"Winter for boating people is just that dull, bad time between seasons," said a landsick Londoner, echoing the thoughts of kindred beached souls throughout the northern hemisphere. "A boat show fills the gap nicely." Of all the boat shows that will beckon to yachtsmen in Europe and the U.S. during the next few weeks, none—as the drawings on this and the following pages prove—will fill the gap better than the one at Earls Court. Since its beginning with only 91 boats in 1954, the London show has become a whole maritime world, covering 11 acres of display space and enough variety to set a man planning cruises to last for the next 10 years.
Involvement is the keynote at every Earls Court show. The energetic visitor may try his hand at fly casting in the company of experts, sail a dinghy on a turntable, go water-skiing, be fitted for a suit of thermal underwear or, exhausted, refresh himself with a glass of stout.
The London show, one of the few featuring a man-made body of water with boats floating on it, is always built around a central theme. Last year it was Malta, and the pool was transformed into a bustling Mediterranean harbor surrounded by palm trees and quaint waterfront shops.
Never, in all likelihood, will so many be saved from so little so often as when the R.A.F. gives nightly and daily demonstrations of its rescue techniques via helicopter and bosun's chair.
Kids will get the chance to dream some 30-knot dreams of their own as they crowd into one or another of the 750 boats designed to snare the checkbooks of unwary parents like those above.
And, of course, there are always special boats to be oh'd and ah'd at: Sir Francis Chichester's Gipsy Moth IV or the Spirit of Cutty Sark, veteran of 1968's singlehanded transatlantic race.