We walked all day, pausing now and then to get on boats, watch the Red Arrows, chat to old mates or make new friends. Jamie’s got an app (of course he has) which measures how far you walk in a day, and it told us we had managed over 12kms.
There were more than 600 exhibitors, and by the time we finished we felt we had met them all, but in reality we had just scratched the surface.
Dave and Jenny Knowles were our first port of call. They introduced us to Mr D’s Thermal Cooker years ago, and it still plays an important role in our galley. Their business has gone from strength to strength, winning ‘best product’ in the Practical Boat Owner 2012 PBO Green Awards.
Next was a cuppa on the Topsail stand, our friendly insurance broker with whom we have been insuring Esper since leaving the Mediterranean. Topsail is particularly competitive and supportive of world cruising couples like us.
The Earl of Pembroke, proved to be popular with visitors. A steady trail of enthusiasts swarmed on and off the gangplank and up and down the companionway of this famous tall ship. It has been continually in use as an important character in a string of film and tv productions, like Alice in Wonderland, Cloud Atlas, Hornblower, Shaka Zulu, Count of Monte-Cristo and more.
There were plenty of other on-the-water experiences, including the chance to give several new yachts the once-over. But there was nothing prettier on the pontoons than the two stunning British built wooden boats from Spirit Yachts, a new Spirit 46, and the recently refitted Spirit 52. These fabulous yachts also have a movie pedigree, starring in 2006’s Casino Royale
We came across a number of restaurants and bars, but for once had to pass them by because we needed to shoot as much footage as possible before driving back to Essex. There were marquees packed with everything you never thought you needed in the galley, alongside fantastic bits of gleaming machinery for engines and decks. The atmosphere was buzzy, exhibitors shiny with anticipation and visitors wide-eyed with the intent to buy.
Before we wrapped things upme, we visited Dolphin Sails, where we chatted to Paul Austin and Jon Sturmer. Dolphin Sails is an approved supplier to Oyster Yachts, and has recently taken on an active role in supporting the Oyster Owners group. Based in Essex–with a new office in Hamble–this British enterprise began life back in 1964 and is a thriving business today. Thanks for supporting the forum, guys! And thanks for the promotional bags, you’ll be thrilled to hear we will be carrying your logo with us all over the islands and anchorages of Thailand.
Catch all the interviews mentioned in the post and more in the video above or click here to watch on youtube.