The London Boat Show (8–17 January) is a place I tend to go for one of two reasons – either to escape the family after a festive season unnaturally crammed with those who happen to share my surname; or to buy all the beautiful stuff people were too tight and/or neglectful to buy me for Christmas (hint: my pick of the best nautical Christmas gifts).
It’s a perfectly acceptable event on both counts but, having shrunk and mutated quite radically over the last ten years, its arrangement of debut vessels is no longer a major draw. Those of us keen to start the New Year inspecting serious world firsts tend to head for Dusseldorf instead, where a sprawling network of halls showcases the latest work from boat builders all over the globe. And yet, as the UK’s largest indoor boat exhibition, the London Boat Show is still worth a look. See also: Brand new sailing yachts at London 2016 and Bryant Wake Tractor WT-1 to debut at London.
For a start, this year’s event will see the return of Suzuki GB Marine after a protracted absence – and George Cheeseman, Sales & Marketing Manager, is citing show upgrades as the key reason: “We are excited about exhibiting at London once again. British Marine has put in some great work to improve the quality of the event and, as a result, we feel it is the right time to come back and exhibit at this world leading show.”
On the basis of the event’s new attractions, it’s possible he has a point. After all, in addition to the Telegraph Cruise Show and the Telegraph Travel Show, both of which run during the first three days of the event, your ticket buys you access to a new ‘Mediterranean Bay’, with on-water seminars from top tutors, plus water-walking, SeaBob and sit-on-top kayak demos. And the new ‘60s Revival’ feature (a tribute to a decade that saw the advent of the Mirror Dinghy, the first singlehanded circumnavigation of the globe and the water speed records of Sir Donald Campbell) also ought to be worth a look.
But we’re all there for the new boats – and there are three particularly notable UK powerboat debuts (at a stark variety of sizes and price points) that are deserving of any enthusiast’s attention. So buy your train ticket, stick on your snowshoes, gird your gastric lining against the ravages of burnt chestnuts and prepare to inspect the following trio of debutantes...
Powerboat debut: Rodman 890 Ventura
Rodman’s 890 Ventura looks like a very engaging piece of work. Due to make its UK debut on stand B170/D, this ten-man platform is the first outboard model from Rodman and its design and layout looks well matched to a mixed life of fishing and cruising.
A sliding door to starboard gives easy access to the side decks and the large forward sunbathing area; and a bright, glass-intensive interior with sunroof and sliding aft doors, gives passengers generous 360-degree visibility. In stark contrast to many craft of its type, the new Ventura even has a dining-friendly aft deck with extendable overhead shelter. With its ten-year structural warranty, it appears to inherit the same strength that has won acclaim for Rodman’s dedicated Fisher and Cruiser lines – and with a pair of 200hp outboards on the transom, this family-friendly hybrid model ought to add decent performance to the mix. (See: Rodman 42 Flybridge video from earlier this year.)
Specifications: Rodman 890 Ventura
LOA: 8.9 m
Beam: 2.98 m
Weight: 2,900 kg
Fuel capacity: TBC
Engines: twin 200hp outboards
Motoryacht debut: Prestige 680
The latest motoryacht to emerge from Prestige is this 21-metre flybridge cruiser. Though it received its official world launch at Cannes in September 2015, this will be its debut appearance in Britain and it will apparently carry a great many of the elements that make the flagship 750 so attractive.
With lines from Garroni Design, a hull from J&J Design and power from twin Volvo IPS 1200 engines, the modern, stretched looking 680 is conceived for cruising economy, easy manoeuvrability and a top end of around 30 knots. The flybridge has a galley bar and a large forward sun terrace, while down on the main deck, clean lines, modern materials and large panoramic windows make the living environment very calming and stylish. An aft galley arrangement with large sliding doors helps maximise the value and accessibility of the aft deck and down below, a raised level for the owner’s suite in the bow, plus a separate staircase for the guest cabins, means excellent privacy for all. It comes with either a three or four-cabin layout plus a crew cabin - and a Sportfly version, with an aft fly deck and a forward sunroof, will also be available in 2016.
Specifications: Prestige 680
LOA: 21.46 m
Beam: 5.33 m
Weight: 29,800 kg
Fuel capacity: 3,450 litres
Engine: Volvo IPS 1200
Range: 350 Nm
Superyacht debut: Sunseeker 131 Yacht
Sunseeker’s 131 Yacht is due to make its mark as the largest model ever to debut at the London Boat Show. As the first of four large models set for launch in 2016, this new 40-metre craft is designed to be “a new take on Sunseeker’s proven superyacht platform”.
To that end, this 23-knot, tri-deck yacht uses the classic Sunseeker deep V hull to generate a cruising range of around 1,500 nautical miles at ten knots. It also employs striking feature glass in the Master Stateroom, Saloon and Upper Saloon to improve natural light – and while the standard layout provides space for ten guests in five cabins, every element of the interior design and layout is open to customisation, so there is also scope for up to 12 people to be accommodated. Build time is around a year, with capacity for up to five yachts to be built concurrently, but given that five of these vessels have (reportedly) already been sold, the 131 is likely to keep Sunseeker busy for some time to come.
How well do you know your Sunseekers? Check out our feature: 10 top Sunseeker yachts.
Specifications: Sunseeker 131
LOA: 40.05 m
Beam: 8.09 m
Weight: 189,600 kg
Fuel capacity: 21,650 litres
Range: 1,500 Nm