The attendance at the opening day of the London Boat Show is up 40 per cent

The official opening of the London Boat Show took place earlier today at ExCel in London Docklands. Celebrity chef James Martin and Camilla Dallerrup, recent winners of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing competition, made the official opening announcement at the IPC Marine Media stage before taking to the dance floor to demonstrate their prizewinning steps.

If the attendance of the opening press and preview day is anything to go by, this year’s show that runs until 15 January is going to be a huge success. According to the show organisers the attendance is up 40 per cent – the best first-day attendance in many years. Crowds turned up for the 1000 start and by lunchtime the two massive halls of ExCel exhibition centre were heaving.

One of the biggest attractions here at ExCel is the spectacular watersports arena. This purpose built ‘sailing centre’ is designed to seat 1,500 spectators and the huge wind fans provide 30kts of wind which makes for some extremely exiting sailing and windsurfing.

The events on the pool kick off today with the National Canoe Polo Championship. This event runs for three days. The Indoor Windsurfing Championship, is probably the highlight of pool activities. Here the cream of the professional windsurfing circuit demonstrates their skills in slalom, freestyle and jump events throughout the week. Racing starts on 12 January and concludes on 15 January.

As the show comes to a close this evening 1000s of guests will be heading for central London to attend the IPC Marine Media Awards in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal. This gala ball, known as the sailing Oscars, will take place at Old Billingsgate Market and the awards will be presented not only to manufacturers in recognition of their achievements but also to sailing personalities who’ve excelled over the past year. The winners will be presented with the Raymarine/Yachting Journalists’ Association Yachtsman of the Year, and Young Sailor of the Year awards.

The show runs until 15 January with late opening on Thursday 12 January. For more information log on to: