Went yesterday too - dragging better half with me trying to convert her to RIBs from horses...
Haven't been to Southampton for a good few years and at £12.00 for a ticket, (we got 2 for 1 but ticket face value is still £12.00), probably won't bother again for similar time.
Sign posting to the park and ride was awful from town centre... then £7.00 to park in muddy field and 15 min bus ride each way.
Ticket colllection and entry was instant - no queuing but just went down hill from there...
First hall and a lot of the show was clothing! A lot of the other products offered seemed to bear no connection to boating at all... maybe its the lifestyle and image and not the boating thats important these day?
The majority of the 'stores' were so tightly packed that it was impossible to browse due to people trying to get in and out - and aren't people so b
y rude these days! Pushing, shoving, barging, excuse me and sorry don't seem to be in the language these days. God knows what it would have been like at the weekends...
I was looking for a few specific items - out of 5 I found one at the 6th attempt - no real interest in helping from any of those I asked. Notably Andark were very helpful finding the info I wanted, as were the Mercury stall when we eventually got served - the free info made up for the waiting as others who should/would have known were only interested in selling me a £30.00 manual so I could look it up!
Likewise with the exception of the RNLI book I didn't notice any show specials on equipment. One item I was looking at varied between £18.95 and £26.99 for the same make.
Not looking at boats too much cut our time there down to around 3 hrs... shame as with travelling it worked out rather expensive day