Matthew Sheahan’s tips on what to see at this year’s Southampton Boat Show

This year’s boat show
has to be one of the best that Southampton has delivered to date. Sure, the
weather has helped so far, but the range of boats feels broader than ever
before with some intriguing and innovative designs.

In no particular
order, here are some of the key features that have caught my eye so far.

Rustler 37 -

reputation for elegant yet rugged, go anywhere cruisers has stepped up another
notch with their latest boat, the Rustler 37. A huge boat for a 37 footer and
has attracted plenty of interest all week. Join the queue
to take a look – it’s worth it.

Garcia 45
Exploration – (M312)

Ever wondered
what a boat that would be as happy in the ice as it would in the Caribbean look
like? Here she is in the flesh. We featured this
boat in our August issue and in our video test online – Well worth a
look to see what could be a new niche in exploration sailing for all.

GT35 – (M281)
A new solidly
built, beautifully finished 35 foot performance cruiser designed by Stephen
Jones. Built by Windboats in Wroxham to the same standard that made them famous
with the several hundred Oysters that they produced.

Broadblue Rapier
– (M152)

A must,
especially if you thought you weren’t a multihull fan, this boat could change
your mind. Her bridge is a
cross between that of the Starship Enterprise and a modern fly bridge motor yacht,
her saloon the proportions of a Hilton foyer.

She’s striking
on the outside too and makes you wonder if this is the new style for cruising

Swallow Boats’
Bayraider 25 – (F011)

Tucked away in a
corner of the show and ashore it’s easy to miss this boat. Unless you’re into
small traditional looking boats you might skip this one as you walk by, but
don’t. This was one of the biggest surprises for me at the show. Full of clever
and innovative ideas and at the very least, provides plenty of food for

Solent Whisper -
(C43a) Next to the ‘Boat Show Eye’ and close to Guinness stand

There can be
little doubt that foils are taking off, boosted at one end of the sport by the
spectacular America’s Cup action last year and at the other, the continued
success and growth of the foiling Moth fleet. If you’re
interested in foiling boats here’s one you should take a look at.

While the Cup
boats use curved ‘J’ foils, this boat uses a ‘T’ foil system that has more in
common with a foiling Moth. Her designer and builder Ron Price, (a lecturer at
Solent University hence the link and branding), claims she will fly in just 5
knots and will regularly exceed 25 knots in a reasonable breeze.

The boat on
display is a prototype but she’s designed to be a production boat for ordinary
sailors with a target price of a typical 18ft club racing cat. This could be
your move into foils!

VX One – (F008)
Also in a performance vein, take a look at the VX One. A 2-3 man sit out sportsboat with asymmetric kite, carbon bowsprit, square topped mainsail and toe straps – get the idea?
Can’t wait to have a go in this, looks like a big RS400. Also looks like it has been designed for a couple of extra mediums!! #cancelthatdiet

Production boats

Two production boats caught my eye this year in particular, mainly because both offer more space than you’re used to in a thirty something footer and have some subtle but clever design features in their layouts. I haven’t sailed either yet, but given the increase in popularity for smaller cruisers, they certainly look appealing.

Dufour 310 -

If the clue
wasn’t in her name you’d swear she was 35ft.

Beneteau Oceanis
35 – (F016)

A development of
the much talked about three configuration Oceanis 38 launched last year, here’s
another example of what an open plan saloon interior looks like. A big space in
a modest boat, perfect for a couple and guests.