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April 2024 Boating News

Gillian Nahum
April 30, 2024

April is proving to be challenging for anyone in the boating business around those UK rivers which have suffered this winter from very strong flows and flooding. One observant customer told me that we had been on 'red boards', indicating strong flow, for about 20 weeks, which frankly is unprecedented. 

Thank you to everyone who has been patient in terms of boat deliveries. Please believe me when I say that we are as keen as you are to deliver your boats back from winter storage so you can start to relax and enjoy the longer evenings with a glass of rose and the sense of relief that perhaps summer will be bright and cheerful as it certainly has been a long time coming.

HSC's May open weekend

A weekend of boats, beer & bubbles
A weekend of boats, beer & bubbles

In our March newsletter we announced our plans for an open weekend this month. However this was characteristically over optimistic (story of my life) and Regine weighed in with Gallic pragmatism suggesting a very sensible delay to the 11th and 12th of May.

'L'Oursin' - a classic Riva Junior, the epitome of Italian craftsmanship and timeless design
'L'Oursin' - a classic Riva Junior, the epitome of Italian craftsmanship and timeless design

Vendors have been chomping at the bit as they would like to get their boats in front of eager buyers as soon as possible. Sadly, we have not had any space to date to take in additional boats, but by the time we welcome you to our May open weekend, we will have an exciting range of vessels on display both on the lake and at the yard.

'Blue Duck' - A bespoke Windermere launch designed with seating for up to 10
'Blue Duck' - A bespoke Windermere launch designed with seating for up to 10
'Blue Duck' - A bespoke Windermere launch designed with seating for up to 10
'Blue Duck' - A bespoke Windermere launch designed with seating for up to 10

We are awaiting the arrival of 'Eleanor' - a nifty 4-seater electric slipper, 'L'Oursin' - the Riva junior we spoke about in our previous newsletter, an array of fabulous Andrews slippers and 'Blue Duck' and 'Swift', both of which are contemporary classics from Cumbria having been built for Thames customers by Patterson Boatworks. 

Should you be lucky enough to have a private lake in your back garden you might like to consider the brand new Scoop mark II with a full canopy, which we have in stock.

There is something for everyone. 

'Scoop II' - This electric boat is easy to drive, seats 7 and features a full canopy and transparent drop own sides.
'Scoop II' - This electric boat is easy to drive, seats 7 and features a full canopy and transparent drop own sides.

Please drop us a line if you are thinking of joining us for our May Open Day, and even better if you are able to indicate which of the two days you prefer.

Other May events not to miss!

For our Norfolk readers, please do come and say hello on Saturday, May 4th, at the Horning Boat show, where I will be showing the new Scoop mark II

If you prefer something original, local, and decidedly more vintage, we have 'Merlin' on our books, which was electrified some years ago for its South Walsham owners, and this Brooke classic is now in search of a new family.

'Merlin'
'Merlin'

May is now set to be super busy with every weekend spoken for. 

Don't forget to get your tickets for the Steam Fayre at Fawley Hill, where we shall be exhibiting a steamboat! It is a true contemporary classic with a fibreglass hull from the 1980s built by the pioneering Rupert Lathem and restored by its current owner in memory of his grandfather.

Originally named 'Sir T. Fireball'
Originally named 'Sir T. Fireball'
She is now 'Lady Margaret'
She is now 'Lady Margaret'
The inner workings of 'Lady Margaret'
The inner workings of 'Lady Margaret'

Originally named 'Sir T. Fireball' this Frolic 21 travelled all the way to Lake Lucerne with Christopher's grandfather. 

More recently the boat has been lovingly restored by Woottens and comes complete with a new boiler certification. 

Henley's cosiest refuge on the river

Our first guests of the season at the houseboat in Henley have had to navigate the quay heading in knee-high wellies. 

To my surprise, this appears to have added to their enjoyment, and clearly they were feeling very smug watching the river whistle by from the cosy houseboat saloon with a cup of coffee in hand. 

The Henley Houseboat cosy kitchen, dining area and saloon (hidden on the far left)
The Henley Houseboat cosy kitchen, dining area and saloon (hidden on the far left)

I have recently added the Henley Houseboat to our charter page so that we can take direct bookings. We basically use the pricing from our charter partners Canopy & Stars, and give our newsletter readers a 10% discount. 

There still is some availability for the big events in July, so please ring the office and ask to speak to me (Gillian) if you are interested.

Barbecue and boating at The Swan at Streatley

Guests at The Swan at Streatley who had hoped for a skippered charter on either 'Ellie' or 'Sapphire Rose' in April are having to wait for May (due to river conditions) to enjoy one of my favourite reaches of the Thames. 

This season self-drive enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy some new features at The Swan, including a covered barbecue area, lots of riverside seating and a grab-and-go picnic hamper from their cafe.

One of our fun (and silent) self-drive hire boats at The Swan at Streatley.
Don't forget to grab yourself a picnic from Coppa to enjoy on your boat or on the riverbank.
One of our fun (and silent) self-drive hire boats at The Swan at Streatley. Don't forget to grab yourself a picnic from Coppa to enjoy on your boat or on the riverbank.

Coppa at The Swan has an open weekend on the 18th and 19th of May when our Pure Boating team will be running short trips on our skippered launches and we should have three or four self-drive boats also available for hire.

Start of boat-hire season in Wallingford DELAYED!

In Wallingford boating enthusiasts will have to wait even longer than May to spend time on the water. It has been a huge disappointment to us that the refurbishment at The Boat House pub in Wallingford has been delayed all winter due to flooding inside the building. 

When I visited two weeks ago, it was still a very busy building site. I am hoping that this will result in a much-needed upgrade to the pub facilities, which will only benefit Pure Boating and our customers.

