On yachts, brush boarding and Horse’s Necks


It would have been a hard sell to argue that I needed to attend the London International Boat Show to look at the ingenious ways in which ICIS subscriber companies use reinforced plastics and marine resins to manufacture luxury yachts.

So it was in a purely private capacity that I slipped quietly away from the office yesterday evening and headed off to the glossy world of sailing, watersports and catwalk exhibits of beachwear. We had an invitation to view the show followed by cocktails on HMS Westminster, and it was no great hardship to spend half an hour strolling amongst the very shiny new Sunseeker and Princess yachts. It was like being back at EPCA in Monte Carlo but without the sunshine.
At the end of the exhibition day, the most popular spots were clearly the Bollinger Bar and the remote-controlled boats lake.
Something that was completely new to me was the brush boarding display where a guy in a protective bodysuit was surfing on a rippling dry slope.
As the show’s website says: “brush boarding is a revolutionary cross between snowboarding and surfing on dry land, and is done on a Brush Ramp. Situated in the South Hall, the ramp, which is the size of a quarter-pipe skateboarding ramp, has a moving surface of soft brushes that push the rider upward. The rider is taken up the ramp by putting an edge of their board into the brushes, and skims downward when the edge is taken out.” 
The cocktails on the quarter-deck of the naval frigate HMS Westminster, which was moored alongside the Excel centre, proved to be the Royal Navy’s favourite tipples of gin and tonics and Horse’s Necks (brandy and ginger – another new experience, and way too strong for this Blog). With the lights from Canary Wharf shining out over the water, the planes from City Airport roaring overhead and the yachts lined up in the harbour, it was a pretty smart place for a party.

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