Southampton International Boat Show Offers Something for Every Sailor

From SUPs to superyachts and everything in between, the Southampton International Boat Show is an on-water event, one of the largest in Europe and the biggest and most popular of its type in the UK.

Welcoming thousands of visitors, the event provides a showcase for everything the leisure marine industry has to offer and provides an exciting family day out with many chances to get afloat.

From the traditional to modern day classics be inspired with a visit to the Classic & Day Boat Zone, powered by Classic Boat Magazine, at the Southampton International Boat Show

From luggers to day boats, gaff rig clinker classics to sleek launches with electric propulsion systems, opportunities to learn classic boat building skills, getting hands-on with ropemaking and knot tying to meeting the stars of “Swallow and Amazons”, there’s something for everybody at this show within a show.

Traditional clinker-built wooden hulls sporting classic red and tan sails to the latest high-tech, silent electric propulsion system fitted onto a classic open launch, with demonstrations of boatbuilding, rigging and ropework skills, hands-on activities, talks and demonstrations, there really is something for everybody in the buzzing Classic and Dayboat Zone, powered by Classic Boat Magazine.

“This ‘show within a show’ is always a major attraction for visitors”, says Classic Boat Magazine Editor, Rob Peake.  “Classic Boat Magazine is delighted to be sponsoring the Classic and Day Boat Zone, a showcase of the year’s most handsome timber craft and a place where all lovers of classics can congregate. Our editorial team will be there over the show to chat to everyone who values the traditional skills that are still being practised so expertly by the zone’s exhibitors.”

From admiring the sleek lines of stunningly designed and built classic boats, visitors can get hands-on, watching and learning the age-old traditional boat building skills required to make these craft.  A certain crowd-puller will be the staff and students from the Boat Building Academy, who will be building a classic boat throughout the show demonstrating all aspects from steam bending wood through to carving and routing. 

If you’ve ever fancied making a monkey’s fist, a lanyard or rope fender, or just learning how to tie knots, then look no further than the skilful Sue Pennison of the International Guild of Knot Tyers.  Sue will be demonstrating the art of knot tying and canvas work, giving visitors the chance to get hands-on creating their own masterpieces. 

Another famous face at the show is Swallows and Amazons’ star Sophie Neville.  In 1973, aged just 12, Sophie played Able Seaman Titty and was the inspiration for many youngsters as she was filmed sailing and rowing the sturdy 14-foot standing lugsail craft “Amazon” in this highly popular classic film.   The Arthur Ransome Society managed to acquire and restore the clinker-built dinghies “Swallow” and “Amazon”, and Sophie will be at the Southampton International Boat Show talking about her experiences as a child film star, the process of raising funds to purchase these classic craft, their restoration, and the opportunities to now sail in these classic boats.

Classic doesn’t always mean ‘old fashioned’ and several companies will be showing how traditional style yachts can be bought up to date with modern propulsion systems.  Nelson Motor Yachts will be highlighting their Nelson 18, a 60-year-old design now featuring a choice of two superstructures and option of electric, diesel or hybrid power.  Built by a dedicated team of craftsman, the trademark Nelson wooden badging on the hull is complimented by an all-new GRP and wood interior.  One option creates a spacious cabin and cockpit area, making the Nelson 18 the ideal day boat for estuary and river cruising, with plenty of space for a champagne picnic on board.  Alternatively, buyers can opt for an open launch superstructure, suitable as a workboat or safety vessel. 

Woodbridge Boatyard will be premiering its new electric propulsion systems on an 18-foot GRP open hull.  The company has fully refurbished this old simulated clinker hull with a new timber fit-out and flush deck to create an electric-powered stylish picnic boat.  The Woodbridge Boatyard system, named the Debden Drive after the river on which it is located, is available with Vetus 48V motors, ranging from 4-10 kW, a 7-inch touchscreen display with built-in wifi, charts, echo-sounder and battery data readout.

From the tiniest tenders from Micro Boats, nestling prams from Adventure Boats, sailing yachts from Drascombe and Lakeland Wooden Boats, fishing and motorboats from Highlander, fenders from Compass Marine and every sort of watersports equipment from Craig Cahoon, there’s also an array of other stands to wander around showcasing shoes from Quayside and Cabotswood, Lillevilla log cabins, and even expertly sourced wine tastings from Wineomania. 

And if all these land-based stands aren’t enough, there are numerous classic yachts to be found nestled amongst the pontoons of the show marina, and there is even the chance to enjoy an early evening sail onboard the classic 47m Dutch tall ship Thalassa with Try-a-Boat+. One of most beautiful and fastest sea sailors of the Dutch fleet, Thalassa is traditionally rigged but contains all the modern safety features and conveniences expected in today’s craft, offering adventurous sailing with comfortable enjoyment.   

So, whether it’s an outing on the water, getting to grips with knot tying and rigging, learning some fettling and boat building skills, understanding the latest in electric and hybrid propulsion or satisfying a shopping urge, there really is something for everyone – whatever your age or interest – in the Classic and Day Boat Zone, powered by Classic Boat Magazine. The show is open from 10am – 6pm daily except the final Sunday when the show will close at 5pm.  Tickets for the Boat Show can be purchased online