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Hampshire Life - - Liss -

There’s no mis­tak­ing the ar­rival of TheYachtMar­ket.com Southamp­ton Boat Show. As a res­i­dent of Southamp­ton, once I see those iconic rig­gings for the road bridges start to go up, I can’t believe that an­other year has gone by so quickly. Syn­ony­mous to those first Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions in the shops be­ing the mark of win­ter, the Boat Show has be­come for me, a sig­nal to the end of the sum­mer and the start of au­tumn.

Say­ing that, we have had some in­cred­i­bly balmy shows, and by no means do I wish for leaves to start in­stantly fall­ing from the trees; but the hub­bub and at­mos­phere that it brings to the city is like no other fes­ti­val through­out the year…apart from, maybe Christ­mas (ex­cuse the fre­quent men­tion of the ‘c’ word).

Cel­e­brat­ing its golden an­niver­sary is quite a feat con­sid­er­ing the first show in

1969 at­tracted just 50 ex­hibitors, com­pared to the 500 plus that have signed up this year. The brain­child of Nor­man Kem­ish and Arthur Gale, the orig­i­nal show ran for an ini­tial six days and en­trance cost just ten shillings (50p) for the first day and three shillings (15p) for the re­main­der of the week. Con­tained solely within Mayflower Park, the army, based on the other side of the river at March­wood Mil­i­tary Port, sup­plied the small pon­toon where just a hand­ful of boats were moored. What it lacked in quan­tity, it cer­tainly im­pressed in qual­ity and Yachts and Yacht­ing quite rightly pre­dicted a suc­cess­ful fu­ture con­sid­er­ing,

Cel­e­brat­ing its 50th year in the city, TheYachtMar­ket.com Southamp­ton Boat Show’s buzz and ex­cite­ment ar­rives from 14 to 23 this month. El­iz­a­beth Kirby

looks back over the past half a cen­tury

“over 60 per cent of the Bri­tish plea­sure boat trade is sit­u­ated within a 25 mile ra­dius of the town.”

From gale force winds in 1983 to Black Wed­nes­day in 1992, The Show has made it through some tough times. But with highs such as Richard Bran­son dis­play­ing his Vir­gin At­lantic Chal­lenger in 1986, to wel­com­ing roy­alty in 1993 for the 25th an­niver­sary, and not to men­tion that £2mil­lion Sun­seeker Man­hat­tan in 1999; the Southamp­ton Boat Show has con­tin­ued to keep crowds en­ter­tained for half a cen­tury.

Last year, The Show in­tro­duced its first ever pas­sen­ger boat giv­ing vis­i­tors the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy a free boat trip on the So­lent to take in the im­pres­sive view of the Show from a new per­spec­tive. And for 2018 it seems the em­pha­sis is again on of­fer­ing an in­ter­ac­tive day out. Try a boat and water­sports ses­sions should en­cour­age even the most de­vout land­lub­bers to have a go on the wa­ter. While a kayak as­sault course chal­lenge, Fes­ti­val Green (the new foodie and live en­ter­tain­ment area), and at­trac­tions from the National Oceanog­ra­phy Cen­tre should keep the whole fam­ily en­ter­tained.

The Show will also mark the 50th an­niver­sary of the first sin­gle-handed non-stop cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the globe with Sir Robin Knox-John­ston’s Suhaili on dis­play. Plus, sport­ing stars and celebrity sup­port­ers of the event over the last 50 years will be wel­comed and there will be a touch of the late 1960s in the new Guin­ness Bar and re­fresh­ments area. What’s more, any golden cou­ples from Southamp­ton cel­e­brat­ing their 50th an­niver­sary dur­ing the Boat Show will gain free en­try to the event.

So whether you’re a sea­soned boater or a sail­ing novice there will be plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to dip your toe in and take part in this iconic Southamp­ton tra­di­tion.

This year the boat show cel­e­brates its 50th year in Southamp­ton

Get out on the wa­ter on­board a rib for a unique per­spec­tive of the show­ground

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