The London Boat show may only be a short hop away but the pre-booking price for three adults in the same family came to £31.75 for an after 3pm entry. Add the £15.00 onsite parking fee and you start to wonder, was this a good idea after all... We arrived at the door at 18.00 for Thursday’s late night opening until 21.00. Three hours of bling would surely be more than enough to cope with.
The brief to my kids were; imagine you had won the Lottery. Now, keep your eye open for a family sized creek crawler with centerplate that we could spend 6 months on and could take the whole family anywhere in the World…
The hall seemed to be larger this year, but then this may have been an illusion. My son noticed straight away that last year’s car section was missing and headed blindfold for the biggest Sunseeker in the building. We had parted ways for a while, and that is fair enough, they know I go straight for the raggy bits that stick up between the gleem.
|The sweeping sheer and on-the-floor draft of the Swallow Boat|
I couldn’t help but notice a solitary Drascombe among the motor vessels that made up the majority of prominent boats in the hall. With its three tan sails raised it looked to be making a last stand against a tidal surge of Diesel. I did find a couple of modern-day contenders for an ideal creek crawler in the form of the Swallow Boats. GRP boats with classic looks but with modern composite spars and performance. The Crabbers were on show too with the ever popular 19ft Shrimper beside a very similar 19ft Adventurer. The Adventurer looked to be a Bermudan rig Shrimper but the bar was next to the stand and I got called away before I could take a closer look.
I heard the kids calling me over. They said they had found the ideal boat - two boats in fact. "Ok, I’m coming" I yelled and made my way over. My daughter then pointed to one yacht that sat four or five feet lower that every other yacht in the line along the back wall. “Look, under there, it has a lifting keel and draws less than 3ft. It’s 42ft long so we could easily sail the Atlantic. Just imagine Dad we could then head up New York Creek? It only costs around 300 grand.” "Oh that’s one of those lovely Southerly’s. Let’s have two of those then!" Phew, calm down dear I thought to myself, does New York even have a creek? This wasn’t a good idea coming here. Quick, let’s get back to the mud of Essex and our little bundle of joy. “Hold on Dad there’s one more” "Do we have to, this is getting tedious, I am simply not used to having so much room in a boat. I would trip over the volumes of airspace."
|The voluminous Southerly. Worldwide family creek crawling|
“No, you’ll like this one Dad. An Ovni 42. She’s made of aluminum and draws the same as the Southerly but her plate is like that on Shoal Waters and can be lifted easily by a series of ropes and pulleys. At 42ft she is the same length too so we’d all get in and be able to do the World series creek hop. And, price-wise they are similar to the Southerly but you can pick them up second hand at a bargain 90 grand.” "Blimey wed get one of those each then. The dog can have one too. Just think we could sail in convoy and do a raid on New York beach? Let’s have it then…" “Oh, this one's not for sale Dad…"
If I’m honest, for us that was this year’s boat show. A lot of dreaming!