Southampton show attracts 83,000 visitors
The 53rd Southampton International Boat Show attracted 83,000 visitors to an event that closed for a day in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
This year’s Southampton International Boat Show featured 83,000 visitors over nine days, after the Monday of the scheduled 10-day event was closed as a mark of respect for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The UK observed a national mourning period of 10 days and the Queen lay in state in Westminster Hall for six days, with the period overlapping the first few days of the Southampton show.
“Despite the sad circumstances of recent weeks, we are delighted to have welcomed so many people to the show. It’s apparent that there continues to be is a real appetite for all things marine and people looking to find different ways to get out on the water,” said Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, the show organiser.
Set in Europe’s largest purpose-built show marina, this year’s edition featured a record number of exhibitors, boats and debuts. A total of 685 individual stands and berths covered the show’s 70,000sqm-plus footprint, with over 650 craft on display including 300 in the marina. The show hosted 167 UK and world debuts, while also welcoming 126 new companies.
“There has been a fabulous atmosphere at this year’s show and the feedback we’ve received from exhibitors from across the industry has been exceptional, with many indicating very strong sales,” Robinson said.
“The show has put a real smile on everyone’s face with a fantastic mix of products, talks, entertainment and refreshments, plus our stunning new VIP experience. We’ve welcomed everyone from boating newbies to seasoned sailors and watersports enthusiasts. The wide choice of sailing yachts, motorboats, accessories, paddle boards, kayaks and services has been incredibly well received.”
The new Quayside Club VIP experience was a new addition and proved a hot ticket for many visitors, with the exclusive waterfront lounge offering some of the best seats in the venue and delivering five-star hospitality.
“We have been delighted with how well the new VIP experience has been received at the show,” Robinson said. “The food, atmosphere and hosting staff has been exceptional, and we hope that in future years even more visitors will take advantage of it and add a real touch of luxury to their visit.”
British builders were again the dominant exhibitors, with Sunseeker, Princess and Fairline fielding impressive line-ups at Mayflower Park, having all participated at the Cannes Yachting Festival earlier in the month.
Sunseeker’s large display featured the UK debut of the Predator 65, which had its world premiere in March at the Palm Beach International Boat Show in the US. The nine-yacht line-up also included the 65 Sport Yacht, Manhattan 55 and Manhattan 68, while the Poole builder’s largest models on show were a Predator 74, Predator 74 XPS, 76 Yacht, 88 Yacht and 95 Yacht.
The Sunseeker family thrive when they are together as a team. Nowhere is this demonstrated more than at boat shows when we get to spend time with our valued clients,” Sunseeker stated.
“Our head-turning displays at both Southampton and Cannes have seen us achieve great success across the range. There’s great confidence in the industry and Sunseeker’s phenomenal range coupled with a strong product plan for the future is once again seeing us lead the way.”
Princess’s seven yachts in the water were headlined by the global debut of the F65 and the world premieres of the F55 and F50, all from the F Class series of flybridge yachts. The Plymouth builder’s other models include the V50 Deck (show debut) and V55 sports yachts, S66 sportbridge and the Y72 (show debut) from the larger Y Class flybridge motor yachts.
“We were thrilled to be back in force at the Southampton International Boat Show,” Princess stated. “This year’s show was back to normal, so it was fantastic to see visitors enjoying everything that makes this particular show so special.”
Fairline staged the Southampton debut of its newly upgraded flagship Squadron 68, soon after the model’s official world premiere at Cannes. The builder’s line-up at the show also included the F//Line 33, Targa 45 Open and GT models, Targa 50 Open and Squadron 50.
It’s great to see the show back to its pre-pandemic levels with large visitor numbers,”Sales for new and used boats both in the UK and Med are strong and we are very happy. Southampton is a really well run show and we’ve been very lucky with the weather. It’s a shame it’s all over so soon and we can’t wait for next year.”
As well as craft of all shapes and sizes from paddleboards and kayaks to superyachts, plus an array of products and services from engines and life rafts to clothing and rigging, the show again placed a real emphasis on giving people the opportunity to get out on the water.
Through the Get Afloat, Try-A-Boat and Try-A-Boat+ experiences, the show hosted over 14,000 visitors on the water, trying everything from dinghy sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking to RIB rides, yacht cruising and motorboating. Visitors were also able to get out aboard fascinating and historic craft like the 48m Morgenster tall ship, F8 landing craft, motor gun boat 81 and the High-Speed Launch (HSL) 102.
Robinson said: “I would like to offer my thanks to Rockley Waterports, Flexisail and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for making the on-the-water experiences such a huge success.”
The 2023 Southampton International Boat Show will be held from September 15-24, overlapping both next year’s Cannes Yachting Festival (September 12-17) in France and the Genoa International Boat Show (September 21-26).