The Princess Royal officially opened the 30th anniversary event at Kip Marina, Inverkip; Injured Flyboarding champion Sonnie Bean is on the mend, say organisers.
Thousands of visitors flocked to Scotland’s Boat Show and more than 400 braved the rain to get out on the water.
The Princess Royal officially opened the 30th anniversary event at Kip Marina, Inverkip, on Friday and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
During Princess Anne’s speech, she praised the show’s organisers saying: ‘Thank you for the work you’ve done in attracting more and more people to understanding the pleasure of sailing in Scotland.’
Highlights of the free-entry, three-day event included an RYA Scotland initiative to enable up to 650 people to get out on the water for free in a 38ft yacht, rigid inflatable boats, accessible sailing dinghies and the wheelchair-friendly Wheelyboat.
RYA Scotland CEO James Allan said: ‘The Get Afloat Experience has been, for us, the success of the show to be honest.
‘Knowing that so many people who come to the boat show have never been on a boat before, it makes sense to give as many people as we could the opportunity to do so.
‘And to have the response we’ve had, despite the weather, with in excess of 400 people getting out on the water, we’re absolutely delighted to give so many people the chance to get afloat at Scotland’s Boat Show.
‘We’ve had really good feedback, a lot of folk have come back in saying they really enjoyed it and it’s given them the appetite to have another experience.
‘We couldn’t have done it without our partners SportScotland National Centre Cumbrae, Clyde Muirshiel Country Park, plus You and Sea Training.
‘We hope folk will take up the opportunity to do a course and to bring them into the world of boats.’
Show visitor Jeannette McInally sailed on a 38ft Salona yacht and said: ‘It was absolutely fabulous. I’ve loved every minute of it.’
For a second year running, Practical Boat Owner magazine brought free practical talks and demonstrations to the RYA Scotland main stage.
Other popular show attractions included skilful demonstrations by European Champion flyboarder Sonnie Bean and jet ski stuntman Dan Rowan.
Saturday’s spectacular flyboarding demonstration ended abruptly when Sonnie Bean suffered severe concussion after hitting the water and had to be treated in hospital.
Scotland’s Boat Show spokesman Kevin Blamire said: ‘Sonnie Bean had severe concussion with possible whiplash, we thought it was possibly a lot worse than that when it first happened. He’s had a CT scan and been kept in hospital overnight.
‘Sonnie is European Champion and came third in the Worlds. This is the equivalent of being at a Grand Prix and seeing one of the racing drivers crash. This is a guy who knows his stuff.
‘We’re looking for anyone with any video footage from just before the accident to come forward as we want to make sure we know what happened.’
He added: ‘Sonnie has been associated with the show for a long time, this is his fourth year. We’ve very concerned because he’s a friend of the show and we’re delighted with his progress.
‘We’re also delighted with the speed of the response of the emergency services who were here. He had the Coastguard, Marine Police, MoD Police, and our onsite first aiders, plus a visitor who was a doctor in attendance, you don’t get better than that.
‘The positives are that Sonnie’s better and the event safety plan works.’
Kevin praised everyone involved in making the 30th anniversary show ‘the biggest and the best show we’ve had.’
He said: ‘The variety of the exhibitors is tremendous. The synergy between the RYA Scotland, PBO and ourselves has lifted it to another level. The people I’ve spoken to, the feedback has been ultra positive.
‘It’s nice to have people say they’ve found the talks really interesting, and asking when the next talk is for such and such – it’s stimulated interest.
‘I’ve also been very impressed with the Get On The Water Pavilion. Princess Anne spent a good amount of time in there.
‘The thing that was really complimentary is that normally Royal visits might be part of an itinerary but Princess Anne flew in specifically for this and straight back afterwards.’
PBO editor David Pugh said: ‘This is PBO’s fifth year at the show, the show has been growing year on year.
‘It’s a great opportunity for us to engage with readers from all over the country but particularly Scottish readers.
‘There’s a great vibe about the show, with a mix of new and second hand boats, which is right on PBO’s market.
‘We’ve met a lot of readers with great ideas here, really practical mindsets. It’s a growing show and we’re happy to support it.
‘Thanks to our experts for giving the talks, this is the second time we’ve done it and it’s grown significantly from last year. The public have clearly appreciated the great wide range of expertise they’ve been able to give.
