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  # 308

2011 London Boat Show

 

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REFLECTIONS ON THE 2011 LONDON BOAT SHOW
Firstly an impressive new entrance to the Show at ExCeL was through the recent £16m re-vamp of the East Entrance, making for alightment off the DLR at Prince Regent just one stop further down the line from the previous Custom House access. With the new open plan Watersports Action Pool adjacent to the ticket barriers you immediately had a hint of what was to come. The sense and aroma of water was a positive start to a Boat Show, I thought. Access to the exhibition mall and the halls either side was down a broad ramp which effectively gave a high level approach and opened up the exhibition centre which again was very impressive.

Model and sportswoman Jodie Kidd officially marked the opening of the Show by cutting a ribbon. This was a fire cracker of an opening ceremony. A high adrenaline watersports display on the Show's new indoor pool, followed by a sparkling firework display to declare London’s biggest annual boating event open.

Spectators were dazzled with a dramatic sequence of stunts by the Show's team of watersports stars who combined kayaking, wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding. The impressive 70m x 24m Watersports Action Pool is the Show's new centrepiece and was in use throughout the 10 day event, mixing live demos with 'have a go' sessions for Show visitors.

Event organiser National Boat Shows (NBS) says that the rejuvenation of the Show, which closed on Sunday, helped to broaden its appeal and attract a more diverse range of visitors. They tell us that some 109,778 people visited this year’s Tullet Prebon London International Boat Show – a seven per cent increase over 2010 figures. Together with the Outdoors Show and London Bike Show, which opened on the Thursday, total combined attendance reached 140,164.

Ribs & Power
It's fair to say though that the number of display halls for boats was significantly reduced from previous years. These halls were opened up later in the week for the Outdoors Show and the London Bike Show allowing the same ticket price for entry to three different shows. Consequently the number of boats on show was significantly reduced with the RIB section appearing to be one of the hardest hit. Real RIB manufacturers (not including baby yacht tenders and small inflatables) was limited to just over a handful, headed up by Ribcraft, who had possibly the largest stand, followed by Cobra, C-Fury, Ribeye, XS Ribs, Rib-X and the new boys around, Piranha Ribs.

Only two new models of note were introduced at the Show, Ribraft's new 850 Sports Cruiser cabin rib and a Rib-X model targeted at the motor yacht super tender market featuring a split console design, sun lounge areas and finished in a bright Lamborghini metallic orange.

Yamaha had its usual impressive presence with a double tier stand and Barras, if you could find them, a very small display. Once again Honda and Suzuki had chosen not to attend.

Marine Radio
Icom previewed their forthcoming IC-M23 buoyant VHF Marine Handheld Transceiver, the smallest and lightest VHF handheld radio on the market. It has a bright internal red LED incorporated at the bottom of the radio which automatically starts flashing when the radio detects contact with water. This function will be especially useful if the radio is dropped in the water at night time or even in low light level conditions. This radio is ergonomically designed to be comfortable in the hand giving a very nice snug fit.

The Knowledge Box
For me this was one of the highlights of the new format Show. Simple 20 min slots ran throughout each day with experts in their field presenting just about everything from heavy weather boating, kayaking, diving, adventures planned and much more. Our very own ribster Alan Priddy told us about his next round the world record attempt which he hopes to complete in under 40 days, starting out this November, and the dynamic duo of Hugo Montgomery-Swan and Paul Lemmer showed some slides of powerboats in heavy weather, promoting safety considerations when caught out in rough seas and gale force conditions.

It was so easy to take time out, rest those weary legs, and learn a lot. A very successful idea which I hope continues into some of the following boat show events. Overall the Show format was very different which I found to be very enjoyable. A positive step change from what had become the same old formula.

Well, what’s next for us ribsters? RIBEX on the Isle of Wight 13-15th May to see what Hugo can do to bolster-up the rib industry..!

Also check out our Press Release section
for some of the show's announcements.

Jan 2011