London Boat Show guide

Sunsail's guide to the show

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Start the season in style at ExCeL

January may be freezing cold and full of post festive blues for those not soaking up the Caribbean sunshine, but fear not. The London Boat Show heads once more to the Excel Centre from 6-15 January, full of exciting news, deals and over 300 exhibitors. So wrap up warm and head to Docklands for a week of top sailing developments, exclusive new boat launches and more.  

Here’s our guide to this year’s show.

More interactive

Taking a leaf out of Southampton’s book, this year’s show will place a greater focus on interactivity and family fun, with the addition of the Dream Lodge Marina and boating lake, alongside the return of Get Active with Rockley Watersports Park.

The indoor marina will house moored up yachts alongside places to eat, drink, relax and watch the world go by. You may actually feel like you are outside; just without the sub-zero temperatures.

The Rockley Watersports Park is likely to be a hive of watersports activity and will once again give children and adults the chance to go kayaking, sailing and even water zorbing.

You can even take on the pro sailors and have a go at the winching challenge, or test your nautical nous in the A Question of Sailing quiz.

Less like an exhibition

Those brainy chaps at National Boat Shows know that sailors like walking on planks of wood suspended above water and have an innate distrust of solid carpeted floors, so they have arranged for some authentic-looking boardwalks, to make us all feel a little more at home as we temporarily abandon our shoes to climb aboard every new yacht on the market.

All the show’s a stage

The Shows Stage is back, packed with live entertainment and music across all ten days. An array of panel shows and interactive talks with leading names will provide visitors with inspiring and compelling stories, from America’s Cup World Series highlights to dramatic Vendee Globe updates.

Round-the-world sailor and Sunsail ambassador Dee Caffari MBE will be answering questions on the London Stage, as will Olympic Gold medallist Saskia Clark, fresh from her victory in the women’s 470 at Rio 2016. Alex Alley will also be on stage, talking about his fascinating attempt to crowdfund his way to a round the world record, by selling advertising space on his hull, one pixel at a time. Pixel Flyer is an innovative approach to funding a campaign, and Alex hopes his uniquely decorated hull will help him to break the record for sailing non-stop around the world in a boat less than 40ft long.

The Sailing Uncovered sessions will get under the skin of the sport’s most pressing issues, and look into the future of sailing technology. With live chats from pioneers, innovators and adventurers, these talks give an insight into the biggest stars of the marine world.

Kids go free

The London Boat Show is a great place to get children into sailing, with all sorts of activities, games and events geared towards the younger generation. And the best thing is, children under 15 get free entry to the ExCeL for the duration of the show.

Awards night

Just before the big party on Thursday, Yachts & Yachting will host their awards ceremony, celebrating the best boats, most innovative products and top clubs of the last 12 months. After a hectic year that saw records tumbling and amateur and professional sailors claim a blizzard of achievements, this is an opportunity to grab a glass of fizz and reflect on the 2016 season.

Amazing value is yours for the taking

If you buy a ticket for the 13-15th of January, you will also be able to walk across the way into two other shows, The Telegraph Travel Show and the Telegraph Cruise Show.

The Black and White bar is back

The traditional annual meeting point at London Boat Shows since the Earl’s Court days is back once more, and sure to be the scene of many reunions and the swapping of tall tales.

Come and say hello

Come by and see us if you’re planning a sailing holiday, have booked one with us already, or just want to shoot the breeze about cruising in any of our 25 worldwide destinations.

At Sunsail, we care about our sport and are dedicated to protecting and promoting sailing’s grassroots. That’s why we’ll be hosting a special presentation to announce the winner of our £5, 000 Fund the Future competition, giving one lucky sailing club the chance to change their future. The prize will be presented by Sunsail ambassador Helena Lucas MBE.

The Bahamas Tourist Board will be at our stand on the opening weekend, displaying the very best of Bahamian culture across Saturday and Sunday. We’ll also have visits from the BVI Tourist Board and the St Lucia Tourist Board.

Throughout the week, we will run a ‘Guess the weight’ competition, encouraging visitors to estimate the weight of a kit bag stuffed full of various goodies, including Gill sailing kit,  for the chance to win the bag and an amazing sailing holiday in one of our 25 worldwide destinations.

Gutter boat racing will make a triumphant return to our stand after a popular debut at the Southampton show in September. The junior winners will be rewarded with prizes from Nipper Skipper, while over-12 winners can look cool in a new pair of SunGod sunglasses.

We will also have a designated sailing school zone staffed by experts showing you just how easy it is for you to get out on the water and start sailing, regardless of your age, gender, physical fitness and even your political views and economic background.

We hope to see you there to celebrate the start of another year, and gear up for another incredible season of sailing. Come and say hello at stand CO13, and enjoy exclusive Boat Show offers.

 For discount tickets to the show, click here.


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