Summer is clearly over despite a sunny Autumn and I was lucky enough to enjoy some September sunshine on Lago d’Orta so this newsletter has an Italian theme: Everyone has heard of the Italian lakes and particularly Como and Maggiore but there is a hidden gem just 2 hours from Milan and adjacent to the Swiss border called Lago d’Orta. I stayed with Steve at the Leon d’Oro right on the edge of the lake in the glorious mediaeval town of Orta san Guilio. We had a grumpy landlady whose family has been running this August establishment for 200 years and it was clear that she was due for retirement. Apart from this slight downer the views were spectacular and our room charming so toast with sour jam could be overlooked at breakfast.
We had the best meal of the holiday at the Imbarcadero with not a green owled Trip Advisor sticker in sight – just brilliant food in the most picturesque setting with a view of the small island which makes Orta so special. On the last evening we were picked up by boat and ferried to the island’s only restaurant for another delicious meal.
Speaking of Italy, we find ourselves with two Rivas in our care at the moment. Calypso is back on the market at the knock down price of £29,500. She is an early wooden Riva, a Florida which was the second production boat designed by the patriarch Carlo Riva and restored by Alistair Garland for the previous owner. The Florida was specifically designed for water skiing and is a great boat to own if you fancy a Riva without having to mortgage your home.
At the other end of the scale we will be selling our second Tritone in two years once she is out of refurb. The Tritone launched in 1953 with various innovations including a specially constructed marine ply hull. Carlo started his own manufacturing plant to achieve the required quality and was delighted when finally he was able to ensure that the Tritone could cope with a proper sea chop.
We all know about the various celebrities who owned or used Rivas including Prince Rainier of Monaco who owned a Tritone and agreed to have a workshop and storage facility blasted into the hillside below the palace. I thought I would just mention that here at HSC we have had our own celebrity customers recently and now have the world’s greatest Olympian oarsman as well as a rather well known coffee drinking actor as HSC boat owners. Discretion is the better part of valour and all that!
If your boathouse is not big enough for a Riva or your house on Como doesn’t have a dock then why not buy a model Riva to enjoy on your desk or mantelpiece. They make fantastic indulgent Christmas presents for the special boatees in your life. Boatique now has several models and different sizes available. Pop by 5 Friday Street to have a look at our range.
The Riva Bar at The Dog and Badger
Ever keen to support out local hostelries Alex and I drove to the ancient highwayman’s retreat The Dog and Badger at Medmenham. One of our customers has bought the pub and transformed it into a smart restaurant with rooms. You can even go by boat if you moor on the meadows at Medmenham and walk the 800 metres up Ferry lane to the pub.
As you can see we took the model Riva Ariston which is so beautifully pictured above Alex’s head. Unfortunately we were unable to afford the wine featured in the photo but perhaps when we sell the Tritone (full size with twin engines and lots of grunt) we will treat ourselves!
Bentley’s Salvage Fair
Although we have a few reluctant boaters due to the recent nice weather, there is an enthusiastic flotilla planned for this coming weekend from Henley arriving mid afternoon at Beale Park lake. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to be part of the gang. When they arrive there will be an inovative architectural salvage event in full flow complete with welcome beverages and warm food. We have 10 tickets for the event to give away so please email Alex or call the office if you would like free entry. The event. run by Bentley Fairs will be going on all weekend so come and join us there. HSC will have a stand with a sailing dinghy, a punt and a couple of skiffs including Poppy and Daisy.
Under the radar we have recently rehomed two boats which never got as far as the website. Potemkin and Fleurette have both gone to delighted new owners. While both are very different in size and style what they had in common was their excellent condition. I think the moral of the story is to keep your boats in tip top condition so that when the inevitable day comes when you either feel the need to upgrade or simply feel you are overboated and need to sell, the whole process will be easier and more lucrative. With Stuart in charge at Beale Park we now have the facility to do some basic maintenance and have a larger workshop to cope with varnishing as well as engineering and electrification.
We were delighted to be featured in more than one chapter of Jim Donahue’s book ‘A Portrait of Henley’. The book is a perfect Christmas present and sells for £16.99 at Boatique for a signed copy, while the images are for sale in the shop or on his website. Relive those special summer moments!
We have had two little boys born into the HSC family this year. Little Joey Smith, born on 13th September is the first child of our ex charter manager Daisy and her husband Andy. We wish them the very best of luck as they start their new family. Back in the summer, our website team Dan and Barbara brought their second son Hugo into the world on 17th July (sharing his birthday with our charter manager Alex!)
Both the boys are suitably clad in striped t shirts, and Daisy is even sporting Boatique’s gorgeous Petit Bateau changing bag.
Boatique’s fabulous new website launches this Thursday www.boatique.co.uk. Expect to find everything from model Rivas to portable bars to wellington boots. Have a browse and tell us what you think!