Southampton Boat Show returns for first time since 2019

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Rachel Hepworth

The 52nd Southampton Boat show was today officially opened by members of the Olympic sailing team- among them, gold medallist Eilidh MacIntryre from Hayling Island who's been coming to the show for years

She said: "We haven't seen each other for for almost two years so to be back here and to go and see everyone who helped us on our journeys... that's really what the boat show is about".

"Reconnecting us all and keeping up with the sailing world".

  • Team GB and Hayling Island's Eilidh McIntyre on the importance of the event

It's Britain's biggest festival of boating and there was a huge relief that it was back after last year's cancellation.

Covid tests are compulsory to get in, but once through the gates the atmosphere was relaxed a little glimpse of normality.

And no-one more so than Geoff Holt, who's dedicated his life to getting people with disabilities, like him, out on the water.

On the 10th anniversary of his Hampshire-based Wetwheels charity, he has ambitious plans to add more boats to the fleet

  • Geoff Holt, Wetwheels

Goff said: "People leave their disabilities on the dock when they come to Wetwheels and for that moment in time they can come out on the boat, they can drive the boat!"

"For a moment in time they're the captain of a power boat and that's quite special I think."

100 thousand visitors are expected over the next nine days to see the very best of everything on the water.

There's also the chance to have a go at something a little more sedate, like paddleboarding, possibly the biggest growing sport in the UK.