Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The 2014 Annapolis Sailboat Show

For all the years I've been a sailor, I've only attended a handful of boat shows in Annapolis. This year I decided to attend on Thursday (VIP Day) to hopefully avoid some of the crowds. As it turned out, Thursday was the best weather day of the entire weekend.
The view from the rooftop at Pusser's
As I had hoped, the crowds were more manageable and I had room to wander the docks at will without traffic jams. I'm not seriously in the market for a new boat, but it sure was fun to check out the state of the art in boat design these days. I did experience some things that made me shake my head, but by and large, the day was fantastic and the visit was extremely worthwhile.

Small Boat area
This show truly had something for every type of sailor. Along with the extensive collection of larger boats on display in the harbor, there were small boats on display in the land based areas. Annapolis goes all-out for this show, and not a square foot of space in the harbor area is wasted. There are tents where you can visit with all manner of vendors who sell sailing and boating related gear. I was on a mission to talk with many of the various marine electronics manufacturers about an electronics upgrade for September Song. They were most helpful and I came away with a game plan of sorts, along with a way to do it in stages to save me from the expense of doing it all at once.

I spent a considerable amount of time wandering the docks, looking at new boats I can't afford, and actually found that I couldn't see everything in one day. Unfortunately, my weekend plans and the foul weather forecast for the remainder of the show meant that I would not be able to return for a second day.

Speaking of new boats that I can't afford, check out Tempus Fugit. She is a 90 footer, built in 2013 out of wood. For sale because her owner is having a 120 footer built to replace her. Yours for a cool $5.5 million. Viewing was "by appointment only", unlike most other boats where they let the unwashed masses come aboard.
Tempus Fugit
I also spent a considerable amount of time on catamaran row, checking out the new cruising catamarans. One thing I noticed - there are very few new catamarans under 40 feet these days. Yacht builders are you listening? There is a market for cruising catamarans under 40 feet and not many new models out there. Gemini and Lagoon seem to be the only ones. PDQ quit making the smaller cats when they switched over to Antares. I did learn that Gemini has recently signed a contract with Catalina Yachts to build their catamarans in the future. Good news, because Catalina has a great reputation when it comes to supporting their customers.

I also noted some innovative design features. Leave it to the french to put a wine locker in the bilge...

In a nutshell, if you're a sailor, even if you're not on the market for a new vessel, the concentration of hardware, apparel, electronics vendors, and yacht sales people all in one place make the Annapolis Sailboat Show the "place to be" in early October!

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