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Southampton Boat Show

21 September 2008

The PSP Southampton Boat Show, in association with ITV Meridian, drew to a close today, concluding ten days of boating fun, celebration and business. A very encouraging total of 121,389* visitors descended on Mayflower Park between 12-21 September to enjoy the 40th Show.

The Show, which boasts one of Europe’s largest purpose-built marinas, treated visitors to a bumper year with over 600 exhibitors and more than 1,000 boats on display, ranging from 1.5m dinghies to 37m tri-deck motor yachts. To ensure an unforgettable 40th, the Show was opened with golden fanfare by the victorious sailors from Team GB, led by Ben Ainslie, and a host of boating and television legends from the past five decades including Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Steve Curtis MBE, Lady Pippa Blake and Kate O’Mara.

Visitors were spoiled for choice with the action-packed schedule of daily events, displays and interactive features. Crowds gathered at the Main Stage – Powered by Fairline to watch retro fashion shows and see Felicity MacNamara be crowned Miss PSP Southampton Boat Show; visitors climbed aboard the Show’s tall ship Jeanie Johnston as well as a multitude of visiting feature boats; while others took the chance to get on the water trying RIBs, powerboats, dinghies, canoes and kayaks. The introduction of Ladies Day was a great success and the new Platinum Ticket offered a little extra for those visitors in search of luxury at the Show.

Paul Strzelecki, chairman of National Boat Shows said: 'The Show and the industry in general have faced a challenge by way of a series of difficult economic situations hitting the global banking industry and financial markets since the start 10 days ago. We experienced a slower beginning but were delighted to finish the Show only 5% lower than last year’s stunning attendance which was the third highest in the Show’s history.

'Feedback shows that our visitors have had a great day out with us, with many taking the chance to get afloat and our exhibitors remain positive about sales and the long-term benefits of the Show.'

Andrew Williams, managing director of National Boat Shows continued: 'Despite these being tough economic times, our buoyant ticket sales illustrate that many visitors continue to see the Show as an important date in the boating calendar – a testament to the appeal of the Show, the exhibitors and all involved. We’ve also had the benefit of good weather and a wealth of attractions to explore, which have helped draw crowds out onto the marina day after day.

'The industry is very conscious of the current economic climate, and while sales have not been as robust as 2007 where we enjoyed a strong year, many exhibitors have exceeded targets for this year – which is encouraging. We are of course aware that this may not be the case for all exhibitors and NBS will continue to ensure we produce the best possible showcase for the industry at London and Southampton to maximise sales opportunities for all.'

Frank Dixie, managing director of Show title sponsor PSP, said: 'The Show has exceeded all expectations. We came here as title sponsors not knowing what to expect but we’re delighted we have surpassed our targets, both in orders and brand awareness. The friendliness, not just from NBS and BMF but also the exhibitors, has been overwhelming, and we will miss the atmosphere of being here at the Show.

'The highlight for us, through our partnership with MDL, was the loading of a ship heading to Spain which passed the Show on Tuesday – and also taking our first order earlier in the week, as a result of our sponsorship.'

The Show has also played host to a number of celebrities throughout the week. Eddie Jordan kicked off the Show buying an Elan yacht, while others spotted have included Claire Sweeney, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Timothy Spall. Olympic medallists Tim Brabants and David Florence also took to the water and showed off their paddling skills.

The British Marine Federation (BMF) continued to work hard behind the scenes, organising numerous events and incentives to help demonstrate both the value of becoming a member, and to encourage current members to make the most of their membership.

The BMF, along with the RYA and IWA also provided an update on how the end of the derogation of Red Diesel will be implemented as of 1 November 2008: private pleasure craft owners will be able to continue to use red diesel for propulsion use, but at a modified duty rate while red diesel at a rebated rate will still be available for domestic purposes, such as heating and lighting. Recreational boaters will declare the percentage of fuel to be used for propulsion and domestic use respectively, with analysis by both the industry and HMRC suggesting a split of 60% for propulsion and 40% for domestic use (heating, cooking etc) probably reflects most people’s use and it is therefore likely that many users will declare such an apportionment.

