Wet start but Southampton Boat Show's warming up

This morning saw the official opening of the 2006 Southampton Boat Show.

At 1100, TV presenter Ben Fogle, along with solo yachtswoman Dee Caffari and world record-breaking yachtsman Alex Thomson, opened the show onboard the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ship LORD NELSON.

On making the official announcement, Ben said: “Being a huge boating fan, I am extremely excited to be opening the Southampton Boat Show. I have been to the Show many times now, and feel that it is one of the highlights of the boating calendar. This is also the first time that the public will have the opportunity to see the boat that James Cracknell and I rowed across the Atlantic in, which is down in Southampton especially for the Show.”

Ben, Dee and Alex were also joined at the opening by the show’s celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, current Miss Southampton Boat Show Sophie Diamond, current IMOCA and FICO world champion Mike Golding and the Mayors of both Southampton and Weymouth & Portland, Cllr John Slade and Cllr Howard Legg.

Earlier this morning, show visitors also had the chance to watch two of the show’s main feature boats, tall ship LORD NELSON and Open 60 HUGO BOSS, skippered by Alex Thomson, as they sailed into the show.

About Southampton Boat Show 2006

This year, Southampton’s Mayflower Park has been transformed into a fun-filled treasure island for the Show, complete with colourful tall ships, interactive pirate shows, live music and a fantastic sandy beach.

Family fun

Hydropool Marina: The Show’s spectacular marina will be glistening with boats of all shapes and sizes from all the latest A-List style yachts and sexy motor cruisers to smaller and more affordable vessels
Tall ships: Children will love the opportunity to climb aboard the Show’s magnificent Tall Ships, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s LORD NELSON and TENACIOUS*
Pirate fun: Throughout the Show, the pirate jetty stage will keep kids entertained for hours with a fun-packed schedule of live entertainment including interactive theatrical performances, impressive stilt walkers, dancing and music. On Tuesday 19 September, Southampton Boat Show will be the official venue of ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’

Beachside attractions

The beach: Southampton will once again have its very own beach with 249sqm of soft sand where people can kick-back and relax and enjoy the views of the shimmering boats on Southampton water. 240 tonnes of sand has been delivered from Weymouth especially for the beach
Beach fun: A whole host of live entertainment is planned including sandcastle competitions, a steel band, RNLI demonstrations, Punch and Judy shows, and delicious beach tucker

Spectacular showcase:

Wide variety of exhibitors: Over 600 boating related companies are exhibiting at the show, selling everything from large luxurious motor yachts and starter dinghies through to navigation equipment, furnishings, clothing and everything in between
First chance to view: The show will see over 40 media briefings throughout the show with World and UK product launches and a European debut being announced on Press & Preview Day

Celebrity dining

Fine dining experience with celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli: Visitors looking for a relaxing dining experience set against Southampton Boat Show’s pontoons should look no further than Jean-Christophe’s new restaurant. The menu will feature a range of Novelli’s trademark stylish and vibrant dishes

Lots to learn

Careers Day: On Tuesday 19 September, hundreds of local school children will be attending the Show learning all about the vast range of careers within the marine leisure industry
Alex Thomson’s HUGO BOSS Open 60: Learn more about ocean racing and marvel Alex Thomson’s state-of-the-art Open 60, HUGO BOSS. Alex will be at the Show to chat about the build up to his latest challenge – competing in the VELUX 5 Oceans Race
Whale conservation and research: Learn all about the protection of whales and their habitats by stepping onboard Song of the Whale, the IFAW’s (International Fund for Animal Welfare) purpose-built, state-of-the-art whale research vessel. The boat is attending the Show in collaboration with the British Marine Federation and RYA’s Green Blue initiative

Experience at first-hand

Honda Dream Zone: Test your skills against the clock and recreate the action of an F1 pit-stop in the Honda Pit-Stop Challenge, with prizes for the fastest teams!
Try-a-Boat: Get out on the water and try a selection of the latest powerboats, RIBs and yachts, suitable for beginners and professionals alike
Get OnBoard**: Youngsters can have a go at sailing with OnBoard, the RYA’s new youth initiative supported by the British Marine Federation
Try-a-Dive: Try your hand at scuba diving while friends and family watch your underwater exploits on TV
America’s Cup Experience***: Enjoy the sailing experience of a lifetime by crewing an America’s Cup yacht

Boating beauties

Miss Southampton Boat Show: All wannabe beauty queens should head to the Show as The Miss Southampton Boat Show competition is back by popular demand. On Saturday 23 September, boating beauties from around the UK will be battling it out for the title of Miss Southampton Boat Show 2006. Entrants will be tested on their boating knowledge and will be given a variety of marine related tasks to perform to test their sea legs

Relax in style:

Eat and drink: Relax and refresh at the famous Guinness Bar, Sunseeker Champagne & Wine Bar, Tanqueray Gin Bar, Pimms Champagne Bar, Continental Café or the Seafood Terrace, plus many more.

For a full list of exhibitors and attractions, and to book tickets, please visit www.southamptonboatshow.com or call the ticket hotline on 0870 060 0246