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There are plenty of Isle of Wight connections at this year’s Southampton International Boat Show, which was officially opened by the multi-talented Olympian James Cracknell OBE on Friday.

2019 Show sponsor ‘Borrow a Boat’ is the UK’s fastest-growing boat charter platform, with over 22,000 vessels on their books, with experiences available in over 75 countries. Based in the Tower area of London their business is conducted online and enables all those seeking to enjoy time on the water to borrow a boat making water sports possible for everyone which is the theme of the Boat Show.

Shipmates of Cowes is one of the Island businesses with a stand at this year’s Show. They have been a regular at the Show for some years with owner Clive Johnson starting trading in sailing kit and deck shoes 40 years ago. At one stage he had a portfolio of 14 stores along the South Coast and London. Due to retire on the 23rd of September, this was Clive’s last Southampton Boat Show but Shipmates in Cowes will continue trading with new owner Sandra Ross at the helm.

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Another show visitor was Cowes-based UKSA with their stand showing just what this concern has to offer the sailor or would-be sailor. With recent link-ups to SailGP and other organisations, UKSA can offer instruction for all ages.

The Island connections don’t end there… The Needles featured in a promotional film for the Sunseeker brand. Sunseeker have attended nearly all of the 51 Southampton Boat Shows and this year launched 2 new models -The Predator 60 Evo and the Hawk 38 – which is the first of 26 launches over the next 3 years. Hawk 38 is the last boat to be designed by Sunseeker founder the late Robert Braithwaite CBE to whom a tribute was paid. The promotional film of the Hawk 39 being put through its paces off The Needles also features the company’s base in Poole.

A replica of the Russian frigate ’Shtandart’ which is moored on the floating pontoons proved very popular with visitors to the show and on deck there were some good views over the other craft and attractions.

Sunsail boasts its own class during Cowes Week and organises sailing events around the World. Recently when its base in the Bahamas was flattened by Hurricane Dorian all their staff and guests were safely evacuated. Next year there will be a new fleet of boats for Cowes Week and other regattas. There will be four Solent Rallies with a special ‘Mayflower 400’ following Cowes Week.

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