As well as cutting the ribbon to kick off 10 days of everything the water has to offer, the seafaring icon was also celebrating 50 years since setting off to become the first person to complete a single handed, non-stop, circumnavigation of the globe.
Boasting Europe’s largest purpose-built marina, TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show is the UK’s biggest festival of boating, ranking among the global sailing community’s elite events.
Alongside a host of celebrities and hundreds of stunning boats, thousands of visitors will get out on the water before the Show closes on September 23.
Speaking aboard his historic vessel, the 32ft Suhaili, Sir Robin said: “I was trying to remember what was happening 50 years ago today, I think it was the day I’d managed to lose all my fresh water.
“Today is a much finer day.
“One of the most interesting things is to look at Suhaili, which was classed as a modern boat just 50 years ago, and compare it to the wonderful array of boats on display here.
“What was once considered modern technology is nothing in comparison to the satellites and things you can’t even have imagined 50 years ago.”
Also getting the Show underway from the stunning tall ship Kaskelot was TV wildlife presenter and trained diver, Miranda Krestovnikoff. An avid marine conservationist, she is a key supporter of the Show’s eco pledge and represents the Boat Show’s future as a more environmentally-friendly event.
Miranda says: “I’m very excited that this is billed to be the most environmentally-friendly Boat Show yet.
“The sea and issues like ocean plastic are vital to the future of our planet, and it’s great to see events like TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show making real pledges to create a more sustainable future.
“As well as spectacular boats, there is a real commitment to protecting the sea as it becomes an increasingly global concern, highlighting environmental challenges facing us in 2018.
“The Show has pledged to address issues such as single use plastics and will showcase the innovations to help secure a brighter future for the marine environment.
“We all need to be a bit more savvy about what we use and how we recycle. If this was happening on land, everyone would be up in arms. But because it’s in the sea, it passes many by.
“But the tide is turning, and people are starting to recognise how issues like overfishing and plastic can damage our oceans.”
This year is most environmentally-friendly than ever, in-line with its three-year pledge on sustainability and marine conservation. The event’s responsibly-sourced menu was specially-devised by TV duo the Hairy Bikers, who brought together their love of good meals and Britain’s finest seafood.
Before September 23, Boat Show attendees will take in 330 boats across 2km of pontoons on the Show’s stunning marina.
Celebrating everything you can do on the water, the event offers a host of family-friendly attractions alongside live music and thrilling entertainment.
Elsewhere, TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show welcomes over 100 new faces to an already impressive list of exhibitors that is now more than 500 brands long.
A host of celebrities and marine experts will be making exclusive appearances including: Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon; BAFTA award-winning wildlife expert, Steve Backshall, will answer questions about his adventures to date; the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be roaming the Show; and explorer, writer and TV presenter, Monty Halls will recount tales from his latest adventure in the magical Galapagos Islands.
To mark Ladies Day, Diane Youdale, otherwise known as “Jet” from Gladiators, will offer her fitness top tips, both on and off the water, and share her passion for watersports.
Among boats of all shapes and sizes, the most expensive for 2018 is the blue-hulled 100ft Princess 30M, worth a whopping £10m.
Luxurious boats come with the territory at TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, and the biggest names in the business are showcasing their most elite vessels, including the likes of motor yacht powerhouses, Sunseeker International and Princess Yachts, and classic sailing brands, Spirit Yachts and Rustler
Fittingly, the Show was launched from the deck of the spectacular tall ship Kaskelot. The three-masted barque was built in 1948 and is one of the largest remaining wooden ships in commission. Also on display will be Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili and Sir Alec Rose’s iconic sailing boat, the Lively Lady.
But it is not all about luxury superyachts of the rich and famous, the Boat Show is catering for everyone with smaller and more affordable canoes, kayaks and paddleboards, which start at £300. Alongside bigger vessels are models from leading British dinghy specialists, RS Sailing and Hartley Boats, plus pleather of watersports brands.
The very latest lifeboats to join the RNLI fleet will be on display and visitors can explore the charity’s B-class Atlantic 85 lifeboat, one of the fastest in the fleet.
Wonderful new attractions for 2018 include the Heart Stage, hosting musical acts and some special guest appearances, and the Science of the Sea Experience, where visitors can learn more about our blue planet from the experts at the University of Southampton. The Show has its very own passenger boat, the Ocean Scene mini cruise, which takes hundreds of visitors on trips out on the Solent.
TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show takes place at Mayflower Park/Town Quay, Southampton from 14-23 September 2018.