There is nothing in the world so cool as a fish festival and nowhere in the world that does them better than Britain - so it is with the greatest delight that I bring you news of a new event due to make its debut in Portland on Saturday 12th April.


The Famous Crab House Café will be at the Portland Fish and Ships festival 12 April.

Known as ‘The Fish And Ships Festival’, it was originally conceived as a means of emulating Falmouth’s fantastic Oyster Festival, but it has apparently grown from that initial concept to become something much more involved. It’s now an event designed not just to acquaint you with the best of the region’s produce but also to kickstart your new boating season...

In addition to new and used boats and accessories for sale, there will be kitesurfing, kayaking and dive demos, plus the chance for visitors to try a bit of gig rowing with the Portland Gig Rowing Club. There will also be live music on the Friday and Saturday nights, plus raft races on the Sunday and the chance to try a spot of sailing with the WPNSA (Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy). Those keen to know more about paddle boarding and windsurfing will be catered for and Wessex FM will also be in town with its Events Roadshow.

Seafood Festival

Even if you don't much like boats, there's plenty of food on offer.

You could of course ignore all the active boating stuff and just fill your face with food. The famous Crab House Café will be conjuring up 20 different ways to enjoy oysters, the festival stands will be offering plenty of local cheese, wine and cider and there will also be a schedule of cookery demos to help you hone your skills. But whichever course you choose, a slogan like “Get afloat, buy a boat and taste some lovely grub!” is likely to find happy resonance with just about every boater out there. The event also happens to be free, so get yourself down there and do your bit to help Portland make the ‘Fish and Ships Festival’ a permanent fixture in the annual Spring calendar...

Summer's on its way (finally!) so here's a few features to get you in the mood for the start of a new season: A guide for wetsuit buyers, Buying a Boat With Others: Partnerships and Syndicates or Keeping a boat in the Mediterranean.

For more advice on choosing a fishing boat, read Dave Barham's guide to fishing boats.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is an ex-Naval officer, with extensive experience as a marine journalist, boat tester and magazine editor. Having raced as a Pilot in the National Thundercat Series and as a Navigator in the inaugural Red Sea RIB Rally, he has now settled in the West Country, where he lives and works as a specialist marine writer and photographer from his narrowboat in Bath.