At the beginning of 2021 if you had suggested that announcing a boat show for September was a bold move, you would have been labelled a doom-monger.
But the announcement that ‘Britain’s biggest festival of boating will return safely and with style this September’ does seem a bold if not unexpected step in these confused times.
The Southampton International Boat Show was shutdown at almost the last minute in 2020 and the press release for the 2021 event (10-19 September) somehow seems a great leap of faith by the organisers.
Yes, the Government’s roadmap says that we will all be back to normal, or whatever ‘normal’ looks like, by the end of June, but with Europe heading back into lockdown by a multitude of covid variants, who is to say if such mass gatherings will be back this year.
But life goes on and as actual sailing events continue to be rescheduled on a rolling basis, hope springs eternal.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, comments that . . . ‘The organisers will be working closely with the city’s events safety advisory group, which includes representation from Public Health, to deliver an event that complies with government advice and the national roadmap out of lockdown.’
This is the national roadmap that no earlier than 21 June, in Step 4 is supposed to . . . Reopen the remaining closed settings, and enable large events, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions i.e., 4,000 or 50% capacity.
And ominously adds . . . subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.
So, in the sunny uplands we will look forward to:
Britain’s biggest festival of boating, which is going to be even bigger with additional land agreed for use at this year’s show.
Once inside the show, visitors will be immersed in the world of boating and water sports through new zones that cater for specific interests to give a tailored show experience.
The first zone will be for paddle boards, kite surfers, kayaks and windsurfers, accompanied by a stage, street food, music and a lively vibe to showcase the water sports lifestyle and simplicity of getting afloat.
There will be a Dinghy Zone geared towards the interest of dinghy sailors and high-performance sailing. This will flow into a Classic Boat & Day Boat Zone aimed at celebrating the boats and craftsmanship that stands the test of time.
Moving into Mayflower Park and the massive marina, there will be hundreds of power and sail boats, equipment and services on show.
Mayflower Park itself will be bigger and better than ever, with the stunning backdrop of Europe’s largest purpose-built marina remaining a show centrepiece.
There will be a wide range of exhilarating on-the-water experiences for everyone as the natural arena between pontoons and shore is utilised further to create a safe and constantly active water park.
This will showcase how getting out on the water really is for everyone, and that access to water sports is easier than people may think – in craft of all shapes and sizes!
You can read more and register for all the show news and be the first to know when tickets go on sale at www.southamptonboatshow.com