Iconic interviews & some cool new boats in Southampton.

Frers-designed Swan 54.

Mia & I flew down to England for a few days and are back at the Southampton Boat Show. I'm writing this from the RYA Member's Lounge area in the Holiday Inn lobby and am shocked at how fast the boat show free wifi is.

The mission of our journey was to record, in person, some legends in the sailing world for my 'On the Wind' podcast. Two out of three of them are in the bag - Rick Tomlinson & Bob Shepton - and the biggest one yet is happening in a few hours (that one's still a secret!).

After a long travel day on Tuesday, we rented a car at Gatwick airport and drove to Southampton, having to stop and buy a new camera on the way (Mia's last good point-and-shoot is floating somewhere in the Atlantic after losing it overboard in the Bermuda Race a few years back, still in it's Pelican case). As an aside, the new Panasonic Lumix TZ-100 is amazing - have a look at the photos below and see for yourself.

Anyway, camera in hand, we hopped on the Red Jet fast ferry to the Isle of Wight and walked down the cobbled streets to Rick Tomlinson's gallery/studio on the waterfront. Rick is a renowned yacht photographer, but his career started as a sailor - he sailed in 4 Whitbread's as a crewmember before finally going into photography full-time. You'll hear the full story on the podcast, and it's a good one!

Yesterday after chatting with Bob Shepton for a few hours (one of my favorite interviews I've EVER done), we had some time to kill in the boat show and did a little 'recce' on the docks. I had made a previous appointment to see the new Swan 54 - and was particularly interested having just interviewed it's designer, German Frers on Sunday - so we did that yesterday afternoon. It's surreal being in the same owner's club - after all, we do own a Swan! Not really the same league though is it!?

The real highlight though was going aboard the new Bestaever 45, bar none the coolest aluminum expedition-style boat going. 'Isbjorn 4' maybe!? It's cool to aspire after a new, bigger, more modern Swan, but that Bestaever is hard to beat...so long as I continue working in sailing though, they're both out of reach! A classic Swan will have to do! 

Check out our photos below for some highlights of the day.