July 18 2011
The pretty Georgian town of Lymington on England’s south coast is a magnet for both tourists and yachties, but serious sailors should head straight for Nick Cox, the chandlery that stocks everything you need to get – and keep – your boat on the water. “We cater for any craft from an 8ft dinghy to a 90ft yacht,” says owner Matthew Evans. “The useful as well as the pretty stuff.”
It certainly is useful. Situated at the harbour entrance, with a handy car park, Nick Cox is open seven days a week and stocks over 11,000 items from 200 suppliers. And if your spare part is not in store, one of the eight staff will order and courier it to any port in the world.
Evans, who trained as a shipwright, then custom-built race yachts, took over from Nick Cox, who died in 2006, having run the chandlery for 25 years. “Mr Cox was very well respected in the boating community and had many international customers,” he says. “I want to keep that ethos.” He’s added an upper floor for clothing and a small grocery/off-licence downstairs – so weekend sailors can pick up basics such as milk, tea and bread, then splash out on lobster pâté (£3.95) and Taittinger champagne (£34.95).
Essential tackle is on the ground floor, with blocks (from £5.50), stanchions (from £13.95) and cleats (£1.75-£29.95). Chain is cut to length and a whole wall is dedicated to rope; from multicoloured halyard to 8mm sail handling to thick mooring line (pictured right, 50p-£10 per metre). Anchors go from 2kg (£30) to 45kg (£335); you can buy a 2.5hp Suzuki outboard motor (£595) and even a new Wetline dinghy (£289).
Upstairs, there’s all the layering you need to go from inshore pootling to Fastnet racing. A men’s Polartec fleece starts at £50, a full Musto Gore-Tex suit £600-£700; and there’s a good selection of polo shirts (£39.95), shorts (from £45) and deck shoes (Dubarry, from £80) for summer evenings on the quayside. For ladies, this season’s shorter style inshore jackets come in white (Henri Lloyd, £112.50) and aqua blue (Gill, £145). A Titanium full wetsuit is £90, a Devocean shortie £20; competitive prices. And hurrah for those Musto Neoprene knee pads (£12.50), a must for anyone in the uncomfortable position of trimming the spinnaker.
Safety gear is increasingly popular – “probably because it’s a lot more comfortable and stylish these days,” Evans comments. The Kru Sports Pro lifejacket with netting across the back (from £98) is perfect to wear at the wheel of your motorlaunch, while the Hamble waistcoat (£140), a fully automatic Float-Tech buoyancy aid, is smart enough for the pub.
But aside from the fashion and the comprehensive boat parts, it’s the extras that impress at Nick Cox. Timers, watches, compasses; charts, plotters, almanacs; sunglasses, wellies and a full range of fishing gear. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum (Mountgay, £19.50).