Monday, September 22, 2014

Yacht's Up, doc?

Sadly, almost no painting this last weekend as I got a couple of unexpected tickets to Southampton Boat Show; somewhere Guy has always wanted to go.  So off we go to Southampton, for about the tenth time this year.  Fortunately, my father-in-law told us a good place to park as it was packed.  He couldn't come on Saturday which was just as well, from Guy's point of view, as he would have had to go on lots of sailing boats and those were not what he was interested in at all!

This one had a sliding roof but almost no forward visibility from the cockpit.  Left hand down a bit.

Strapping on our poshest watches we talked our way onto a number of cabin cruisers (as they don't seem to call them these days - in fact the term is down there with Dormobile in its dingy sixties association) by flannelling the horde of rent a blondes the yacht firms had employed.  Starting at the 50' type and working up we found most of them rather claustrophobic and badly designed.  

£1 million buys nothing these days.  Tragically, I spent most of the time looking at their galleys as on father-in-law's various (sailing) boats my main role was cooking (except when it came to things like picking up buoys with a boat hook when someone disposable was required to hang over the bow).  This effort had four rings, an oven and a microwave!  Cosseted people!  I cooked coq au vin for eight including Field Marshal Sir John Stanier, two colonels and a High Court judge on two gas rings, on the boat in Greece back in the nineties.  Interestingly, these motor boats' cookers aren't on gimbals, so no cooking en route.  As some of them did fifty knots I suppose that is because you are never very far from the nearest waterfront bistro.

This one had much better visibility and overall we definitely decided that Sunseekers were the best make (and they had the friendliest girls) so Guy has allocated his lottery winnings.  Another £5 this week!

Eventually we found the perfect boat.  The new Sunseeker 86.  Nice galley!  Good visibility!  A proper bar! Unfortunately they've only built one and that has sold so we couldn't buy it.  We'd better save a bit more though as it costs about £6,000 to fill the tank with diesel.  £3,599,000 plus VAT.

A rather younger Guy surveys St Tropez for the ideal mooring for his yacht

Guy decided that it was just too big for two people to sail on their own but, fortunately, there were cozy crew quarters for four women from the Baltic under the tender garage at the stern.  Guy would want to take the boat crashing around the sea, however, thus necessitating a captain and crewmen to handle mooring lines and what have you.  I, however, would just park it in St Tropez and employ a crew  of girlies in swimsuits to make me lobster salad and bring me chilled Condrieu.  I could design their little uniforms myself!

Condrieu, sir or would you like me to file some pirates for you?

Probably something along the lines of the outfits worn by the pool waitresses in the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where I stayed with S for a few days some years ago.  I have never been back on account of the fact that I was the oldest person in the hotel.  All the staff seemed to be twenty something and the guests thirty something.  I don't like being the oldest person anywhere!

Inside there was easily room to spread out and assemble a box of Victrix Republican Legionaries (which is what I am doing at present) and still have space for lunch without having to clear everything away  ("Ieva, you can stick the arms on.  I hate sticking the arms on!").  You also have a nice pop-up TV for watching Pompeii on (actually, don't bother.  It's rubbish and had the worst Roman uniforms since, well, Up Pompeii and at least that had Julie Ege in it!).

This is not a gratuitous shot of Miss Ege, of course,  There is a wargaming link in that her Penthouse Pet of the Month pictorial (May 1967) was shot by Philip O Stearns, a co-founder of The Sealed Knot and the photographer for my favourite wargames book, er, The War Game.

Oddly, although the boat guarding girlies were nothing but charming, the actual salesman seemed to have been recruited from defunct Rover car garages.  They had no idea of nautical chic but dressed in ill fitting brown suits (never trust a man who wears a brown suit, as my father once said) and wore ties that looked like the wrappers of Eastern European chocolate bars.  I remember once proudly buying such a chocolate bar in Riga, as it bore the same name as my then secretary (the one who got pregnant, who I mentioned in a previous post).  When I gave it to her (the chocolate bar, I hasten to add) back in the office she inspected it critically, looked at me evenly and said "I don't get on with nuts".

That was on the same trip where I went from Helsinki to Tallinn on this Princess 52.  As you can see by the glowering sky, the weather deteriorated and what followed was four hours of the roughest sea I have ever experienced.  It is slightly disconcerting to look around the Gulf of Finland and not see any other vessels in sight at all.  Although the Legatus does not get sea sick some of our companions were not doing too well, so sadly I had to forego the lovely caviar topped canapes made by our hostess and her incredibly leggy daughter, who was the Estonian ladies High Jump Champion.  She and I knocked back quite a lot of Champagne, though!  Faithless man that I am, I abandoned her in Tallinn for a local opera singer who had been on a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London (and what splendid lungs she had).  I think, deep down I blamed high jumping girl for the rough weather, probably reasoning in my Pommery befuddled way, that she was some sort of Baltic sea sprite who had conjured up the storm because no-one ate her canapes.  Pathetic fallacy, I seem to remember it's called.

Best to stay in harbour, I think.


  1. ughhh power boats - the caravans of the sea

    No elegant sail boats - very disappointing

    1. I know! There were some lovely sailing yachts too (although my taste if for classics not plastic ones) but I wasn't allowed to go on any!

    2. I'm with Miles... it would appear we were at the boatshow on the same day... like you most of the newer yachts tend towards being white and caravan like, but the Cornish Crabbers were lovely & the Halberg Rasseys were classy.. I particularly liked an Italian boat this year - built by Solaris - a 48 footer with a royal blue gel coat finish (with tiny bits of glitter) sounds garish but this was Italian and beautiful.... yours for half a mil, guv....

    3. Sounds like a bargain compared with the gin palaces. Lots of Russians, needless to say in the Sunseeker lounge!

  2. Replies
    1. Hee! Hee! Probably considered the ultimate incarnation of womanhood when I was at school!

  3. No wooden clipper ships sad to say, but i expect the lad wanted speed and girls.

  4. Actually there was a Danish built tall ship there, which in another guise played the part of the Santa Maria in the film 1492: the Conquest of Paradise. Now done up to look like a Brig it recently appeared in Frenchman's Creek. And no I wasn't allowed to go on board!

  5. Just viewing the pictures makes my wallet hurt ;)! Lovely uniform BTW.

  6. Pommery? I do hope your champagne drinking habits have improved since then! Perhaps you should hire a young lady in that outfit to carry your bags at Salute next year?

    1. It's what they had on the boat! I very rarely buy Champagne so only drink what's offered at functions or what people have given me- unless it's Veuve Clicquot which I avoid as it's never been cellared for long enough.

      Sad to say, if I was going to buy a sparkler it might well be Cloudy Bay's Pelorus!

  7. Quite happy for you to give us gratuitous photos of Julie Ege, thanks. Might as well since it's hard to find any wargaming in this one :-)