Celebrities and pirates aplenty open the 38th Southampton Boatshow today 15/9/06

The 38th Southampton Boatshow opened with a bang this morning as solo round-the-world sailors Alex Thomson and Dee Caffari and popular TV presenter Ben Fogle perched high upon the lookout of the magnificent Jubilee Sailing Trust tall sailing ship LORD NELSON as crowds gathered below.

Spectators marvelled as a band of pirates fired the cannon three times to mark the official opening of the show, which promises to offer plenty of treasures with its hearty pirate theme. As the world’s largest purpose built show with over 2.5km of pontoons and over 380 boats afloat, this year is sure to be big as it expects to attract over 123,000 visitors.

Solo-racer Alex Thomson announced his up and coming plans, including taking part in the Velux 5 Oceans and the two-handed Barcelona World Race in 2007, leading up to the extreme Vendée Globe in 2008. Alex announced: “Hugo Boss has a new keel as well as a new mast that is two metres taller, after she was dismasted sailing back from Australia.”

TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle says he’s no stranger to the Southampton Boatshow. Here along with his boat in which he recently rowed across the Atlantic with James Cracknell, Fogle said: “I’m not sure which was worse, 49 days in a small boat in the ocean or 49 days with six-foot hairy James Cracknell!”

Ben Fogle went to university in Portsmouth and was heavily involved in sailing in his youth, when he was involved with the Royal Navy. Having recently married, Fogle is reluctant to announce any future plans for ocean expeditions. He said: “Everyone aspires to different things. I would love to sail around the world, but it’s not going to happen. I’ll leave it to Dee, but everyone loves a bit of adventure.”

There’s certainly plenty of adventure to be had at the boatshow this year.

Treasure Island Beach in the Solent Park offers a multitude of activities for everyone.
Jazz bands will be playing all day today and throughout the weekend. And watch out for the pirate shows, stilt walking pirates, pirate jugglers and magicians that will surely shiver ya timbers!

You can visit tall ships, LORD NELSON and TENACIOUS, in the marina as well as Alex Thomson’s Open 60 Hugo Boss, or you can crew an America’s Cup boat. And if it’s style you’re after, you can dine with celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli in his new restaurant.

The Southampton boatshow is gearing up to be a big one this year that’s too good to miss.