AS regular readers of this column will know, I’m a boat jumble junkie. I just love poking around the tents and tables packed with other boat owners’ cast-offs in the hope of finding a bargain or two.
And last weekend was the pinnacle for boaties from all over Europe with the staging of Beaulieu boat jumble – the biggest, and usually the best, boating junkfest of the year which regularly draws thousands of bargain-hunters to Lord Montagu’s beautiful country estate on the edge of the New Forest.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience – as always – and came home with my usual car load of unnecessary bits and pieces but I was slightly disappointed to find that the event seems increasingly to feature a mass of fast-talking traders who are now almost as numerous as the private stall-holders.
Don’t get me wrong – some of those professional businesses are offering excellent value. To name just one, Jimmy Green Marine, famous for their competitively priced rope and marine tackle, are always a welcome visitor at the event and have been supporting it for many years. And I fully understand that so many boat-owners in one place at one time present too tempting a target to miss for many traders.
But I just hope the Beaulieu organisers don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a boat jumble – an opportunity for people like me to stroll around chatting to other boat owners in a friendly, unpressured atmosphere swapping stories and tips and picking up the occasional left-handed widget which you’ve been hunting for years.
THANKS to all those who sent tips about the best way to paint a boat after last week’s column. My brother and I have been inundated with good advice about how to achieve the perfect finish. When the final coat of paint has dried, I’ll certainly include a picture of our boat, an old Seamaster 25 called Terra Nova, in her sparkling new livery.
WITH the unseasonally warm weather of late, there has been a rush to get craft of all kinds back in the water – but sadly, I’ve witnessed a number of skippers setting a poor example by hammering along the river at speeds considerably in excess of the 5mph speed limit. Slow down, chaps – what’s the rush? I thought the point of getting out on the Thames was to saunter along enjoying the views and to get away from all the dashing about we generally get up to in our workaday lives. That speed limit is there for a reason – to protect the banks and to keep things comfortable for those aboard moored boats. If you must travel everywhere at a high rate of knots, I suggest you head for the lower reaches…