Watersports display and a supermodel open new-look show

The London Boat Show got underway today, allowing punters the first look at its £20 million redevelopment.

Upon entering visitors pass alongside the show’s new centrepiece – a 70m-long watersports pool, which would not look out of place in an upmarket Caribbean hotel with its varying shades of azure twinkling under ExCeL’s bright lights.

Following a few watersport stunts supermodel and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Jodie Kidd cut the ribbon, tied between two kayak paddles, to officially open the show, after a short interview with host Christian Stevenson in which Kidd insisted she had a sailing background.

The pool will host canoeing, dinghy sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding displays over the show’s ten days. Stevenson promised it would be a ‘whole array of radness’, baffling the audience with his surfer dude vocabulary.

The show itself is bigger and better than ever before.

As ever two vast halls straddle a central corridor, but the whole operation has shifted eastwards, meaning visitors must alight at Prince Regent, which is one stop later on the Docklands Light Railway than previous years if coming from Central London.

The much-vaunted new section of the south hall in which it was promised boats would be displayed with their masts up is a let-down. A small J-80 keelboat is the only boat with the mast fully up with all the others opting to cut it off halfway.

Subscribe to Yachting Monthly magazine for all the latest sailing news and reviews.