More than 7,000 visitors flocked to Beaulieu Boatjumble yesterday and left the Hampshire country estate laden with bargains.
This year marked the 39th anniversary of the largest sale of boating bits in Europe, and the second year running for the PBO Ask the Experts Live marquee where free talks and demonstrations were staged all day.
The event, which builds on the success of PBO magazine’s Ask the Experts pages, included a liferaft demonstration courtesy of Viking Life-Saving Equipment; cooking on board demonstrations by David Wells from South Devon College; a talk on preparing your boat for long-stance cruising by World Cruising Club’s Clare Pengelly.
Plus tips on buying and selling boats by Paul Singer of British Marine South West; a demonstration on varnishing boats by International Paint’s chemist Kate Moss; followed by a demonstration on effective handling of epoxy products in the repair and fit-out of wood and glassfibre on your boat by David Johnson of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy from Wessex Resins.
Marine gas engineer Peter Draper of Nautigas shared his 40 years (and ongoing) experience with a talk on gas safety, while Golden Arrow Marine’s Dave Hill gave a practical talk on engine maintenance – thanks to Hamble School of Yachting for the demo engine loan.
Sika’s technical services expert Gareth Ross returned to Ask the Experts LIVE! for a second year to demonstrate how to use sealants for bonding and waterproofing on board, while the RNLI Community Safety team held free lifejacket clinics and PBO tester Alan Watson manned a stand to answer questions about radar and electronics on board.
Margaret Thompson, of New Zealand who’s now living in Sussex, said the smoked fish kedgeree demonstration was ‘extremely interesting’: ‘It’s a good dish to cook at home, as well as brilliant for the boat, it’s so easy and is sure to be extremely popular for any visitor and quite posh.
‘It just uses one pan and you can bring it straight to the table, all the ingredients make it the perfect dish to cook on board.’
She added: ‘Our boat’s in Italy so we’ll be cruising in the summer. We haven’t been to Beaulieu before but it was well worth getting up early to come down.
‘We planned the day around the PBO talks, starting off with the liferaft safety and staying on for the long-distance cruising.’
Graham and Tracey Kyte said: ‘The varnishing demo was excellent. Luckily it started late because we got lost in the boat jumble. We’ve definitely learnt something, we’ve got enough knowledge now to go off and do it.’
Stephen Few, of Shaftesbury, said the Experts Live! event was ‘very interesting. There’s something for everyone.’
He added: ‘This is my second year at Beaulieu, it’s excellent. You’ll always find something you need, that’s for sure, or things you don’t. I got 90m of rope for £40.’
Sika’s technical services expert Gareth Ross said: ‘I have to say, the first hour was mental, in a good way. I was completely swamped by enquiries and people asking about products. I’d brought some of our small size sealants to give away and after the first hour they were nearly all gone, I had to hold a box back. Having a later talk slot this year meant I could learn from what people were asking me and incorporate some of those questions into my presentation. It’s been good.’
David Johnson of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy said: ‘PBO Experts Live has made me realise we’ve got to keep doing this. This is our grass roots, everybody we saw is doing a project, they wanted advice from us and to find out where the nearest stockist is.
‘It’s my first time at Beaulieu and I saw everybody going past with their bargains. I’ll sum it up: great atmosphere.’
A PBO garage clear out – to make way for the new project boat – sold leftover antifouling test paints and other items outside the Experts marquee, and raised more than £460 for the RNLI.
RNLI spokesman Mike Hannam said: ‘Once again the RNLI Community Safety team were honoured to be asked by PBO to join them in the “Ask the Experts” tent at Beaulieu Boatjumble. This event is an important stage to deliver safety advice to boaters and an opportunity to work with partners in helping to reduce accidental deaths by drowning. We would like to thank PBO for the generous donation, helping to advance this work and saving lives at sea. Thank you.’
Other Beaulieu Boatjumble highlights included hundreds of stalls offering everything from big-name brands at show prices to second-hand bargains in the Trunk Traders area for amateur jumblers.
The International Boatbuilding Training College gave a demonstration of traditional boatbuilding woodcarving skills and talked to visitors about their training programme.
Ramora UK also returned to this year’s event with its Flare Amnesty collection, in partnership with the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Police Unit. Visitors brought along old and unwanted flares and, for a small donation, had them safely disposed of by the experienced explosive ordnance disposal team.
To catch final sales, the RNLI held an end-of-event auction to sell off boating bargains and top up the day’s fundraising for the life-saving charity.
Visitor Michael Dickinson, of Christchurch Sailing Club, described Beaulieu Boatjumble as ‘practical and down to earth’. He said: ‘It’s been a good day, my fenders were a good buy. I bought what I needed rather than what I was tempted by.’
Adrian Wilkins, of Cowes, said: ‘I’m totally rebuilding a sailing dinghy. I needed buoyancy bags and found them at Beaulieu. I got five for £10, which is just so cheap.
‘I got a dinghy cover, that was £10 as well, all things I needed.
‘We’ve come regularly in the past but to sell things for the sailing club, this was my first time as a foot passenger. It’s not as good as being an exhibitor as then you’re here an hour before it opens, but I got some good things so it was well worth going.’
The Classic Motorboat Association displayed a dozen classic speedboats this year and an antique outboard engine. This included two racing hydroplanes not seen at the event before, two aluminium exhibits including a very rare Albatross with an outboard and two GRP speedboats that included another very rare classic, a Riva Rudy which is a project boat.
Beaulieu commercial director Steve Munn said: ‘It’s been a good show with a good cross-section of stands, as always plenty of bargains to be had.
‘Once again the PBO Experts Live was well received by our visitors. The weather was a bit colder than we would’ve liked first thing in the morning but then the sun came out.’
Beaulieu events manager Judith Maddox said: ‘It was fantastic to see the sun out for the first of our popular jumble events this season, which really lifted the spirits. Everyone had a great time and went home with a bargain from the wide range of eclectic items on sale. We are now looking forward to the first of this year’s Autojumble events, on the weekend of May 21st and 22nd, which we hope will be just as successful.’
PBO competition winners Stuart and Jenni Morris, from Muddiford, enjoyed free entry to the show, a night’s accommodation at the Montagu Arms Hotel, plus a three-course meal in the hotel’s Terrace restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin star for its food.
PBO subscriber Stuart said: ‘I saw the competition in the magazine and entered online. Then I was just about to buy tickets and I got a phone call to say we’d won.‘We come to Beaulieu Boatjumble every year, the only one we’ve missed in about 25 years is the year it was rained off.‘Over the years, we’ve had all different boats and always wanted bits, paint, rope and shackles, as we’ve got older and got the boat as we want it, we don’t really need anything but we still come and pick up things. It’s just a great day out.‘Winning the competition has really made it special, I’ve just retired and we’re hoping to get a lot of use out of the boat this year, this is a nice start to the season.’