It’s London Boat Show time again, but this year is a bit different.

It’s London Boat Show time again, but this year is a bit different.

For those working at the 2015 show, the crucial change is that it’s a week later, avoiding that precipitous slide from New Year festivities into long hours manning stands.

For visitors, however, it’s the presentation of the show that sounds like it will be significantly different.

Conscious of the tendency of a huge venue such as ExCel to be somewhat anodyne, for this year’s show the organisers enlisted the help of students from the Central Saint Martins University of the Arts to give it a makeover.

Looking for a key point which unites people on the water, they seized upon weather. A nod to the habit of January to be less than perfect will see visitors enter the show through a wall of rain which we are assured will turn off as a person approaches!

An artist's impression of the London Boat Show's rain wall entrance

An artist’s impression of the London Boat Show’s rain wall entrance

A digital wall will highlight key products and events to help you plan your day, and inside will be 4D ‘environments’ allowing you to sample the atmosphere, temperature, scent, wind and sound of six areas ranging from the Arctic to the Tropics.

An artist's impression of the London Boat Show's 4D Experience

An artist’s impression of the London Boat Show’s 4D Experience

So much for the family appeal, which I have to say sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing, but what about serious buyers?

In terms of products, November’s Marine Equipment Trade Show is a good indicator of how busy London will be in terms of new equipment launches, and this year looks promising.

I’m looking forward to seeing a demonstration of Garmin’s new software integrating their plotters and DSC radios, making it easier to send non-urgent messages using DSC, and the Hydromax fuel cell. Running on saline solution and malic acid (stored in powder form), fuel should be safer to store and hence easier to stockpile for long cruises than volatile liquid fuels.

There’s a fair cross-section of boats too. London has always been good for motorboats, but with Crabbers, Grand Soleil, Oyster, J boats, Varianta, Jeanneau, Nautitech and Tofinou all bringing new offerings there looks to be more than a scattering of sailing boats this year.

London has received some bad press in recent years, but I for one am hoping that this is the turning point for a show which was once one of the highest points in the boating calendar.

National Boat Shows, the organisers, have clearly tried hard this year, and I hope it pays off. See you there!

An artist's impression of the London Boat Show's exit

An artist’s impression of the London Boat Show’s exit

Highlights of 2015 CWM FX London Boat Show

Friday 9 January 2015 – Opening day
With over 77 debuts at the Show, opening day will be packed with press launches and events. From the world launch of the Ribeye PRIME and the Sunseeker Predator 57 to the MUSTO’s live Q&A with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Also expect a few surprises from Show organisers throughout the day.

Saturday 10 & Saturday 17 January
Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) sailors and designers: The Datatag Lab will host exclusive Q&A’s with the people behind the bid to bringing the America’s Cup home. On Saturday 17 meet the sailors who make up the BAR sailing team and on Saturday 10 join the BAR designers at the forefront of racing technology.

Monday 12 January
Unveiling of the first ever production model of the Solent Whisper: During the first three days Southampton Solent University, alongside White Formula Ltd, will be building from scratch the first ever production model of the hydrofoil catamaran, Solent Whisper. On Monday the vessel will be completed for its grand debut with Ron Price, its creator, on hand to explain the revolutionary technology in a Q&A.

Monday 12 & Tuesday 13 January
Met Office share the science of forecasting:  Penny Tranter, former BBC weather forecaster and current Meteorology Training Manager at the Met Office, will be explaining how the organisation has been experts of marine weather for over 150 years. In particular she will be discussing the forecasting at Weymouth during the previous Olympics.

Wednesday 14 January
HRH Princess Royal visit: HRH Princess Anne will be at the Show to explore the wonders of the marine industry. As special guest on the RYA she will be unveiling the winner of the Yachtmaster of the Year Award, as well as taking a tour of the Show and visiting other exhibitors.
Wednesday 14 January
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston:  The world renowned English sailor, best known as the first man to sail single handed and non-stop around the world, will be speaking on the Datatag Lab. As Chairman and Founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race he will be speaking on the race, now in its 20th year, and reflecting on its value as the only race around the world which is specifically for non professional sailors.

Wednesday 14 January
Bart’s Bash special announcement: Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, joined by Sir Ben Ainslie, will be celebrating last year’s Bart’s Bash, a global sailing race and fundraising event as well as revealing plans for the next ‘Bash’.

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