operate for self drive hire alongside “Annabelle” and “Lisa Joanne” while downstream at the Swan at Streatley “George Michael” and “Mudlark” will be in operation.

If you are regulars at the Swan please note that the car park has moved and the only food and beverage outlet is at the far end of the original hotel site. There is a massive refurbishment underway with hard hats and portacabins slightly detracting from the natural beauty of the site.

Goring

Goring

However once afloat the River Thames weaves its perennial magic and the village of Goring offers the magnificent Miller of Mansfield for great food or the ever popular Pierreponts by the bridge.

The view over the river from the Great House (Coppa Club in Sonning)

The view over the river from the Great House (Coppa Club in Sonning)

Midsomer Maiden will be moored at the Great House and Coppa Club in Sonning from April 9th, when the open day takes place to relaunch the hotel there. Skippered charters available. Please call the office to book.