We spent our annual day at the London Boat Show today. Main change was that it was much smaller than last year, with fewer vendors and exhibits. As a result, there were some boats not there that we would have liked to have seen (like the Beneteau First boats). There was quite a bit less foot traffic in the isles, and the on-the-water part was also closed because of snow and ice.
All in all, though, we had a great time. The high light of the trip was getting to meet Paul and Sheryl Shard of the "Distant Shores" television series, and they were quiet enthused to see their new Southerly 49, fresh from the factory:
New Boat Blog
They have had a Southerly 42 for some time now, and now they will have a larger version (which included having the galley higher in the deck saloon, with a better view.
We asked directly why they liked the Southerly over an Ovni (since they both have the swinging keels), and their response was that they had cruised with another couple on an Ovni, but it seemed that the couple was always worried about corrosion (at every dock, near other metals, etc.). Maybe they were over concerned, but the Shards knew they would leave their boat in other places for months for a time and didn't want the concern. (Anyway, that was their line.)
I will admit to really liking the Ovnis, and I'm still tempted by used ones (given that the new ones start at 220,000 pounds and go up). However, we did spend some time on a Southerly 110 (35.5 foot boat, swing keel, semi-deck saloon), and I was surprised by how much we liked it. 2.5 foot draft with the keel up, dual rudders. Very functional, very strong, starting at around 170,000 pounds:
We also liked that the show was less crowded, and it was easier to visit some other boats, talk with a man carving a figurehead, enjoy a tot of Old Pulteney 12, and we actually spent some money. A handheld Standard Horizon VHF, a NASA battery monitor, an inverter for a laptop, lots of sweaters and shirts, couple of cold weather hats, a Helly Hansen backpack for my daughter, an anchoring daymark, some new lines, four different sailing magazines for one pound each, and lots of boat literature.
We also got to talk water makers, wind turbines, sail cover repair, and other general boaty stuff. Son went kayaking (indoors). It was a good day-- perhaps more enjoyable than last year. I plan to do some more Southerly research, and I might post a report in the boat review section on the 110 model. Fun.