Our Wallingford boat-hire location will be open for business again come mid-June.
In the mean time, please, visit our Streatley location at The Swan at Streatley.
Our Wallingford boat-hire location will be open for business again come mid-June. In the mean time, please, visit our Streatley location at The Swan at Streatley.

However, unfortunately we will be unable to operate safely from the terrace until the builders move out in mid-June

So all Pure Boating boat hire activity for the next 6 weeks will be exclusively from The Swan at Streatley, where we have added a day out at Beale Park as a new option. One of our skippers will take up to 8 people from The Swan at Streatley, downstream through Goring lock on board 'Sapphire Rose' to Beale Park for a fantastic day out with the kids or grandkids. 

Please, contact our office for more details.  

Picnic season is on our doorstep

Pavilion Classic Picnic
Pavilion Classic Picnic

Both Pavilion in Henley on Thames and The Goring Grocer have been in touch to promote their summer picnic offering. 

Pavilion is one of our favourite lunchtime hang-outs, and last year for the Coronation pageant, we had a delicious and copious afternoon tea-hamper from them. Regine and I were invited to a tasting event some weeks ago, and it was a real pleasure.

The Goring Grocer
The Goring Grocer

If you are mooring up on the long lay-by favoured by so many private boaters when visiting Goring, do head up the high street to The Goring Grocer, where you will find a wide range of food to take away. 

They do advise making contact in advance if there is something you would like to reserve for collection or if you are a slightly larger group of people. 

RNLI and Pure Boating on the telly

Our very own Goring resident and experienced Pure Boating helmsman Mark Hayzelden was the star of  the show recently on a BBC 1 episode of Escape to the Country, where the couple were hoping to relocate to a village on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire borders. Mark took them out in 'Ellie' from Wallingford, and Olivia, another of our longstanding skippers, was interviewed on the riverbank as a local resident. 

Well done team, for putting Pure Boating on the map (I mean the TV)! 

Watch Pure Boating's 4 minutes of fame here.
Watch Pure Boating's 4 minutes of fame here.

Also on the beeb I happened upon a programme featuring the amazing work of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute). A few years ago I stayed in their HQ in Poole during a boat show. This is the UK base for training lifeboat crew. They even have a pool where they can emulate a storm at sea, and it is seriously terrifying.  

One of the crews featured in the programme I saw showed the youngest qualified lifeboat skipper, a female of just 24. The courage and seamanship of these fantastic volunteers is an inspiration. 

Watch 'Saving lives at sea' here on BBC iPlayer.
Watch 'Saving lives at sea' here on BBC iPlayer.

Statement Marine at it again!

PTS 24e cruising along by Bisham church
PTS 24e cruising along by Bisham church

My trip to Poole was pre-covid, and I spent three extremely windy days on a PTS 26 with crowds of Sunseeker employees traipsing along the pontoon. 

Rumour has it that Sunseeker is changing hands again, as large companies tend to do these days. 

However we are still representing Statement Marine with their PTS range, which has recently expanded to include a PTS 24 hull designed specifically to take an outboard motor.  This is a more reasonably priced version than the PTS 24E for obvious reasons and would suit anyone looking for a sports cruiser with a spacious forward cabin suitable for outings at sea.

The PTS 24 Outboard
The PTS 24 Outboard

The build schedule is fully booked for 2024, so we are now taking orders for deliveries in early 2025. 

There will be news of the largest PTS in the pack in our July newsletter, by which time I hope to have been on board the new PTS 34!

Trading up and trading down; the ebb and flow of boat ownership

An old brochure image of the Rampart 39 series II (not 'Zenique')
An old brochure image of the Rampart 39 series II (not 'Zenique')

I had an interesting outing to Chichester to view a Rampart, which I had first sold about 15 years ago. How gratifying then, to see that she is in lovely condition. 

The reason for my visit was to establish with the owners a potential value as they are thinking of trading up to a larger model.

Gleaming 'Zenique' - a Rampart
Gleaming 'Zenique' - a Rampart
Rampart Owners Club flag
Rampart Owners Club flag

While I was there I also visited Tim Gilmore, who had the usual fascinating array of wooden hulls sitting in his yard. 

A snapshot of Tim Gilmore's yard
A snapshot of Tim Gilmore's yard

As I write, Tim has 'Rajdhani' on chocks for a little refresh pending resale. Her owner wants to trade down in fact, as she fancies helming a smaller classic solo. 

This 40ft Bates Starcraft is an exceedingly comfortable four-berth motor yacht similar to my own erstwhile 'New Venture', once called the superyacht of the Thames by Boat International. 

'Rajdhani' - a exceptional 40ft Bates Starcraft
'Rajdhani' - a exceptional 40ft Bates Starcraft

Our challenging spring relaunch

I have been spending time at our boat yard in Lower Basildon, getting under Andrew's feet and trying to help plan the spring relaunch. As we all know, the best laid plans are the most difficult to implement, and this year particularly so for the reasons discussed at the start of this newsletter.

Tim Bird gilding the signwriting on 'Arabella'
Tim Bird gilding the signwriting on 'Arabella'

While at the yard I was fortunate to observe Tim from Merlin Signs in midflow. What an artist! 

By the time you are reading this, 'Arabella' should be back on the water basking in her many coats of shiny new varnish.

PS. If you cannot make our open weekend, please give us a ring, as the boat yard is open by appointment pretty much every day, including on weekends. 

If you see anything of potential interest as you browse through old photo albums, read interesting books or take photos on your daily walks, please send snippets to me gillian@hscboats.co.uk

I look forward to hearing from you with your sales enquiries, your photos and your stories.

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Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

Henley Sales & Charter Ltd

29 Station Road
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
RG9 1AT

Sales

01491 578 870
sales@hscboats.co.uk

General enquiries

office@hscboats.co.uk
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