Hope on the horizon

I’ve never quite understood the supposed animosity between sailors and powerboaters. As far as I see it we’re both out on the water having fun. Whisper it quietly but I’ve even been known to do a spot of sailing myself, although most of the time it’s on a slither of composite weighing less than my breakfast. As this month’s weather has demonstrated, it pays to have an alternative to motorboating when the wind is ripping the covers off your flybridge, and skimming across the waves at 20 knots on a windsurfer isn’t a bad way of waiting for a Force 7 to subside.

However, hope is on the horizon once again. As well as the slight risk that the sun might come out for a couple of hours before the summer is over, the Southampton boat show is looming large on the horizon. Every year I debate reducing the number of pages we give to the show on the assumption that there couldn’t possibly be as many interesting new boat launches as there were last year; and every year I end up scrabbling to squeeze them all in again.

You only have to flick through our preview on p27 to see what treats are in store for us this year. As well as the usual rash of exciting new British boats like the Sealine SC47, Princess V62 and awesome new Sunseeker Predator 92, there are some really intriguing new smaller models from further afield. The Fjord 40 Cruiser and Nord West 370 Coupé are two of the most exciting new concepts we’ve seen in years and in conjunction with the Marquis 420SC tested on p144, could really set the market for these mid-range coupés alight.

But the one we’ve all been longing to get our hands on is Fairline’s new Squadron 55. Customers have been falling over themselves to get their deposit cheques in long before they’ve even seen the finished boat. Now, at last, Fairline’s design director Adam Greenwood has given us an exclusive preview of the Squaddie 55 to find out what all the fuss is about. You can see what our technical editor David Marsh makes of it on p74 and next month he’ll be following it up with a full sea trial; unless, of course, the weather continues to spoil the party, in which case you can look forward to an 8pg review of the latest Mistral Screamer board.