Boat lovers: show your enthusiasm. Editor David Pugh welcomes you to the latest issue of Practical Boat Owner magazine.

Boat show time is here again. With Christmas already a fading memory, thoughts once again turn
to winter maintenance and, the hope of boat show exhibitors, upgrades.

If you’re planning to buy a boat, you need to visit a boat show. At this time of year, London offers a selection of what’s available, but if you really want to root around the lockers and keels of the latest European offerings, Düsseldorf is the place to go.

The show is vast and soulless, but in its cavernous halls builders can house not just one or two boats but most of their range. ‘Forecabin on our 35ft model a bit cosy for you, Sir? Try our 37 next
door – it’s amazing how those extra two feet make room for yours, and only an extra £20k.’

Only our Teutonic brethren could make the emotion-laden process of boat buying quite so efficient.

But what about the rest of us, for whom buying a new boat is either a pipe-dream, or completely off the radar? Why would you visit a show?

In some ways, the justification for visiting boat shows is much the same as that for buying boating magazines. Boats are our hobby: we enjoy sailing them, we enjoy seeing them, we enjoy reading about them.

And like all hobbies, we like to learn and be informed. Garnering knowledge about boats will not make us rich, unlike a detailed understanding of the LIBOR, but I know which interests me more.

Boat shows and magazines give us the opportunity to see what’s new. What’s the latest trend in hull design? Has electric propulsion become a viable option for long-distance cruising? Are there designs of LED lamp which will easily fit in place of my existing ones? Does the latest electronic wizardry offer functionality which will improve my sailing experience, or is it all just
adding unnecessary complexity? Whether or not you plan to invest in anything, knowledge is power, and what’s new at the boat shows this year will often be the norm in a few years’ time.

Speaking of exploring what’s new, this is an area in which shows and magazines go hand-in-hand.

Visiting a show gives the opportunity to see a product, to get a feel for how intuitive it is to use, and to ask questions of its manufacturers.

Magazine tests can’t give you that first-hand experience, but does give us the chance to try the products out in real-world scenarios and pass our findings on to you.

In the latest issue, David Harding tries out a real Tardis of a boat, the Haber 620. You might have seen this 20-footer at Southampton, and it’s one of the most interesting designs in this size range for some time, offering standing accommodation and decent sailing performance in a deceptively small (and trailable) package.

Meanwhile, on the equipment side of things, over this issue and the next we’re tackling the extensive range of marine instruments on the market. It’s a diverse area, with some units which have been on sale for decades and others which are using cutting edge screen and processing technology to produce devices more powerful than the average home computer was a few years ago.

But do they really add to the experience of sailing, or should the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle apply?Turn to page 20 of the latest issue to find out what we think.

It’s possible to sail on a budget, and the February 2017 issue is packed with stories from people doing just that.

The ‘P’ in PBO stands for Practical, not Poor: our job is to help you use the former to avoid the latter.

Fair winds,
David Pugh

David Pugh, PBO editor

David Pugh, PBO editor

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…from the Rest of the World

Here’s a full list of the February 2017 issue’s contents

Navigate for less: PBO’s pick of basic instruments

PBO Project Boat 2 – Fitting the hatches: For storage and ease of access

How to link old and new electronics: Interfacing demystified

Passage tips: Where to stop and cheat the tide

PBO Boat Test – Haber 620: A trailer-sailer like no other

PBO Tested – Boracol: Wooden deck cleaner put through its paces

Strip and repair an outboard carburettor: …And save money in the process

Install a solar water heating system: David Berry demonstrates how he fitted such a system to his Moody Eclipse

Make wooden masts: From mere poles to the finished article

Branching out: An Essex creek-crawler’s cross-Channel experience

Broads sailing charter special: Sailing craft for hire on the Broads

Wind Elf over the Atlantic: Peter K Poland’s 1968 odyssey

Can you cruise the Med on a budget?: How feasible is Med sailing with modest funds, and how do you keep costs down?

Fitting coaxial plugs and sockets: Make reliable joints in your VHF cable

Nautical know-how: The Bernoulli principle

A false alarm: A combination of factors leads to a worrisome communication breakdown

Katakolon, gateway to Olympia: This cruise ship stopping-off point also offers a cheap boatyard and boat storage

Constructing insect screens: PLUS more reader projects and tips

Making hot drinks afloat: Hints and tips from the PBO Sketchbook


Waiting for the tide: The editor’s welcome to this month’s PBO – sign up for PBO’s free monthly e-newsletter at:

‘Mad about the Boat’ columnist Dave Selby: Sailfishing for compliments

Columnist Sam Llewellyn: That refit, rethought

Monthly musings from Andrew Simpson: Going round the bend

PBO products and services: Books and plans from the PBO Shop

News: Famous ocean racing yacht Maiden is coming home… and more

Regional news: New marina for Stornoway, theft warning to boat owners… and more

New regular chandlery offers

Readers’ letters: Your views

Ask the experts: A slow-starting engine, calculating rig tension, and more reader queries answered

New gear: PBO looks at the latest marine products

Northern Boat Show

Northern Boat Show 2017

NORTHERN BOAT SHOW 23-25 June 2017 The International Mersey River Festival TICKETS NOW ON SALE ryft

Jersey Boat Show 2017

10th Anniversary for Barclays Jersey Boat Show Exhibitor registration is now open for the 2017 Barclays Jersey Boat Show, which…

Pwllheli Harbour

Pwllheli Boat Show

Plas Heli is organising a Boat Show using the facilities of the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre in…