Practical Boat Owner: The ‘rain curtain’ at the London Boat Show entrance proved to be more of a trickle than a downpour but exhibitors and visitors were feeling positive after the opening day.

Practical Boat Owner: Positive start to the revamped London Boat Show – Credit: Laura Hodgetts

The 10-day show launched yesterday with appearances from pop star Nicole Scherzinger, TV personality Nick Knowles and Paralympic champion Helena Lucas. Plus 83 international boat debuts and 39 product launches.

This year’s London Boat Show coincides with the new London Classic Car Show and the added attraction has been credited with attracting more people than usual to the ExCeL exhibition centre.

Exhibitor Keith Hughes, managing director of Baltic Safety Products, said: ‘I’m pleasantly pleased with the footfall. Having the car show next door has attracted a hell of a lot of people.

‘I’ve got a lot of friends coming to the boat show and car show as a double jobby.’

Marcello Albanese, business development director at Navionics, said: ‘For us, the opening day was fantastic, we couldn’t even get a break for lunch.

‘We’ve been coming to the London Boat Show for the last five years and I’m not sure about in general, but for our business, this year has been really successful so far.

‘Maybe it’s the car show, but for some reason – and I visit a lot of boat shows around the world – the feeling is quite a good attitude here with customers buying new boats or refitting old boats with electronics, which is our core business.

‘I’m pretty positive, business seems to be picking up.’

Mr Albanese added: ‘The London Boat Show has kind of been reducing its attendance the last two to three years but it’s a reverse trend I’m seeing here, quite strong, if the first day continues. We hope it will.’

Dylan Whittaker, of Legend Yachts UK, said he liked the idea of a themed entrance but suggested sunshine instead of rain for next year.

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