Behind all the big boats

We take a look at what there is for the small boat sailor at the Southampton Boat Show
A grey and miserable start gave way to a wonderfully sunny day on the first day of the Southampton Boat Show, leaving thousands of punters wandering over bridges in thick jumpers and coats looking hot and exhausted but ultimately content. From the small boat perspective the show can be a bit of hard work, with dinghies not featuring prominently. It is also a deceptively huge event, covering 155,000sqm and over a mile of Southampton’s waterfront. The majority of the area is taken up with extremely large yachts and powerboats (and a not inconsiderable amount of burger, fish and chip or hotdog vans.) However, if one looks hard enough there are a number of interesting things to be seen. The first thing to note is there are two sections were the dinghy stands are put. The first is called ‘The Arena’ getting to this is simple: simply walk straight in the main gate through the ‘Solent Hall’ and out into the open, this is ‘The Arena’. Here you will find all sorts of dinghy related stands, it is also where most will spend their money, with stands such as Purple Marine, Trident, Rooster and many more. Also here are a number of smaller boat builders and manufacturers, including Vander Craft boats. Last year at the show we saw a very nearly ready for launch V3000. In last year’s report (here) we were told by company owner Jeff Vander Borght that since Laser had dumped the boat he had acquired the rights to sell them and was making some minor modifications he thought were required to get the boat up to the level it should have originally been. This year Vander Borght is back and the boat has had another change, following a number of Laser 3000 owners who went through the boat