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The narrowboats are back at London

Last year's London Boat Show was an embarrassment for inland boaters, so it's reassuring to be able to say that this year's event is looking much healthier.

The inland steel craft have moved from the main hall to the "marina" (read: dock) outside the ExCeL venue, making space for 14 boats wide and narrow. If you're buying a boat, there's more choice at Crick or the IWA National, but it's interesting that London has managed the best showing of hire-boats of any show.

Inside, of course, there's the usual selection of river cruisers including some good-value larger craft well suited to the Severn, Thames or Trent, and evergreens such as the £9,999 Shetland Family Four. The chandlery stalls were packed when we visited on Saturday but should be a bit quieter this week.

As with the Earls Court show in November, the ExCeL event isn't worth trekking from the far end of the kingdom, but a very enjoyable visit for boaters based in the southeast. It continues to Sunday: more details at their official site. We'll have a full report in our March issue.

Monday 14 January  | Richard Fairhurst  | 12.12pm, Monday 14 January 2008

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