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Boat shows, prizemoney, and what's in a name?

by Guy Nowell 20 Dec 2018 04:13 GMT
Cue the elephants (we're in Thailand)! Thailand Yacht Show & RendezVous 2018 © Pozeidon2017

What are boat shows all about? Somewhere to go and check out new boat models while clutching a cold one? ("Cor, fancy that one over there..."). But surely you did the research online before you got there? Boat shows have discovered that it's no longer about showing off new models besides, Asia is not a sufficiently large market for the big manufacturers to bring lots of brand new never-seen-before boats over here. And they are not about selling gadgets and widgets, since precious few people look after or maintain their own boats here. That's what boat boys are for. No, boat shows are about LIFESTYLE, which is currently one of the most overused words in the dictionary, along with PASSION and LUXURY.

However, if you are looking for a bit of passion and some luxury lifestyle, the Thailand Yacht Show (which now has a 'RendezVous' attached to it) is up and running next month. There used to be two shows, but after years of counter claims and competitive superlatives they have got together and are now "all-inclusive," and the venue is Royal Phuket Marina. As everyone knows, the 3nm trip past the sandbanks and through the mangrove channel is strictly dependent on draught and the state of the tide. Which is why the really big boats are parked at Koh Rang Noi. Enjoy.

Volvo walked away, and now the Volvo Ocean Race is called "The Ocean Race" which is about as exciting as wet breadcrumbs. Which ocean race? It's almost as bland as the The Race in 2001. Which race? Yes, that's right. However, a friend who understands this sort of stuff says that it should really be referred to as 'The ( ) Ocean Race', as the owners are really just waiting for the right name to come along. That sounds about right to me, but how on earth do you pronounce "( )"?

There's no prize money for the America's Cup. The same goes for an Olympic medal, the (Volvo) Ocean Race, Vendee Globe or absolutely any class World Championship. They all cost a bomb, but the only prize is bragging rights. So why does a very small event in China, the Guangzhou Nansha International Sailing Regatta, feel the necessity to hand a prize of RMB60,000 (USD8,680) for first place in a 7-boat affair sailed in FarEast 26s. RMB40,000 and 20,000 for second and third place respectively. Presumably they think that a carrot is necessary to get crews to turn up for an event on the fast-flowing Pearl River, under the shadow of the Humen Bridge. Inside news is that the competitors were treated like 5-star celebrities, and the whole bash was brilliantly well-organised. Let's hope the entry list will be massively over-subscribed next year!

Standing by on 72.

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