Theo Stocker takes a look ahead to the 2023 Southampton Boat Show, and finds a massive event packed with new boats, gear and activities
Boat show season starts in earnest in the autumn as boat builders begin launching their models for the next season. Cannes, with its French glamour, is the first of these (12-17 Sept), where the major European builders have a big presence, followed by the Southampton Boat Show (15-24 Sept). Thereafter, most of the shows are indoors, notably Paris and Düsseldorf, followed by more local shows in the spring and early summer.
This is a quick preview of what’s coming up at the 2023 Southampton Boat Show which, for UK readers, probably provides the most interest. It’s remains a good indicator of what’s new in the world of sailing.
Meet the team
The Yachting Monthly team will, as ever, be at the 2023 Southampton Boat Show. We’ll be announcing the winners of this year’s Brian Black Memorial Award – our competition for the best article and the best video about coastal biodiversity as seen from a cruising boat. Judged by Mike Golding, Dee Caffari and Monty Halls, among others, there will be drinks and nibbles on the B&G stand (J377) in Ocean Hall at 1530 on Friday 15 September.
This will be followed by ‘Meet the Yachting Monthly’ team drinks at the Guinness Bar from 1700 on Friday 15. Come along, grab a drink, and say hello to the editorial staff and some of our expert contributors. We’d love to see you and to have a chat over a pint.
Yachting Monthly, along with Practical Boat Owner magazine, will also be sponsoring the Foredeck Stage this year, so keep an eye on the programme for talks by us or some of our expert contributors.
Foredeck stage highlights
- How to pass your Yachtmaster – Theo Stocker, Rich Falk and James Stevens (13:00-13:30, Mon 18/9)
- Sailing with spinnakers – Theo Stocker and Rachel Sprot (15:30-16:30, Mon 18/9)
- VHF radio etiquette – Theo Stocker and Andy Du Port (12:30-13:00, Weds 20/9)
Things to do at the 2023 Southampton Boat Show
If you want to get on the water, there will be plenty of opportunities at the ‘On the Water’ zone, all for free, though booking may be required. The Try a Boat area includes a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 from Flexisail, single-handed and double-handed dinghies, kayaks and paddleboards, with instruction and kit provided by Rockley Watersports.
The tall ship Thalassa will be in the marina, with evening sails aboard for a small fee. For kids, there’s a show-wide treasure hunt, knot tying in the classic boat section, face-painting (at the weekends), scuba diving mini-pool and a watersports lake, as well as flyboard and jetski demos and a whole host of food stalls to choose from, plus live music on the Heart Stage.
If you’re a purist, don’t miss the full range of chandlers, sail makers, electronics, hardware and charter operators at the show. There’s more than enough to keep you busy for a day or two.
Souhtampton Boat Show 2023 ticket offer
Use the code YM2023 when you buy tickets to Southampton Boat Show to claim your discount for a single any-day ticket at £19.99, instead of £32.
Two children under 15 can be admitted for free with each adult ticket. Concessions costing £17 are available to anyone who works for the NHS, armed forces, emergency services, or who is a student, over 60 or disabled. Carers also get in for free.
Must see boats at the 2023 Southampton Boat Show
There are a host of cruising boats to see at this show, including a few premiers. The Bavaria C46 is making it’s debut as the latest edition to the high-volume, but seakindly and powerful C-line yachts.
Of the four Hanses at the show, the Hanse 410 is brand new, and the Hanse 510 almost as new. The 410 aims to offer unparalleled living space, while being fun and easy to sail.
It’s a good opportunity to see the whole line up of the Beneteau Oceanis range, where you can step aboard the 30.1, 34.1, 40.1 and the 46.1, though sadly not the new 37.1.
French builder Jeanneau will have most of its new-style Sun Odyssey range on show, including the Sun Odyssey 380, which I tested and enjoyed sailing recently. These boats are
set apart by their step-free access to the sidedecks via an incline from the helm.
Bringing two factory-fresh models, Dufour is showing the Dufour 37 and the Dufour 41, both of which are coastal cruising boats with hulls and sailplans to offer more performance, better sea-keeping and more living comfort with Dufour’s trademark outdoor living spaces.
If you’re keen to see smaller boats, Swallow Yachts, Cornish Crabbers, Astus, Viko and BTC are all worth looking at, and Highlander boats offer a very pretty range of small clink GRP dinghies.
If you’re after a blue-water cruising boat, the aft-cockpit Hallberg-Rassy 400 and the centre-cockpit Hallberg-Rassy 44 on the pontoons are both yachts that continue to set the bar when it comes to top-end serious cruising boats. By way of comparison, don’t omit a visit to Rustler Yachts, where you’ll find the traditionally-styled and owner-bespoke Rustler 57, with her low, graceful lines and powerful sailplan.
Swan’s 58 is also worth a look while you’re there. The new Arcona 50 is the brand’s first blue-water cruising boat, yet it still stays true to Arcona’s performance pedigree.
Although not on the water, one name that will be familiar to all sailors is Southerly. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the brand is being revived (again) by Concept Yachts in Southampton, with plans for a new model based around the tried-and-tested lifting keel technology (stand W001).
There will an amazing range of powerful, high-end cruising boats at the show, many of them new to the show, if not the UK.
J-Boats has had decades of success with its racing boats and is looking to appeal to the cruising market with its lovely new J45, which I tested earlier this summer – the review will be in the next issue (YM, Oct 23).
Beneteau has two brand new performance cruiser racers – the First 36 and the First 44. The 36 in particular is designed to be fast, fun and exciting to sail without being too demanding on crew or bank balances, with some innovative design touches.
In addition to Jeanneau’s cruising range, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the launch of the very racy Sunfast 30OD, which has been developed in conjunction with racing bodies such as RORC.
Dehler will also be bringing the latest generation of its boats, with the 38SQ and 46SQ. I tested the 46SQ last autumn in some pretty meaty conditions, where the boat showed itself to be quick as well as a proper cruiser.
And don’t miss X-Yachts stunning new fast cruiser, the X43, which we put through her paces recently.
Key Yachting will be showing the brand new Marc Lombard Nautitech 44 Open, which features the trademark helms aft and outboard on both sides, featuring a larger, more powerful sailplan than on earlier models.
Other multihulls we think would be worth paying a visit include Neel’s offering – the innovative and lively 43, which we reviewed earlier this year – as well as several interesting offerings from the likes of Fountaine Pajot, Dragonfly, Excess, Lagoon, Bali and Astus.
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