British Boat Builders

Jul 08, 2015

British boat builders trying new things

After a tumultuous couple of years for the British economy, and British boat making in particular, some interesting new activity in the latter area is worth a second look. This includes the announcement of ambitious plans for a new line of luxury super yachts containing engines from WW2 Spitfires, a push for non-military boat building in Portsmouth and more investment than ever going into some of Britain's biggest boat shows. The news that Claydon Reeves is planning a new superboat would be encouraging enough, given the UK's traditional strength in the area.

This is no ordinary boat, however. The super yacht, which calls itself an 'Aeroboat' and is anticipated to have a price tag of a cool £3m, is built to celebrate the sleek curves and iconic design of Britain's WW2 Spitfire planes. There is perhaps no better symbol of British aircraft design, but the link between the Spitfire and the newly announced super boats is more than just symbolic.

They will be fitted with genuine, certified Rolls Royce engines from actual WW2 warplanes. While the legendary Spitfire is a part of British military history to be celebrated, the announcement last year that Portsmouth's long history of warship manufacturing would end is a revelation that has shocked the city. Not to be defeated, though, a shipbuilding conference has been organised for manufacturers with an interest in moving production to the city. The conference was organised by the city's MP, Penny Mordaunt, in the hope of bringing mainstream boat manufacture into the city to fill the gap that will be left when BAE's military yard closes.

The next few years are unlikely to be significantly plainer sailing than the last, but there is at least energy and vitality in British boat building which should start to see returns as the state of the economy improves. British boat shows are seeing increased attendance, with National Boat Shows (NBS) planning an increase in spending on some big shows following a string of recent successes.

The London Boat Show is set to have a preview day once again, while the PSP Southampton Boat Show will see the addition of a promotional festival of boating. The economy at large may not be out of the doldrums quite yet, but at least British boating looks like it's picking up speed.
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