THE first step on the path to Portsmouth hosting a major boat show is being taken next May, when the RIBEX show comes to the city for the first time.
The News can exclusively reveal that the world’s only boat show dedicated solely to rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) will be moving from its home at Cowes to Gunwharf Quays next year.
And the news has prompted outlet director Peter Emery to reveal his long-term plans for the centre.
He said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to be having this next year. It’s something that we’ve wanted for some time.
‘We have aspirations to do a large boat show in Portsmouth and work in partnership with the dockyard and this is a stepping stone to something of that scale. We’re pleased.’
The event is going to have an added attraction – it will be completely free to attend and everyone will get the chance to have a go on one of the super-fast boats.
Show organiser Hugo Montgomery-Swan said: ‘Come the second weekend in May, the entire Gunwharf Quays complex, including its marina, will be filled with these exciting adventure orientated powerboats.’
RIB and power boat enthusiast Jason Evans, from Sarisbury Green, said the event was a real coup for Portsmouth.
He added: ‘I’ve been to it before when it was in Southampton and Weymouth, and it was great.
‘It’s about time we had something like this for Portsmouth, because people need to know more about how much fun ribs can be, and being on them while the ferries come in would be fantastic.’
It will feature live music and entertainment, as well as displays and exhibitions.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘It’s fabulous news. It’s great for Gunwharf, Portsmouth and people will see how much benefit we can get from having that sort of show in an area like Gunwharf Quays.
‘It will once again establish Portsmouth for holding events like this.’