Winter Warmers

Now that I have stopped mourning the passing of summer, I am starting to enjoy this Winter lark. With my own sportsfisher tucked safely on shore for the next few months, my only option for getting afloat is a 50-year-old wooden motor launch that I share with my (very) extended family. What a joy it is too. Puttering out of Salterns Marina for a brisk lap of Poole Harbour during a sunny November weekend was a truly uplifting experience. Without so much as a breath of wind to ripple the surface and barely another boat in sight, we pottered around our favourite haunts marvelling at the stillness of it all. The freezing temperatures had killed off the blooms of algae leaving the water as clear as a bottle of Smirnoff. For the first time ever we could navigate the muddy channels, which intersect Poole’s islands, simply by following the contours of the sea bed with our eyes.

There are other things to look forward to as well. The Battle of the Boat Shows is shaping up nicely. There may not be much in the way of big motor boats at the new Earls Court Boat show but it should be a great opportunity to wear out your credit card with some pre-Christmas chandlery action. Then there’s the main event at ExCeL in January to look forward to. With a much bigger emphasis on entertainment than ever before and some stunning new world debuts from Princess, Sunseeker and Sealine, it looks like being the best London show in years. If the British Marine Federation can pull this off as well as its bold plan to make boat buying a simpler, safer experience, they will deserve a slap on the back. Hell, they are even trying to convince Customs to let us carry on using red diesel and declaring the extra tax ourselves.

Talking of buying boats, half the office seems to have been at it this year and we thought you’d be interested to hear about a few of them. This month we are launching a new series that looks at the ups and downs of buying and owning a new or second-hand boat. We’ve drafted in a couple of willing readers to spice up the mix so there should be something for everyone, from restoring a tired but capable offshore RIB to buying a brand-new Sunseeker Predator 72. I might even have to start paying a bit more attention to that lovely old wooden launch of ours!