Jonathan Duffy from Sail Time: 'We’ve had an extremely successful Show. We feel we have something different to offer in testing times, and have managed to sign up lots of members. We have personally equaled our performance of the 2007 Show, which is fantastic, and aided by the good weather have thoroughly enjoyed the Show.'

James Beaver of Dean and Reddyhoff: 'This is the best boat show we have ever done. We feel the right audience has been attracted this year right up until the last Sunday. People are making decisions, and are here to spend money. We have already made contact with NBS regarding a stand at the London International Boat Show in January and are very much looking forward to it.'

Andrew Morgan of Morgan Powerboats: 'We launched our new Morgan 260 at the Show this year, an all British boat which has been in production for the last four years – and the response from the visitors has been phenomenal, we haven’t stopped since we got here! With the business we have generated here at the Show over the last ten days, our family run business will be kept busy for the next 12 months alone.'

Shelley Jory, ambassador for the first ever Ladies Day at the Show said: 'I am hugely honoured to be the ambassador for the first ever Ladies Day. It is fantastic that our industry is finally holding such an event at a Boat Show. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my entire involvement. There seems to be a lot of buzz around the activities and the atmosphere has been great. People are still buying boats, and I am thrilled to see so many happy faces in such difficult times.

'I particularly enjoyed visiting the H2O Zone in Solent Park. The kids were having a ball on the water and it’s great that they can get involved in something practical.'

James Grazebrook of Haylard said: 'Visitor numbers held up well against a difficult economic background and we moved our business forward with the conclusion of two significant commercial marine contracts and a number of large leisure craft sales. Southampton is the first in the annual round of major international boat shows and all the indications are that the multi-national superyacht and large leisure yacht business continues to achieve satisfactory sales levels.'

Paul Birch from Haven Knox Johnston: 'It has been a pretty upbeat Show with excellent weather conditions, which has really restored British confidence in summertime and in the boating industry as a whole. We have spoken to a couple today who are upgrading from an £80k boat to a £300k boat, so business is clearly being done. We really enjoy the hospitality aspect of the Show, which enables us to make contact with our customers on an annual basis, and update them on our products.'

Bill Hannah of Personal Touch: 'Our expectations of a more low key Show have certainly been exceeded. Business has been extremely good and we will definitely be coming to London in January.'

Nick Griffith of Ancasta: 'Sales levels have met our expectations however volumes of enquiries both from existing and new customers have greatly exceeded expectations. We are delighted.'

Rick Reading of Topper: 'We have had very good sales figures equaling that of last year. The Show has really bettered our expectations with an exceptionally high quality of visitor. Saturday in particular was spectacular – the best we have experienced in many years. And of course we will be returning in January to London where we are involved with the Design a Sail competition.'

Tim Hart from the Marine Division of Barrus: 'We feel the Show has really come together in the end of the week, with a particularly good last weekend.'

Richard Taylor of Oyster Marine: 'We are very pleased with the Show. There has been a very high quality of visitor and our level of enquiries has equaled that of last year’s exceptional Show. We will be exhibiting at the London International Boat Show which is now fast approaching!'

James Robinson of Fairline: 'As of 4.30pm on the last day, Fairline Boats had successfully sold 30 Fairline boats amounting to UK £26 million retail deposited sales. A tremendous Show.'

Ian Braham of Lombard Marine Finance: 'This year’s Show has been very successful and we are pleased to report that results are up on last year, with a 10% increase in the number of applications and a 52% increase in the value of applications received so far. Sail boat applications were up by 30% bringing this on a par with the number of power boat applications. As such results show a 50:50 split between power and sail which continues the trend towards sail boat applications we have observed throughout 2008.

'The Southampton Boat Show has always been a successful event for us and this has been a very positive week. Overall we are continuing to invest in the business and as a result, have seen an increase of 30% in turnover this year compared with the same period last year.'

Posted by: John

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