Our round-up of the best boating gear at Southampton

 

New gear launches have been a bit thin on the ground here in Southampton, although most exhibitors I have spoken to seem to have plenty up their sleeves for METS in November, so we’ll be there to bring you the news as it happens.

In the meantime, notable launches here include Raymarine’s new A series, a range of budget plotters, and plotter/fishfinders, that include full European Navionics silver cartography in the price. With prices starting at around £600-£700, these plotters have the look, feel and user interface of the more expensive E series, meaning they are very simple and intuitive to use. Three models are available with screen sizes ranging from 5 to 6.4 inches. Visit stand G88 to see for yourself.

The search for my personal Holy Grail, a decent portable satnav that works well both on roads and the sea, has turned towards Garmin (stand G26) and its new Nuvi 500. All previous units I have tried, from various companies, have failed to meet my expectations, but if anyone can produce a great dual-purpose GPS unit, it should be Garmin.

Some bits of kit I have come across look and sound fantastic, and offer what could be a revolution in certain aspects of boat ownership. Ultrasonic Antifouling on stand H10 is one such product. Imagine never having to paint the bottom of your boat again: the annual money savings you would gain in paint and lifting fees would soon recoup the £850 needed to fit this gizmo. Does it work? I have no idea, but we will be testing it as soon as we can.

No boat show would be complete without picking up the latest version of the Reeds Almanac (stand B102). This year, however, carrying it home won’t be such a bind as it is now online. Rather than hulk the big book around you can now leave the show with nothing more than a USB memory stick.

And finally, why not pop along to the Eberspacher (stand E37), Webasto (stand G12), Mikuni (stand G114) or Wallas (stand G35) exhibits and browse their ranges. Most of them have new products suitable for motorboats of all sizes, and what better way to help justify that 60/40 split than with a nice shiny new diesel heater?

I’m off now to look at engines and related products and from what I’ve heard there seem to be some interesting developments. Check back tomorrow for a round-up of what’s hot in the world of propulsion.

Picture: Raymarine’s new A57D plotter/fishfinder