A visit to the Southampton Boat Show is a clear sign that the summer holidays are well and truly becoming memories in a photo album, and there is definitely an autumnal feel to the weather pattern despite some recent welcome sunshine.
Talking of photo albums, we have had some unexpected and delightful photos sent to us during the month of August by some newsletter readers and by people who were owners of boats in years past. Some of these memories are recent, and others much less so.
Here is a fantastic shot of 'Albaquila' taken by Beken of Cowes and sent to us by a previous owner.
You may remember that the Borwicks Launch 'Lisbeth' headed out to Riga on the back of a low loader a couple of months ago.
What a surprise it was to receive this photo from one of our regular readers who enjoyed visiting central Riga on board 'Lisbeth' during their mid-August holiday, and a thrill for the vendor and for myself as this venerable old girl now has a whole new life as a passenger carrying vessel. In fact Borwicks built 'Lisbeth' in the 1950s for that very purpose! It was only more recently, when she appeared on the Thames, that she became a private saloon launch.
Back in the early 1990s when we started the Classic Motorboat Rally there were no speed restrictions, and one of the rally's highlights was race day. The opportunity to properly test out your precious classic in time trials against other boats from all over Europe was a huge draw. I (as one of the founding organisers) had the privilege of commentating from the timing pier.
The Classic Motorboat Rally was an opportunity to socialise with other enthusiasts and to teach the children to waterski behind an old Austin Healy speedboat.
At the time one of the co-organisers was the general manager of the Windermere Steamboat Museum. Catherine and I have since become firm friends and together have watched our families grow.
Her stepson Joe brought his childhood dinghy 'Alice' to the 2023 event having spent many evenings rubbing down and varnishing her to a high sheen. 'Alice' won a prize, and so did Joe's dad's old Albatros, which I had photographed all those years ago at the same event when Joe was just a boy, and here he is now with his own son at the helm of the same boat.
The weather has been very mixed which has obviously affected us at Pure Boating, however it didn't stop the celebrities coming our way!
First off the quayside was the crew of 'Escape to the Country' turning the spotlight on Wallingford. Mark and Olivia starred for Pure Boating alongside a couple relocating from the States to South Oxfordshire.
Next up was Channel 4's 'New Life in the Country's' Sarah Beeny with her husband, the artist Graham Swift, and their film crew. They were in search of boat house designs for their on-screen project.
We are also still very much open for boat viewings as traditionally September has always been a good time to buy your next boat with a view to getting it exactly the way you want it in time for the following boating season.
As Regine and I ambled around the acres of white plastic at the Southampton Boat Show, it seemed like the electric boat revolution still has not affected the major brands, and I truly wonder just what kind of selling season they are expecting, as to be honest folks, it has not been easy.
I know from repeated phone calls from energetic vendors that some of you are frustrated that the boat that you have cherished has not attracted as much attention as you would have hoped. Believe me, here at HSC, we share your frustration.
Clearly there is price sensitivity in the marketplace at the moment, but I don't think that this tells the whole story as we know that rising interest rates benefit those with savings who could therefore afford a shiny new boat, yet there is some hesitancy in the market. I shall be looking for some feedback from colleagues on the more mainstream side of the boating industry and will appraise you of my findings in the October issue of our newsletter.
Outstanding among the fenders, trailers, stand-up paddle boards, and everything else you expect to find at a major boat show was the Duchy 35, built by Dave Cockwell's expanding boating empire in Mylor Creek.
And this quirky wooden sailing boat aptly named 'Collective Spirit'.
'Collective Spirit' is a unique vessel, initially unveiled during the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. She is constructed using 1,200 items of wood including cherished children's toys, sports equipment, a part of a Jimi Hendrix guitar, and artefacts from the 'Mary Rose' and the Royal Yacht 'Britannia'. Our October newsletter will devote several paragraphs to 'Britannia'.
Returning for now to 'Collective Spirit' which originated from the Lone Twin Boat Project. She was financed by the Arts Council, designed by Simon Rodgers, and built in Emsworth by a team led by local Olympic yachtsman Mark Covell.
