They seek him here, they seek him there… they seek that yachtsman everywhere… Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (picture) has very kindly agreed to give us an interview for our Maritime Media Awards film ‘Boat Nation’, but actually getting that interview … is another story. Prob 1: I miss him on our Day 2 at the Boat Show. Damn. But he’ll do it at his boat in Gosport. Prob 2: Getting to Gosport. Big taxi bill. Prob 3: Where the hell is his marina???? Gosport’s city fathers clearly think it’s fun not to signpost anything, even major attractions and revenue-raisers like marinas. Find him in the end though and he does triff interview. And no I’m not being luvvie: it is very kind of him to fit us in, as he’s late-stage preparing for another solo voyage in his boat Grey Power.
Propane gas, that is. Powering your outboard motor. Really? Yes really… Of course Boat Show means a dazzling selection of boats, many of them with price tags that make your knees buckle… and a legion of pretty girls near or on those boats… and marine beauties of the hull-and-mast kind, too. (Don’t expect decent food though. The main concessions were heart-attack-on-a-plate awful.) But what’s best of all is when you find a brilliant idea like using propane gas to power outboard motors – eco-friendly, easy to refuel (just hook up a bottle), power-efficient, and much less damaging to motors. With an electric starter and a long-life internal battery. But if you meet Captain Bernardo Herzer (picture), you get to know his Lehr outboards in double-quick time. He’ll see to that. And it’s a cracker (as far as this blogger can tell.)
Sweating away back at the Boat Show in Southampton, covering the piece. Day 2 and we have our presenter Martin Muncaster with us, one of the most delightful people to work with you could imagine, and possessed of a beautiful voice and real skill in delivery. Numerous present day TV and radio presenters and journos please note – if you could do your job as well as M.M. you’d be much loved – and much better understood, too. Anyway, lots of STUFF, capturing Martin at the RS Sailing stand (see pic), alongside stunningly beautiful boats in the show Marina etc etc. We work him half to death but he takes it all in his stride! Interview too with the new MD of RS – who make all kinds of boats, including great starters – and Howard Pridding, grand fromage of the British Marine Federation.
First day at the Southampton Boat Show – filming for this year’s Maritime Media Awards film ‘Boat Nation’. It’ll be shown at the Awards dinner in November, when the Maritime Foundation honours those in the media who have done the most to promote the importance of the sea and sea trade to Britain in the past year. 4 categories, including the premium Desmond Wettern Award, named after the late great naval correspondent of the same name. Awards go too to best writer and best TV and film, along this year with a new award for digital media, the First Sea Lord Award. All top notch, blue-chip stuff. Anyway filming ‘Boat Nation’ for the Awards got off to a flying start with shots of about a zillion boats and an interview with the Royal Yachting Association, top guns in UK sailing.
Off to the Welsh Harp sailing centre this weekend to start filming for the Maritime Media Awards keynote film, ‘Boat Nation’. Welsh Harp, I hear you say? What the confibulation is that?! Well, the Welsh Harp was a Victorian pub in north London, close to what is now the North Circular Road in the London Borough of Brent. When a giant reservoir to feed the Grand Union Canal was built in the area the name stuck. It’s now a sailing centre in a country park, offering lots of sail and training opportunities. So, since our film for the Awards this year is all about the importance of the “leisure sector” to UK maritime we thought we’d film there – to show how you can get to sail in the most unlikely places, and don’t have to spend £££££ to do it.
First filming today for the Jubilee Sailing Trust at Greenwich in South East London – their sail training ship Tenacious is there for the Tall Ships event. We’re there to film a hello message from the Trust’s new Chief Executive Office Duncan Souster, who’s on board to meet and greet, and help host a visit by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The ship is looking great even though the light for cameras is terrible – flat and grey, but still quite glarey, so everything kind of blands out. Think it’s all OK. Anyway Duncan Souster is good on camera, natural, relaxed and friendly – we film him with the bowsprit of the ship behind him. Later out on the river aboard the Iris, a former Dutch fishing boat, to catch shots of all the ships from the water. Good event, well organised by Greenwich.
Rob is a TV producer, reporter and camera operator with 30 years’ experience at the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN, in news, factual and documentary production. He is a four times award winner, whose awards include a coveted Royal Television Society award for his work on Channel 4 News. His association with The Maritime Foundation goes back to 1995, when he won the first Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award for a series of reports that led to a major documentary on the loss of the bulk carrier Derbyshire.