Friday 16 – Sunday 25 September
This being my third boat show, and second here in Southampton, I consider myself something of a pro, and fortunately my crew did their bit to keep me looking my beautiful best for my adoring public, cleaning and polishing me each morning, and not cooking anything ‘after hours’ that would leave me less than fragrant when the gates opened sharp at ten each morning. My lovely broker friends joined us to chat with lots of interested visitors, and I was introduced to or reacquainted with several sailing friends of my crew from their dinghy club days. Some of the professionals came aboard, too, out of curiosity or to assess issues with items of my equipment.
On Sunday 18 I received a special visitor from the Allures factory in Cherbourg. He wasn’t directly involved with my build, as he worked in a different area of the company at that time, and was keen to meet my owners and kind enough to take them out for dinner to recognise their contribution to the advancement of the brand. Really, doesn’t he realise I am their specialist subject? They’d do it all for love of me alone…
The RYA Lounge is situated in the Holiday Inn on the Show site, and this year offered not only the best catering at the Show, but also free use of the hotel’s pool and gym facilities. On Monday 19, Mate took advantage of her RYA membership to enjoy a run, swim and sauna. Unfortunately this must have loosened her brain as well as body, and when she stepped back onboard she tumbled into the cockpit, rolled into the gap between the table and locker and cracked her head on the metal edge of the hatch door. Ouch. When she went back to the gym on the Friday, Skipper went with her, presumably to supervise her safety.
On Thursday 22, an old friend of the Mate, not a sailor but a special lady always up for a new experience (just as well as she was about to become grandmama to bouncing twin boys) drove down to visit and give Mate the perfect excuse for the best retail therapy session of the Show. Not sure how a glass of pink fizz came into it, but it was Ladies’ Day. One very important purchase was a Tilley hat, thanks to a generous leaving gift from Church friends.
In between meeting lots of people, my crew managed to find time to buy lots of new kit for me and them, and conduct further research into a number of items still on the wishlist that we’ll need when we go further afield. Overall we were lucky with the weather; it was a little breezy for all but the most intrepid visitors on a couple of days, but only once did the broker boys have to resort to erecting a canopy to keep the rain off visitors in the cockpit. Just as well – blue is so not my colour.
Three afternoons running I was visited by the excited new owners of my sister yacht, Diomedea – you remember, I saw her launch in Cherbourg at the beginning of the month. Yippee: she WILL be in Plymouth when we go there for our winter rest, so we’ll all have friends to while away the dark days with…
After the show closed on the evening of Sunday 25, the crew enjoyed a well-earned beer with the brokers while mayhem and madness erupted all around us, with sections of the pontoons being dismantled to allow many of the show boats to head straight back to their home berths or yards. The hammering and drilling of deconstruction lasted well into the night.