THE ribbons were cut, the gates opened and thousands poured into Mayflower Park to get their first glimpse of this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show.

Crowds gathered to watch as Matt Baker left the sofa of The One Show to help Olympic sailor Iain Percy OBE sail tall ship Phoenix into the marina, launching the 46th incarnation of the annual show.

The world-famous replica tall ship is known for appearing in films including Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Master and Commander.

She joins the hundreds of boats at the waterside ranging from tiny dinghy tenders to multi-millionpound yachts and powerful motor boats.

Thousands have already poured into the show grounds to soak up the atmosphere and even more are expected to come on board over the next eight days, with an expected total of 120,000 visitors and 600 exhibitors.

And as soon as the gates opened one of the exhibitors had made the first sale of the day, when a customer put down a deposit on a £330,000 Allure 39.9, which was making its first appearance at a UK show.

Mark Ellyatt, director of Allures, based in Portchester, said: “We have been in touch with him for over a year. We have kept in touch, but nothing had indicated that by the time we started the show we would have an actual order.”

Show organisers said the event has grown every year, and this year is already looking to be the biggest one yet with more than 148 boats making their debut – 28 more than last year, and a boost of more than five per cent in advanced ticket sales.

Among the attractions at this year’s show are demonstrations of wooden boat building and the Boat Show Eye ferris wheel, which towers over the site.

The nine-day marine extravaganza is set to raise thousands for the show’s official charity, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which was set up in 2013 in honour of Olympic gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson MBE who died in a training accident in San Francisco Bay in May last year.

Show gets a touch of Strictly sparkle

Daily Echo: Left, Claudia Winkleman and Eddie
Jordan, pictured with Sunseeker
founder Robert Braithwaite on the
new Sunseeker 86 yacht.

THE PSP Southampton Boat Show was given some Strictly sparkle when Claudia Winkleman stepped out of the ballroom to experience being on a yacht for the first time.

The 42-year-old joined Formula 1 pundit Eddie Jordan to launch Sunseeker’s stand at the show, along with the firm’s founder and honorary president Robert Braithwaite MBE.

It comes just days after Bruce Forsyth handed Claudia the reigns as presenter of Strictly Come Dancing, which returned to the screens last weekend.

The mum-of-three will be presenting the show alongside Tess Daly after the 86-year-old stepped down after ten years on the show.

But admitting she is feeling nervous, Claudia said she’s stepping into Tess’s shoes rather than Bruce’s.

She said “It’s terrifying. I’m stepping into Tess’s shoes.

“He’s the coolest man in the whole world but he’s not going – he’s coming back.

“I’m a bit nervous. If I don’t mess up, that would be great.”

Despite stepping on board a boat for the first time and posing for pictures on one of Sunseeker’s yachts worth £3.88 million, she said she won’t be splashing out on a boat after getting her first Strictly pay cheque.

Claudia said she had enjoyed her time at the show and her highlight had been meeting Eddie Jordan.

She said: “I’m so excited (about being at the boat show). I’m not leaving.

“They think they’re going to get rid of me but I will still be here singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat when they lock up.”

Left, Claudia Winkleman and Eddie Jordan, pictured with Sunseeker founder Robert Braithwaite on the new Sunseeker 86 yacht.

Saints chairman pays a visit to sponsors

Daily Echo: Ralph Krueger at the PSP Southampton Boat Show

SAINTS chairman Ralph Krueger visited the Sunseeker stand yesterday, but admitted he would only be dreaming about buying one of their luxury boats.

The St Mary’s chief was making his first ever visit to the PSP Southampton Boat Show, where he stopped in to see the company, who are one of the football club’s main sponsors.

“I do like driving boats, I have to say, but they are much smaller,” said Mr Krueger.

“Mine would fit inside of every single one that I see here, but it is still nice to dream.”

Mr Krueger was impressed by the scale of the show and described it as one of the key components of the city.

“First of all, it is important to see an event of this size running in Southampton,” he said.

“It’s one of the three most important things that happens here – the Saints football, the cruise ships and the boat show.

“You can rub shoulders with some people you would not generally meet and see one of our main sponsors, Sunseeker, and what they’re up to.

“Generally, it is a good way to feel what is important to Southampton.”

ABP car parking raises funds for three causes

ASSOCIATED British Ports (ABP) will give three Hampshire charities a helping hand at this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show.

They have opened their car parks to visitors of the show to raise money for disabled boat trip charity Solent Dolphin, cancer support charity Wessex Cancer Trust and ABPs nominated charity of the year Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

Visitors will be charged £10 for a full day’s parking at Dock Gate 4, Ocean Gate and Town Quay, which will be manned by volunteers.

Steve Russell, a security officer at the port who has helped organise the charity car parking for over 12 years, said: “I find it more and more enjoyable every year.

“It is brilliant to be able to raise money for such worthwhile causes with full support and backing from my colleagues.”

Chance to win a year's free berthing with MDL Marinas

EUROPE’S largest marina operator is offering a boat owner at this year’s Southampton PSP Show the chance to win one year’s free berthing at a marina next season.

MDL Marinas will also offer the winner the Freedom Berthing Package, which will include access to the largest cruising network in Europe as well as discounted boatyard services.

For visitors to be in with a chance of winning, all they have to do is visit the MDL stand at the boat show, with the winner announced at the 2015 London Boat Show.

Dean Smith, operations and marketing director at MDL Marinas, said: “We are delighted to be offering one boat owner the chance to win MDL’s Freedom Berthing Package for a year.

“MDL Marinas is the only marina operator to be able to give boaters the freedom to explore and berth at over 90 marinas at no additional cost as well as enjoy everyday amazing benefits.”

What's On at the PSP Southampton Boat Show?

• THERE is even more in store at the PSP Southampton Boat Show this weekend after it opened yesterday with a bumper first day. 

• Visitors will get a taste for life on board a high speed Clipper Racing yacht as crew members will be giving guided tours of one of their fleet from 9.30am until 6pm every day at berth M150.

•  Meanwhile, marine expert Sarah Brown from Sea-Changers will be speaking about identifying marine wildlife at 11am today and tomorrow on stand E039A.

•  Youngsters aged eight to 16 will get a lesson in knot tying at a workshop run by the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) from 11.30am today and tomorrow on stand M275-6.

•  The RYA will lead a second workshop both days for eight to 16-year-olds on weather and tides from 4pm on stand M275-6.

•  The dockyard will be filled with music by folk duo Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe, and India Electric Company, who have recently played Glastonbury and Lamer Tree Festival in Salisbury.

•  The folk duo will be joined by Swans in Flight singer Hugo Montgomery-Swan and punk  drummer Alex Page who also works at Haslar Marina in Gosport.

•  India Electric Company will be performing from 3.30pm-6.30pm today at Stand E042.