Boat show review
The latest trends at Southampton – from wheelchair powerboating to innovative trackers and MOB gear

“…new figures released at the Boat Show revealed that Britain’s boatbuilding revenue increased by 21% in 2018, a rise attributed to increased exports of inboard motor cruisers and motor yachts. From the huge crowds enjoying the sunshine and the many brand new yachts, this certainly looked to be the case.”


Project Boat
PBO readers and show visitors visited the Secret 20 Harvey at Southampton Boat Show

“Retired dental surgeon Don Cousin stopped by at the stand in particular to see the coaming-to-cabin cap piece we featured in the October issue. He described the project boat as “fantastic. I’m very impressed. Just my sort of thing…”


Twin keel performers
It’s not all about practicality! Don’t underestimate the ability of bilge keelers, insists Peter Poland

“In the frenetic yet halcyon days of fast-selling Hunter Sonata and Impala cruiser-racers, I foolishly regarded bilge keels as performance sapping abominations. But when my personal circumstances underwent a change, I had to think again and spent my own hard earned cash on a second-hand bilge keeler…”


Buying your next boat
Rupert Holmes outlines the essential first steps from moorings to budgets and how to narrow the search

“Try not to get hung up over an exact class or design. Smart buyers know it’s more important to focus on the condition and equipment of any boat that makes the short list, especially if you have to work to a budget. And a good boat that’s in a convenient location for you may not be a well-known design.”


Farewell to northern Spain
On his last Biscay adventure, Jim Mottram finds tranquil rias and vibrant towns in his Elizabethan 23

“It is now 30 years since I first sailed to the northern Biscay coast and fell in love with that beautiful and varied coastline. Like many others, my aim was simply to head south to warmer climes, so I had just a taster of its charm and beauty.
On retiring in 1999, I repeated the trip, and in 2015 had the urge to do it all again.”


Living aboard in London
City liveaboard Richard Rogers has some top tips for staying warm and dry this winter while still cruising

“Central London is awash with houseboats of varying types but not many that have sails and hardly anything that actually goes to sea. Last year we sold our 41ft Beneteau, Nereid, after nearly eight years as liveaboards. We learned plenty in that happy time, sailed all season, and still went to work in our suits!”


Rescue at Flat Rock
How a navigational error sparked a daring helicopter rescue operation off Brisbane, Australia

“With the lighthouse still showing a white sector, I continued my SE course, convinced that I was well clear. Suddenly, there was a sickening thump and a grinding sound that was stomach-churning. I knew instinctively it was the sound of Sandpiper’s shoal keel hitting an obstruction.”


Cruising St Maarten
Alice Driscoll falls in love with this enchanting half-French, half-Dutch Caribbean island

“My husband and I are avid racers and we’ve always eschewed the idea of long-distance cruising. But being at the St Maarten Heineken Regatta earlier this year – we were working as race reporters for the event – showed us a way to combine the two: the fun of racing and regatta socialising, followed by a cruise on to the next island in time for the next regatta.”


Building a Béniguet
Nic Compton takes a look at this ‘sensible’ trailer-sailer built meticulously from a kit

“…one of the most well thought through and cleverest pocket cruiser on the market –– like the sensible boyfriend or girlfriend you end up marrying after you’’ve been through a string of glamorous but ultimately unsuitable partners. Or, as the editor of one eminent boating magazine put it: she just “looks so right.”


Made of mettle
Meet the DIY enthusiast who built an aluminium speedboat, by Mike Taylor

“In 2013, James Oakley decided to build a speedboat from scratch. He considered GRP, but there are several stages, from making a plug to producing the mould, and the whole process is very expensive just for one boat.
An aluminium hull, on the other hand, wouldn’t require a mould…”


A tale of two lifeboats
How the people of Hastings revived a pair of sorry wrecks, by Wilf Lower

“Wherever you find boats, you will find boat restoration projects. But how often does a boat considered fit for scrap actually end up looking good as new again? Not very often, yet in the past six years that’s just what’s happened in the Kent fishing town of Hastings… not once, but twice!”


DIY swing keel fix
Steve Berry learns this is no job for the faint-hearted

“The rust was extensive. There was no sign of any paint left on the keel and the large barnacle-like rust blisters were everywhere. I scraped them all off until I was back to the base metal which even then was slightly pitted in most areas. Short on time in the barn, I applied a single coat of Hammerite paint to the exposed areas, knowing that I would have to revisit the problem the following year…”


Boat heater upgrade
Ben Meakins installs a new diesel heater on his Impala 28

“Having a heater on a small boat might seem like overkill, but I wouldn’t be without one. Quite apart from extending your sailing season, it keeps crew happy, and keeps the inside of the boat fresh and dry. The Eberspächer D1LC on my boat had given 27 years of faithful service. But in recent years it had begun to develop more and more faults…”