Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Happy Hooking at Beaulieu Boat Jumble

Daria and Alex Blackwell draw a crowd at PBO Ask the Experts Live 2017
Photo credit: Practical Boat Owner.
Alex and I were invited by Practical Boat Owner to present our anchoring seminar at the Beaulieu Boat Jumble near Southampton in England on the 23rd of April. It was the 40th anniversary of the event's launch. Forget the fact that Beaulieu is pronounced bewley, we had always wanted to visit the legendary jumble and this was the 30th anniversary of the event. It was a great opportunity for a triple whammy: promote our book, visit the jumble, and see our good friends Lynda and Philip Meakins.

Some of the attendees from our point of view.
Photo: Alex Blackwell
We thought about coming by car so we could load it up with stuff we wanted to buy, but it proved to be too expensive and time consuming. We flew to Southampton and Philip met us at the airport. After a lovely evening with Philip and Lynda, it was showtime.

We had sent our presentation off to Laura Hodgetts to upload on the shared computer; but just in case, Alex came with thumb drive pre-loaded with our Happy Hooking the Art of Anchoring seminar (based on our book by the same title) as well as our Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland talk from the OCC Annual Meeting. His reasoning was that if a speaker cancelled for any reason, we could step in.


Lo and behold, the first speaker, a cooking expert, was not there at 15 minutes before showtime. Dave Pugh got him on the phone and found out the chef was in Paris, clearly not on his way. So we loaded up the CWAW talk and did a double feature.

Last year, as part of the morning cooking show, they fried up bacon sandwiches for the audience. When the hungry seat sitters learned cooking was off and sailing in Ireland was on, they got up en masse and walked out. So we put on some Irish music while we loaded the talk and attracted passers by. We were recorded and the edited video will be posted on the PBO website.

By the time the anchoring seminar came around, which was back to back with the CWAW seminar, the room was packed with standing room only. We gave the 40-minute version of Happy Hooking to a highly attentive crowd. The morning went quickly and the audience was thoroughly appreciative of the information. We received many 'thanks' and a strong round of applause.

The PBO Tent
People came to shake our hands, ask questions and thank us for our talk. Comments included "great job", "very professional presentation", "wonderful information", "very thorough overview", "very easy to understand", "most enjoyable and entertaining", "thanks for confirming my anchor choice decision". Several people wanted to buy our book but we were not permitted to sell them there. A boat show discount was made available to anyone who ordered the print book through our website.

Otherwise the boat jumble was fascinating. Car boots loaded with really good marine stuff and truly ancient trashy junk, professional vendors, and food stalls covered vast acreage of the Beaulieu Estate. The estate also houses a motor museum, a monorail, a stately manor house, and a shipbuilding village -- more on that in another blog. The best part of the show was the people watching. People were heading home with inflatable dinghies, loaded with fenders and ropes, prams carrying engines, rolling carts overflowing with goodies, and wheelchairs stuffed with enormous surplus inventory. We got away with only a winch handle, a courtesy ensign, a men's jumper, and two tiny Buddha carvings. It's a good thing we didn't bring the car as we had eyed so many large treasures we couldn't bear to leave behind but circumstance did not allow us to take along. We saved thousands by not bringing the car.

Thank you PBO for the invitation to speak as part of your Ask the Experts series. I hope attendees took away a bit of useful information along with the haul of treasures they couldn't leave behind. Read more here.


The Montagu estate, Henry VIII ordered destruction of religious buildings


One of the car boot exhibitors with good stuff

One of the professional vendors -- lots of rope

The Meakins family, with Ben Meakins of PBO on the left.

Wheelchairs and prams full of treasures

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