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Final report from the Düsseldorf boat show

The 50th edition of Boot 2019 came to a successful end on Sunday, by setting a new record, with nearly 250,000 water sports enthusiasts coming to Düsseldorf from over 100 countries to visit the leading boat show in the world.

The Exploration 52, flagship of the renowned French boatbuilder Garcia Yachts, was among the 2,000 exhibitors from 73 countries.

I have been coming to this boat show for over 30 years and what I noticed in recent years is just how international it has become. This was certainly evident on our stand where we had a steady flow of visitors not just from Europe but from all over the world.

Among them was Bob Bitchin, the flamboyant publisher of Cruising Outpost magazine, who had just flown in from California.

While Yakov Semenov had come from Chelyabinsk in Siberia, my next visitor was closer to home.

Michael Lindhorn is captain of a Boeing 747 with Lufthansa and has his eye on an Exploration 45. He is looking forward to retirement and seeing the world at zero altitude at one percent of the speed he normally cruises above the oceans.

The greatest surprise was my next visitor, a young Russian who introduced himself as Dmitry Stepanyuk. He told me that he had followed my voyage through the Northwest Passage and was so impressed by my boat that he intended to buy the Exploration 52 for a world voyage he was planning. When I asked him what he did in his professional life he said, “I am a cosmonaut”.

This was an opportunity hard to resist, being photographed with Dmitry and Michael. As I introduced them to each other, Michael admitted that he had also trained with the European Space Agency to join the space station but had ended up staying closer to earth.

Back on Planet Earth and with the show due to close, we took a last photo of our stand where my friend Dorothee Peters had been keeping matters under control during a hectic nine days of an exhausting by highly enjoyable nautical extravaganza.

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