Again this year Karl Schulmeisters attended the Paris Boat Show and is sending us his impressions. It’s clear that innovation is alive and well in Europe. Here is the first of Karl’s installments, this one about power boats. Please check back in the coming days as Karl writes more about innovations in power, sailboats and cruising in France.
Hello from the Salon Nautic 2014… i.e.the Paris Boat show. This year’s show is a bit smaller than last year’s, in part reflecting the struggling French economy of last year. Keep in mind that boat shows are typically booked 6-9 months in advance. I’ll tackle three stories this year:
- What I saw in the Powerboats section
- What I saw in the Sailing sections
- And information on cruising and chartering in France and some French speaking exotic locales. Including cruising the inland canals of France
So onto the powerboating section. As you enter the Salon Nautic you are greeted by two boats: The Seascape 18 trailerable Sport sailboat and the Sealegs RIB. The cool think about the Sealegs RIB is that the tricycle wheel gear is built into the hull itself so no trailer is needed. For launching, you just back your rig and boat down the ramp, unhook and float out . When deep enough you retract the wheels hydraulically and you have a clean undisturbed flow over your hull.
This is a particularly nice feature in areas where you do not have a solid ramp to launch from, as the wheels are big enough to handle sand and pebbled beaches. One of the big advantages over a trailer launch is that if you have onshore waves, you protect your hull until you are in water deep enough to float off the legs
A Plateful of RIBs
While the sailing section from last year was smaller and the overall show was smaller the power section had expanded. Mostly in the RIB category. As you can see from the photos – pretty much every one of the powerboats being promoted at the boat show are RIBS. Part of this is because much of the French coast has very large tidal swings, so much of powerboat cruising is to small islands with concrete ramps as piers rather than floating marinas with easy to moor-at docks.
Also as you can see from the photos – some of the RIBs being sold are special purpose tour vehicles for excursions, whale watching etc. Click on any photo to enlarge.