The 45th PSP Southampton Boat Show opened today with big news and launches from Sealine, Fairline, Sunseeker and Princess

The Southampton Boat Show was officially opened earlier this morning with the congregating press and organisers forced to take shelter from the pounding rain.

Whatever the weather, the boating community can take heart that the four big British boatbuilders are here and the outlook for the industry is less gloomy than the skies above us.

The first bit of good news is that Sealine is here – albeit with a smaller presence than normal – and as MBM reported from the Cannes Boat Show earlier this week, the brand, which has recently been purchased by Hanse Group, will be launching the F380 at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, before looking at other model development.

In other good news, Princess is launching three new models at Southampton: the Princess 43 fly, which MBM managed to sneak a peek of before the show opened; the Princess 52; and the Princess 82 Motor Yacht.

Over on the Fairline stand, the new CEO Kevin Gaskell launched the Squadron 48, fresh out of the company’s new Corby facility, before announcing that the focus now is on product development, including the launch of the Targa 48 Gran Turismo at the 2014 London Boat Show, followed by the Targa 75 Gran Turismo later in 2014.

Meanwhile, Sunseeker’s launch of its three new models – the Manhattan 55, the Sport Yacht 68 and the Sport Yacht 80 was a typically grand affair with music from opera singer Iola Grace and classical group Amore before Robert Braithwaite was joined on stage by Richard Hammond who promised to consider a Top Gear/Sunseeker challenge.

Look out for reviews, photos and video of all the best boats and gear at Southampton throughout the duration of the show.