200-year old smack Boadicea at the busy London Boat Show
I took a trip to the London Boat Show yesterday. I try to keep away, but some times the pilgrimage is inevitable. This year I was asked to spend some time signing my book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding on the Kelvin Hughes stand, and since this would be a completely new experience, I duly trotted along and took my camera.
At 200 years old this year, Boadicea is fabulous and I sensed a real buzz about her around the Show that was exemplified when I asked for directions from some chaps on the stand belonging to the GRP dinghy manufacturer Comet. ‘Oh yes,’ said one of them. ‘Boadicea’s down there and she’s bloody marvellous.’
For more on Boadicea, check http://www.boadicea-ck213.org.uk .
Book signing, it turns out, isn’t so much an event as a test of determination and endurance. The author sits or stands by a pile of his books talking to people who come by and show an interest. Some authors take a commendably positive view of all this and introduce themselves and their book to everyone they can. More timid souls like myself simply chatter amiably with whoever passes by.
I have to say I didn’t expect to meet many people interested in building my simple plans for small boats at a show focusing on sailing big seas in commensurately large boats, and that was how it turned out. Most I spoke with commended home boatbuilders but had no wish to become one, and I couldn’t help reflecting that this was a wonderfully English view.
Nevertheless, the Kelvin Hughes people reported that in the background Ultrasimple Boatbuilding was selling at a steady if slow rate; in the end, I think it’s clear that the big market is in the USA.
Making the trip to the Show brought some other bonuses, too. A few people with interesting boat stories dropped by the Kelvin Hughes stand, and I was lucky enough to meet both globe-trotting cruising author Liza Copeland and Don Street of Iolaire fame, and Atlantic rower Sally Kettle. Needless to say, all their books are available from the Kelvin Hughes website http://www.bookharbour.com .And finally, visitors to the show had an unusual close-up view of the Cutty Sark’s famous figurehead in a short nightie and holding the tail of the Tam O’Shanter’s horse. She makes an intriguing and impressive sight, but there’s something terribly sad about the thought of her separated from the rest of her ship.
Don Street of Iolaire fame, cruising author Liza Copeland, and the Cutty Sark’s sad figurehead
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