The square metres of exhibition space may be less this year, and Beneteau may be entirely absent, but the 2012 Tullett Prebon London Boat Show opened on Friday with plenty to write about.
With Tamara Ecclestone adding the obligatory glamour, and numerous members of the British Olympic sailing team (Skandia Team GBR) in attendance, there was an abundance of colour to kick off a show which has a number of hidden gems. Here's our top 10 of the new launches...
1. Sunseeker 28 Metre
A glass wrap-around saloon deck and carbon fibre roofline distinguish this Sunseeker Yacht, but something else looks different. Look again and you'll see the company's silver-and-black hull-deck joint has disappeared into the cap rail of the main deck bulwarks. It's clearly a Sunseeker in its styling, but this detail also changes everything.
2. Princess V39
With its first sub-40-footer in 15 years, Princess Yachts has what managing director Chris Gates (pictured) calls "an aggressively priced entry level model". The express cruiser should plane early and economically, but also up to 37-39 knots wide open.
3. Sessa Key Largo
We really like the styling of these two new luxury center consoles. The smaller, 28-footer, is even fitted with a Volvo inboard engine.
4. Jeanneau 44DS
Three new sailing models in the Sun Odyssey line from the 397 up to the 509. If you think Jeanneau designs always look a little traditional belowdecks, you'll find a surprise aboard the 44DS.
5. Dehler 41
This new model looks fast and will be the subject of a thorough review in coming days on uk.boats.com
6. Gunfleet 43
Introduced in the autumn at the Southampton Boat Show, Richard Matthews' 43-footer is designed by Tony Castro and built in Colchester, Essex. An upscale cruiser it has a centre cockpit set well forward and an aft cabin with plenty of natural light overhead. Gunfleet is a new player in the market, lead by the experienced guidance of Richard Matthews, the former owner of Oyster. The company also has bigger boats on Castro's drawing board including a 58 and a 68.
7. Southerly 420
At Northshore Yachts, the fast-sailing Southerly 42RST hull displays the finesse you'd expect from a collaboration between Northshore's in house team and designer Rob Humphreys. The brand-new model has a centre-cockpit deckplan that transforms the interior into an inviting deck-saloon style that includes opening ports along the forward side of the deckhouse. Compare aft cockpit to centre yourself: the 420 and the 42RST are side by side. Read more about the Southerly and Gunfleet designs in John Burnham's blog for our sister site in the US Southerly 420, Gunfleet 43: New Center-Cockpit Cruisers.
8. Grand Soleil 39
The Grand Soleil 39 makes her UK debut at the show. Sleek and stylish with usual Grand Soleil flair, she has an open transom, a large, ergonomic cockpit and twin wheel steering and the same interior volume as the GS40 with an impressive eight berths. Displayed alongside the J-109, the Key Yachting stand gives you a chance to compare and contrast the characteristics of a neat range of models.
9. Crabber 12
As the company celebrates its 35th year, Cornish Crabbers unveils its smallest boat yet – the David Thomas-designed Crabber 12, fresh out of the mould. A versatile 12-footer, which the company is aiming at the day sailing market, as well as a platform for teaching youngsters. Displayed alongside her much bigger sisters, including the Mystery 35 (see our review Mystery 35: Classic Looks, Fast Foils) she looks a lovely family dinghy ideal for estuaries. Interestingly, the company is using the Crabber 12 to implement resin infusion moulding in the factory, and will gradually switch to that moulding method for the rest of the range.
10. Crash Test
If you haven’t seen YM’s demolition of this cruising boat, stop by for sobering reminders about preventing gas leaks… on your way to the Guinness Bar.