Universal Yachting has now acquired 'Collective Spirit'intending to revive it as a modern sailing yacht for the community. She will operate as a nonprofit venture with the aim of introducing sailing to a new generation.
Quirky was the name of the game at the Fawley Hill National Transport Trust Vintage Festival, which had been postponed to August bank holiday due to May's continuous downpours.
The host, Lady McAlpine, was seen zooming around the exhibition ground (her estate) on an electrified king-sized bed with Edd China at the helm flanked by two mobile oranges also owned by Edd China of Wheeler Dealer.
More of Edd's amazing inventions can be found on his YouTube channel and his website. Beware, once you get hooked on Edd's amazing adventures and his widespread internet presence, you may disappear right up your own exhaust pipe, as he is what you might call 'prolific'.
Meanwhile I was proudly exhibiting a trio of watercraft, only one of which had a similar propulsion system to the bed, while the other two, both true classics, were equipped with traditional internal combustion engines.
It is definitely not too late to buy yourself an elegant slipper stern launch like 'Windflower', which was on our stand at Fawley or 'Tiffin', which seats seven passengers in comfort and has an iconic design that will always be a head turner whether on land or water.
My other weekend companion was 'How's that', a 1938 Chris Craft whose engine elicited many admiring glances. I have to admit to being less fluent in 'petrol-speak' than in French.
Perhaps we should introduce the Gaelic sport of boat jousting here at Beale Park lake as an alternative to picnic cruising. 😉
Thank you Dr. Philip Unwin for this video taken on a visite to Sète (France).
For Winter 2023/2024 we have some availability for winter moorings on the lake at Beale Park. However, just to be clear, there is no electricity nor are there any onsite facilities other than parking. Our price includes a weekly check on your mooring lines and your bilge pump. We will need boats to be self-supporting when they arrive via the river gate. Please call Regine in the office if you would like to know more.
Regular winter storage customers should by now have received renewal notices. If you haven't, or you would like a quote for land storage, please get in touch as soon as possible.
While some people have been enjoying holidays afloat and attending events, others have been putting the finishing touches to a refurbishment project.
One such is Nicolas Winkfield, whose beautiful 1930 launch 'Neptune' featured in the film 'Boys in the Boat' (should be showing at a cinema near you in early 2024).
Nicolas and his dogs worked extremely hard inside their makeshift workshop sanding and revarnishing the decks, and Nicolas said: "I loved doing the work; using my hands to create and enhance something beautiful was very pleasing indeed. And there aren't toooo many dribbles and mistakes for others to spot …"
I loved the documentary aired on Netflix about the all-female crew on board 'Maiden' when Tracey Edwards, against all the odds, managed to refurbish an old yacht in 1988.
No one took her seriously other than the King of Jordan, who sponsored her and her team. Her trip and their win (on one of the legs) has become a legend.
"They were told "No" because they were women. This is a true story that proved everyone wrong."
Twenty-seven years later 'Maiden' came back to the UK and was readied for another trip around the world. She is currently weeks into the 2023 Ocean Globe Race. Each leg is going to concentrate on raising awareness around issues that specifically affect girls worldwide.
I highly recommend watching this inspiring story on Netflix.
This year's Illuminated Parade was a true spectacle!
Hundreds of spectators lined the Henley riverbank to admire the diverse fleet of illuminated vessels, from motorboats to kayaks, each creatively adorned with lights.
Themes ranged from Barbie to James Bond, creating a magical spectacle. Judges based at the Leander Club were impressed by the effort, choreography, and sheer joy of the event.
The parade culminated in a festive celebration at the club, and the consensus was clear: this annual event continues to shine bright, adding to the charm of Henley's boating season.
The Illuminated Parade is a perfect end to the summer boating season as well as bringing this newsletter to a timely end.
We hope you enjoy what summer daylight and mild weather is left and look forward to sharing more HSC and boating news with you again next month.