38th Southampton Boat Show pulls in the punters

Business was booming at the 38th Southampton Boat Show, early reports indicate. An estimated 118,000 visitors came to the show, and many companies enjoyed high sales figures.

National Boat Shows Interim Managing Director Chris Dalley said that the show was
‘a great success, and we’ve already had lots of positive feedback from both visitors and exhibitors.  It’s clear that a significant amount of business has been carried out which is a really positive sign for the industry.”      

Backing up Mr Dalley’s comments were some of the big retailers in the industry. Nauticalia Group Manager Erick Beattie said that sales had increased 20% compared with last year, while Elan report an increase of 85% from the 2005 show. Bryan Jones of Fairline Yachts said that on the last Saturday of the show, they sold a boat every 28 minutes.

The Show got off to a spectacular start with Ben Fogle officially opening the Show alongside sailing celebrities Dee Caffari and Alex Thomson.  The trio were joined onboard LORD NELSON by local dignitaries.

Jean-Christophe Novelli wowed diners with his culinary delights in his specially constructed restaurant ‘A Touch of Novelli’.  Other faces spotted around the Show include Alan Titchmarsh, Sol Campbell, Michael Buerk, Peter Snow and Steve McFadden.

The final Saturday of the show saw local girl Fiona Jordan crowned as the 2006 Miss Southampton Boat Show.  Her predecessor Sophie Diamond awarded her her title after an afternoon of action packed activities culminating in a fashion show on the beach.

Next year’s Southampton Boat Show runs from 14-23 September 2007. Meanwhile, the marine industry is preparing itself for the new-look London Boat Show which will take place at ExCeL, London from 5-14 January 2007; log onto www.londonboatshow.com for details.