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British event showcases World War II navy vessels

The PSP Southampton Boat Show was officially launched outside London Friday by TV personalities Dawn Porter and Nick Hancock, stars of the British network ITV's celebrities-on-a-sailboat reality show "All At Sea."

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Porter and Hancock opened the show aboard two World War II launches, accompanied by a low fly-by from a Grace Spitfire to commemorate the 70th anniversary next week of the Battle of Britain.

The 10-day show's biggest attraction is its show marina, one of Europe's largest purpose-built marinas. It has 400 boats tied up to 1.2 miles of floating docks.

More than 500 exhibitors are presenting small boats, gear, electronics, services and fashion. More than 1,000 boats are on display.

Other highlights include a Get Afloat display that offers 8- to 16-year-olds a chance to test-sail with a qualified instructor. The Try a Boat exhibit allows visitors of all ages to jump aboard and trial a range of boats free.

On land, the Water Zorb - an inflatable sphere that allows visitors to walk on water with no danger of getting wet - typically draws a big crowd.

A Nautical Imaginarium Stage Show features interactive elements that include a climbing wall and a bosun's chair.