Thousands of people enjoyed the tall ships, stalls and entertainments during the Poole Harbour Boat Show at the weekend.

Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas was guest of honour at the inaugural event, which was held on Poole Quay and at Poole Quay Boat Haven Marina.

PBO’s project boat Hantu Biru was open to visitors throughout the free two-day show.

Despite a rainy start to the day on Saturday, the sun shone and visitors flocked to harbourside to view the boats of all different shapes and sizes, a RNLI rescue demonstration, dinghy taster sessions, yacht racing, free fireworks and live music.

Nick Kriek, of Poole, was among the dozens of people to step aboard Hantu Biru throughout the weekend. He said: ‘I feel like I know this boat, I’ve followed its progress through the magazine. The photos don’t do it justice really, it looks better in real life.’

Jonathan Parker, of Pimperne, Blandford Forum, said : ‘I’ve been fascinated throughout the whole preoject to see what a wreck it was at the start and what can be done with a lot of man hours.

‘It’s a very tidy boat, you should all be very proud. The finish is excellent.’

John Rundle, of Weymouth, praised Poole Harbour Boat Show and said: ‘It’s a good show, large enough to be interesting but small enough that you can get round everything.’

He added: ‘The project boat is fantastic, it fills me with enthusiasm.’

The PBO Project Boat at Poole Harbour Boat Show

The PBO Project Boat at Poole Harbour Boat Show

Paralympic 2.4mR keelboat champion Helena, recently announced as the first British athlete selected for the Rio 2016 Games, was the guest of honour on the Sunday where she met with guests and showcased her gold medal.

Helena, who won gold in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, said she hoped the boat show would encourage more people to get out on the water.

The inaugural show included on-the-water activities courtesy of local yacht clubs and involvement from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, tall ships Pelican and Stavros S Niarchos, plus Sunseeker, Princess, Fairline, Windy, Stingher Ribs, Bayliner and Sealine.

The first ever Poole Harbour Boat Show exceeded organisers’ expectations with more than 15,000 visitors across the two days, 50 per cent over what was predicted.

Organised by the team at Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) and Poole Quay Boat Haven, more than 60 exhibitors used the show as a platform to display their products.

Chief executive of PHC, Jim Stewart said: ‘We are delighted with the success of the first ever Poole Harbour Boat Show which showcased Poole’s community spirit at its very best.

‘We are delighted with the high quality of visitors who came to this year’s show and wish to extend thanks to all our sponsors Barclays, Bates Wharf, Colemans Insurance, Excellare, Humphries Kirk, Sunseeker and Mazars, and to everyone in the team behind the event who made it all possible.

‘The event has led to positive feedback and we already have a number of exhibitors who have signed up to return in 2016, which is very encouraging.’

Exhibitors to date, signing up to return to Poole Harbour Boat Show next year include: Fairline, Beneteau, Bayliner, Regal, Cobalt, Weird Fish, The Watersports Academy, Powerboat Training UK, Dean and Reddyhoff Marinas, Quay Holidays and Poole Boat Charters.