‘Thanks to RYA Scotland for supporting PBO Ask the Experts Live.’
PBO Ask the Experts Live!
Dylan Winter, from the Keep Turning Left blog fame, gave a talk on boating on a budget and arrived at the show in his clonky old bucket-shop Centaur Lily M.
He said his wife ‘laughed like a drain’ when she heard the topic of his talk as she thought his boat spending was out of control.
Dylan told the audience: ‘We’re the luckiest sailors to have existed, we’ve got immortal boats, sails that last and GPS is absolutely marvellous.
‘In all my time sailing around the UK I’ve never been more than an hour from rescue by men in yellow wellies.’
His many amusing and practical top tips included carrying a glue gun for emergency repairs and an ‘un-glue gun’ – a heat gun – to get the glue off when needed: ‘They should sell them in pairs.’
He advised buying a tablet for £50 on eBay and to use Visit My Harbour for navigational information, and for sailors to get used to saggy sails, he added: ‘I wear a hat with a viser so I don’t have to look at them.’ Another tip was to use an old fender as a tool box.
Dylan told the packed crowd: ‘If you want to boat on a budget, beautiful boats are not for you.
‘You have to learn to row backwards so when you’re leaving your boat you don’t have to look at it.
‘It’s the view from the cockpit that counts. Sail now, fettle later. Don’t be proud of your boat, be proud of what you do with your boat.’
Dylan told PBO: ‘I think it’s such a great boat show because there are boats here that I could afford.
‘You go to the big London boat shows and can’t afford a thing. There’s a boat for £3,100 and a Centaur for £8,500 – I bet I could offer him £6,000 and he’d consider it.
‘It’s a really grounded boat show. I like the fact that it’s free to everyone.
‘I like the mix of people you get here and it’s very welcoming around the pontoons.
‘I love the marina, there’s a great spirit about the place and the food is good, a smell of chips wherever you go.
‘I like the range of boats here and any event with bagpipes, it just stirs you up a bit.
‘And to see Princess Anne was a marvellous thing.’
Kip Marina master Heath Gairns said: ‘I think Dylan’s fab. He’s loud, he’s funny, he’s controversial, and he’s right – as in you sit there going ‘Aha, I’ve done that, I know I was daft.’
‘He’s knowledgeable, he’s also sensible – he has back up plans and does his planning. His demeanour of a mad sailor relates to all of us. I think he’s an all-round good guy. Brilliant.’
Sika’s technical services expert Gareth Ross’ talk with demonstrations explained how to use sealants for bonding and waterproofing on board.
He said: ‘I’ve had some really good questions from the audience. It’s nice to have positive feedback. One guy said to me ‘I didn’t have any questions because you answered them all, I came here to quiz you about stuff but your presentation covered everything.’
‘I’ve had people coming up, asking questions about their particular boats. Having the freebies helped, I was giving away the 70ml Sikaflex, that was popular.’
World Cruising Club’s Jeremy Wyatt gave a talk about the realities of crossing the Atlantic with provisioning guru Clare Pengelly. Jeremy said: ‘Our talk was very much about the impartation of dreams and from our perspective, we hope to encourage those dreamers to turn it into a reality.
‘All in all it’s great to be here, apart from the weather but we knew it was going to rain so we planned for it.
‘We’re pleased to be here and it’s been nice, after every talk we’ve had former rally participants come up to say hello.
‘And we’ve had some really good curries in Greenock.’
Sarah Brown of Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and C2W Consulting gave an entertaining and insightful talk on the battle to keep Scottish waters free from invasive species and what you can do to help.
Her husband, PBO contributor Colin Brown, of CB Marine Services, also returned to Scotland’s Boat Show’s stage for a second year to give a corrosion-specific talk on boat surveys.
Met Office weather forecaster Penny Tranter completed the line-up with insight into ‘reading the skies.’
Westerly Owners’ Association spokesman Alan Rand travelled from Lymington, Hampshire to attend the show for the first time.
He said: ‘It’s very different to ExCeL and Southampton, it’s very influenced by the fact that it’s right by the marina.
‘The stands are different, we found on the WOA stand that people here are extra friendly, there’s time to stop and talk.
‘We’ve really enjoyed it up here.’
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