HUNDREDS of thousands of people flock to it every year, and it is one of the major highlights of any yachty’s calendar.

The PSP Southampton Boat Show is back – and this year – its 42nd anniversary – it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

From its humble beginnings in 1969 when just a handful of yachts went on show, the event has grown into the largest outdoor event of its kind in Europe, with more than 130,000 visitors flooding through its gates last year.

For ten days starting from tomorrow, Southampton’s May-flower Park will be transformed into a hustling, bustling array of all things sailing.

The three kilometres of purpose-built pontoons that make up the Hydropool Marina play home to hundreds of boats of all sizes, from jawdropping millionaires’ super yachts to swish motor cruisers as well as more modest – and, for many visitors, realistic – craft.

On dry land, hundreds of stalls and stands sell every nautical item you could ever think of, as well as plenty of clothes, accessories, beauty therapies and lifestyle products for the not-so-nautical.

One thing’s for certain – the PSP Southampton Boat Show has something for everyone, and the list of things to do is endless.

Notorious as a place to spot celebrities, the show will be kicked off at 11am by television stars Nick Hancock and Dawn Porter.

The pair will arrive at the show by water on two historic Second World War launches accompanied by a spectacular Spitfire flypast. Shortly after opera star Kathryn Jenkins will perform to mark the world launch of the most luxurious boat at this year’s show – Sunseeker’s 40m motoryacht.

Adventurer Bear Grylls will be making an appearance on Saturday to sign autographs and showcase the boat he will take on an Arctic expedition later this year.

The PSP Southampton Boat Show will also be the backdrop for the fourth round of the 2010 Powerboat P1 SuperStock Championship on Saturday.

Visitors to the show will be able to watch up to 20 of Britain’s best offshore racing teams powering around Southampton Water in an adrenaline-fuelled day of fast and furious action.

On Thursday the Daily Echo’s fashion scouts will be roaming the show in the hunt for the Best Dressed Lady.

The PSP Southampton Boat Show runs from tomorrow to Sunday, September 19.