The NEW V8 catamaran was the most visited boat at the show. The public and the press loved it and we had a constant stream of sailing professionals coming to the stand to congratulate us on a great concept, well executed. Check out the video on Cowes TV. My interview is about 1/4 of the way through.
Whilst numbers at the London International Boat Show have been declining steadily since it moved to Excel, and I doubt if this year was an exception, nevertheless we were busy the whole time. Monday, Tuesday and particularly Wednesday were quiet at the show with low visitor numbers overall. But on Thursday and both Fridays and particularly at the weekends it was crammed and we were inundated with visitors wanting to know all about the V8. So much so that we were unable to talk with everybody that came to the stand. For this I apologise. Other exhibitors and show officials came and told us that they had noticed how much attention the Credit Crunch Catamaran was receiving. It was nothing short of phenomenal!
So what did people say? "Interesting" and "intriguing" were common remarks from engineers and architects and scientists. But the most frequently heard exclamation from sailors was, "this looks like it could be a load of FUN". Families, especially those with youngsters, crawled excitedly all over the boat and the kids loved the trampolines and the two cosy cabins with their two cots in each.
One thing which struck us was that the boat required little explanation. Many people have already sailed beach cats and know how much fun they can be so it was an easy mental leap to this 8m long catamaran.
Another thing we noticed was that the most experienced and knowledgeable sailing professionals, such as Rupert Knox-Johnson, who popped over in the final hour of the show, understood completely and fully approved of the decisions made in the design. Things like the choice of keels over dagger-boards to reduce weight, cost, wear and tear whilst sitting on a mooring and problems when taking the ground or encountering submerged objects and to provide more space in the cabins. Rupert also noted that the mast was canted backwards to help reduce the risk of pitch-poling. All such choices were clear to those who have sailed a lot and who have been in the business of making or using boats.
So everybody has given the boat their stamp of approval and I have come away from the show with a very long list of people interested in the boat, most of whom, amazingly, wish to buy this year! I will be contacting everybody on this list in the coming weeks and will try to arrange demonstrations as soon as possible in Brittany. Feb 7th looks like the earliest opportunity. I already have that date earmarked for one particular couple. However, please do not feel you have to wait for my call.
At the moment, VirusBoats have only the one mould and so only one hull can be made each week. This means only two boats per month. With the level of interest shown at Paris and London already and anticipated at the Rome Boat Show next month and with professionals in Australia, Croatia, America, Sweden etc. all acclaiming the boat we are expecting orders from all over the world and it will be difficult to fulfil them all this year so it will be first come, first served and if sufficient people put their money where their mouths are then we will be able to invest in further moulds and increase production to satisfy demand. So please do not be slow in coming forward with your commitment or you may find yourself at the back of a long queue. A 30% deposit is required to secure your place in that queue.
The new V8 catamaran by VirusBoats was launched at the Paris Boat Show (Salon Nautique) three weeks ago and was hailed as a triumph by sailing professionals (journalists, naval architects, designers and professional sailors). "Wow, what fantastic lines!" was the collective exclamation. She was certainly still turning heads when I was there last Saturday. Everybody thought the same and wanted to caress her sleek yet aggressive curves.
Orders were taken without even a test sail! So the debut was a great success (see the video above).
On Sunday I fly out to France again, this time for the "mis a l'eau" - putting into the water. I'll be taking my video camera with me and its special waterproof case and editing it over the Christmas holiday ready for the London International Boat Show so that you can see that she floats! I hope the weather is good and the wind variable so that we can show her off in different conditions. But we only have two days, not a big window of opportunity, because the sails have not yet been made and we'll only get them on Tuesday!
Next stop London, Stand N16N. See you there. Bring your cheque book.
The price is €37,584 plus VAT for boat with "Easy" sails and there are three choices of sails: Easy, Cruising and Race. You can have your own sails made too if you like and we have negotiated with Banks Sails, who specialise in multihull sails, for this.
With VAT being lower in the UK the boat is currently cheaper here, and this goes some way towards offsetting the cost of fetching the boat over here from Brittany. DELIVERY & COMMISSIONING (worth £1,500) will be FREE if you order a boat DURING the London Show for delivery in the UK in FEBRUARY.
I had a discussion with VirusBoats about racing this boat and we agreed that we should set something up. This might take the form of a race with a crew of two from L'Orient to Plymouth one year and the other direction on alternate years. Any suggestions would be most welcome. My own idea was that we should have a variation on the Le Mans start. This would involve finishing a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe before departing and could be termed the Drake Armada start. In L'Orient we could play boules!