A SAILING boat built in north Hampshire has received a royal seal of approval.

The Princess Royal, president of the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) and patron of RYA Sailability, did the honours at the Churchouse Boats stand at the London Boat Show last week.

The Drascombe Longboat, called Penny Wake, will be an addition to the growing number of boats used by Rutland Sailability, at Rutland Sailing Club, in Leicestershire.

The vessel has been built to include various modifications to the standard Drascombe Longboat, to make it easier for disabled people to use.

Churchouse Boats is run by husband and wife team Simon and Sharon Harwood, at Apsley Sawmill, in Hurstbourne Priors, near Whit-church.

Delighted that the princess accep-ted the invitation to name the boat on behalf of Rutland Sailability, Simon said: “She said the boat looked lovely and was surprised that we have a small team of three producing such wonderful boats.”

The London Boat Show certainly proved to be fruitful as the firm secured a deal to build a new boat, along with numerous spares and accessories.

“It’s a great show worth going to as there is always competition out there from other boat builders, and so we are able to show off our product, which has been built to a high standard, for all to see.

“Going to the show also opened up an opportunity for us to work with other Sailability groups and network with potential suppliers.”

Simon added: “Our business continues to grow through building new boats, brokerage sales, refurbishments and spares, which are sold not just in the UK, but also worldwide.”