Yachting Facts and Fun

Notes from the London Boat Show


This year’s London Boat Show, held at the ExCel Exhibition Centre from January 10th to the 14th, was a great success, with more than 52,000 visitors agog at 347 exhibitors.

Even an occasional rock star dropped by. Literally. Andrew McCulloch, who was the drummer for King Crimson on their album Lizard (1970) was there and spoke about cruising the Aegean.

The sales director of one of the exhibitors, Sunseeker International, said at the show’s close that Sunseeker had seen “an unprecedented number of visitors” to its stand, and strong sales.


This was Sunseeker’s 60th year at the venerable show. It proudly displayed its Predator 57 MK II and its 76 Yacht, both of which it had launched only months before, at the Southampton Show, in August.

The Predator features oversized pillar-less windows for unimpeded viewing and for natural light within.

Notably there’s also a full width patio glass door that opens electrically to turn the saloon and cockpit into a single center.

This vessel can move, too, at speeds of up to 40 knots. It has the option to have the Cat® C12.9 rated at 850 and 1000 mhp engines.

Her sister craft, the 76 Yacht, includes a spa tub and an allocated space for a jet ski on the flybridge. Buyers can customize with a number of layouts up there, including a cocktail bar. The space allows a nearly 360 degree view of the surroundings and what helps provide the vessel with what Sunseeker’s brochure calls “that superyacht feel.”

The stern can be equipped for a “mini beach club, complete with a barbecue grill, fold-out seating and a rain shower, perfect for entertaining family and friends.”

The 76 Yacht has the Cat C32 rated at 1600 mhp designed in.

Three Debuts

Other craft exhibited this year, and some as debuts, included the Hanse 348, and the Spirit 42 Coupe Boats. 

The Spirit 42 Coup, from Rodman, has a very modern look with a vertical bow and a sliding electric roof.

Rodman’s technical team worked with the design team of Fulvio de Simoni (not their first collaboration) with the idea of making the Spirit 42 a leader among cruise boats of up to 12 m length. 

The Hans 348, designed by Judel/Vrolijk & Co., builds on the successes of the Hanse 345 model. It has a taller mast than the earlier model, allowing it better light wind performance, and it has a redesigned keel for improved stability when the stronger winds kick it. New light and ventilation makes the inside seem roomier and lighter, “in line,” as Hanse says, with its 588.

Other improvements include more storage space and a larger cockpit.

Fairline Yachts

Last year (2017) was the 50th anniversary year for Fairline, and they were still in a celebratory spirit for the London show.

They displayed their new Squadron 53, designed by Alberto Mancini. This is an expansive cruiser, lots of room for relaxation and entertaining. It’s got a flat floor from the cockpit to the lower helm, ensuring a flat ceiling in the master cabin, with generous headroom (6’ 4”) at the foot of the double bed.  Fairlines’ website calls Squadron 53 “uninterrupted refined luxury.”

It can make use of the Cat C12.9, and Fairline says it’s up to 34 knots so equipped.

Fiscally Feasible Boating 

On an economizing note, ‘budget boating’ evangelist Dave Selby appeared on stage at the LBS to talk about how people without unlimited resources can get themselves afloat for less. “The fact is,” he said, “there’s an ever-growing fleet of good old fibre-glass boats and they’re getting cheaper all the time. For a tiny outlay, certainly a lot less than a single holiday, you can buy a boat that will open up a world of adventure and give you holidays of a life-time, for a life-time.”

Selby also shared his personal story. He was struck with Guillain Barre Syndrome in 2012. Thus, every four weeks he has to spend three days in a hospital so antibodies can be pumped into him to preserve the use of his legs.” “Far from holding me back, it gave me the drive for what became one of the richest experiences of my life,” he says. He is active in raising money for research into this poorly understood condition.






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