Where to start????? I went today, Friday, at lunchtime, and stayed for 3 hours. It was grey and damp.
I was a commercial exibitor last year, and have been to the last four events. Some of the comments below apply to this year - others apply generally to the show, and generally to the attitude of the those selling in this industry.
I have been out ribbing seriously now for two and a half years, starting as a newbie, have funded an interesting vernture which, while it washed its face, was not interesting enough to continue with (no fault of those involved), and had some serious adventures in fair weather, and, mainly, foul. I have run aground on Ryde Bank, been stopped by the police for cutting across a container ship in the dark, had help from the police after an injury, been involved as a Marshall on Trafalgar Day, been as far as Brighton one way, and Weymouth the other, and go out in all seasons. I have done two powerboat courses. I have had a range of niggling problems with my boat on which I have now clocked 250 hours. Some have been sorted out by help from you guys and girls, others with unfailing courteousness and efficiency under warranty by the boat builder (thanks Lee and Kevin). I have stuffed the boat a number of times, been in some demanding seas, made many mistakes, and learned lots. Anything which can come lose on my boat has, and after 250 hours of experience, it is now really "ship shape" and ready to cope with all the Solent and surrounds can throw at it. I have also had an attempted theft, and had a Micra crash into my trailer. And I have endured loads of good natured teasing as my expereince has developed on this forum, and laughed with you when you have teased me! I think this qualifies me to make at least some comments. And yes, I expect to flamed by at least some of the regulars on this forum.
1) There was little new this year - at least not of relevance to UK waters. There was a rather unusual Mediterranean Cabin rib, but with a bimini which did not come unclipped, but which the salesman assured me would survive in the UK seas. Hmmm... given the speed with which Farfetched can stick her nose in and deposit a wall of water down the front and back of my Mustos, and wash anything in its path off the stern, I somehow am sceptical. I liked the Dutch lifeboat, but it was outside my budget.... There was a 9m from Solent Ribs which was admittedly experimental, but looked cool, and was impressively parked by Kev into a small space without using the bow thruster... yes, bow thruster. Andre (Parker) had an interesting twin diesel, and there was Nautiboy's magnificent Parker specimen, but I was surprised to see it appeared to be for sale? But, apart from some new 'styling' by Scorpion (you takes your choice, like it or don't like it), no innovation. Nothing to show that the 'science' and 'technology' of rib building is moving forward. Am I being unfair?
2) I am loth to put this on the web, but my wife and I are seriously considering a cabin rib. At last I could see a particular 9m cabin in the water, but when I asked for a ride, was told by the owner / salesman there wouldn't be any today but I could book up for one tomorrow 'if I was serious'. Is that salesmanship or does it perhaps speak of a touch of excess self confidence? I hung around some boats from a large manufacturer, but the salesmen were too busy chatting to friends, exisiting clients, or perhaps demands are such for their ribs that even at 2.30pm in the rain on Friday at Ribex they are too busy to talk to a potential buyer?
3) Another person I would have liked to chat to was sitting in his rib on the phone looking miserable - the four
times I walked past! I shall protect the innocent.....
4) On the ground side, there were three stalls selling cleaning products for tubes. Don't tell Manos, but I have tried all of them, and am now reduced to using toluene or acetone depending upon what is on my tubes - they are yellow hypalon - ps I have a degree in Chemistry so I am allowed to use acetone and toluene.
5) In sharp contrast there was one small chandlery - but good stuff - very attractively designed quality life jackets in black (£70 odd I think) - fetching and safe. And a portable waterproof VHF for less than I spend on petrol at Yacht Haven everytime I go out (£80 - a must have as a backup in the grab bag - please, you owe it to yourselves and your crew)
6) the Biboa lot were friendly - a tick there
7) went into an engine manufacturer's lorry - there were eats and champagne set out but no one to serve them. So I nicked a glass of one and a handful of another - if no one wants to talk to me, fine
8) Another engine tent - all chatting to their mates
9) Paul (is it) from Poole (Training) was very pleasant and helpful, as was our own JK who I kept bumping in to - why is
he so easy to find in a crowd??
10) And I ended up bored and feeling a bit unloved.
11) Finally, out of desperation, I got myself a beer and read the ticket. Apparently I am missing out! RibLife is "The Only Online Profile Network Community for Rib Users". Ribex is "The World's Only Dedicated Rib Show"
Hmmm. I just googled "Profile Network Community" and found found some strange sites. I think I forgot to turn on my adult content filter
But if RibNet is not a "Profile Network Community", what is?
And I rather fear Ribex may be the only, but possibly soon may HAVE
been the only Dedicated Rib Show, unless something is done to change the mix and to change the industry's appalling attiude to selling to real potential buyers.
I had (much) more fun at the Beaulieu Boat Jumble, and spent more money!
Let the flames commence....
I hope others had / have more fun.....