Boat show weighs anchor at Gunwharf

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THE first boat show to ever be held in Portsmouth has made a splash with a great start.

Up to 100,000 visitors are expected to drop in to Gunwharf Quays, drawn from all over the south to attend the Powerboat and RIB show.

ON SHOW Kim Lumley and Tom Sanderson of JBT Marine.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121650-1)

ON SHOW Kim Lumley and Tom Sanderson of JBT Marine. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121650-1)

Organisers hope this show will be the first of many for Gunwharf, with the hope that in years to come Portsmouth will have a boat show to rival that held in Southampton each year.

Hugo Montgomery-Swan, the organiser of this weekend’s Powerboat and RIB show, told The News: ‘This is the first time a show like this has been held in the UK.

‘It’s free to enter, whereas the other shows still operate behind fences with tickets.

‘They suffer from not being able to get new people in through the gates.

ON THE MOVE A RIB is put through its paces off Gunwharf Quays.  (121650-5)

ON THE MOVE A RIB is put through its paces off Gunwharf Quays. (121650-5)

‘So we thought we’d take the boat show to the people.’

As well as Rigid Inflatable Boats and powerboats, jet skis and other craft are being shown off at the event.

Gunwharf is also buzzing with stalls, attractions, and those attending will get the chance to go out on a RIB in the harbour.

It’s a chance to see what a £50,000 Suzuki RIB can do, and offers the chance to get close to Spitbank Fort as well giving unrivalled views of Old Portsmouth. Mr Montgomery-Swan added: ‘This year’s show is the basis of bigger and better shows in the future.

‘I’ve already been contacted by important companies that couldn’t be here this year but are keen to support us next year.’

Amongst the exhibitors is yachtsman Geoff Holt, offering people the chance to experience his Wet Wheels catamaran.

It has been specially adapted to allow people who have to use wheelchairs to experience life on the water.

He said: ‘All people have to do is go to the marina office and ask to have a go. Wet Wheels is my boat, but I feel lucky that I can give other people the opportunity to sail. I take it for granted because this is what I’ve been doing my whole life, but when you take someone out on the water and see the glee on their faces, it makes you very proud.

The show runs until 7pm today and 10am to 5pm tomorrow.

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