December 5, 2023
Annapolis, US 48 F

2017 US Sailboat Show a resounding success

It felt more like mid-summer at City Dock, but the hundreds of sailboats, the huge white tents, and the thousands of people spending millions of dollars proved that it was in fact early October. For 48 years the sailing industry has come to Annapolis from around the globe to show off their boats, equipment, sails, rigging, and accessories to an international market at the United States Sailboat Show.  This year proved to be one of the best in the show’s history with the largest temporary sailboat marina ever, land and tent spaces bulging at the seams, and consumer spending nearing an all-time high.  The weather was hot and so were boat sales.

Gavin Buckley - Democrat for Mayor
Attendance numbers confirmed the success of the 2017 Sailboat Show by hitting the high water mark of the best attendance post-recession.  “Historically, attendance at these shows is amazingly constant,” said Paul Jacobs, president and general manger of the Annapolis Boat Shows. “But this year’s show saw a one-year increase in ticket sales of 21.5%.  The last year to eclipse that number of paid attendees was 2008. As the economy goes, so goes the industry and our boat show.”New this year, the American Sailing Summit in Annapolis welcomed renowned sailing experts as instructors for eight days of workshops, on-board trainings, and educational seminars presented by: Annapolis Boat Shows, Blue Water Sailing, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Cruising World, and SAIL magazines. The workshops and full-day sessions were at or near capacity – over 250 new or inexperienced sailors got on the water in the First Sail Workshops, another 150 participated in Take the Wheel, and Cruisers University hosted 170 students in its one-to-four-day programs.

Of special note in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Annapolis Boat Shows partnered with Pusser’s Caribbean Grille and Annapolis Waterfront Hotel to host a hurricane relief fundraiser. The event drew more than 350 donors and kicked off a two-week fundraising campaign by many in the marine industry. Thanks to the generous support of more than two-dozen exhibitors, like-minded Annapolis businesses, and hundreds of boaters, “Hands Across the Transom Hurricane Relief” and related in-show fundraising contributed $240,000.00 to date. The campaign continued through the Powerboat Show.

The fourth annual Annapolis Boat Shows’ Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award went to not one person but two. Olaf and Peter Harken, founders of Harken, Inc. an international manufacturer specializing in performance sailing hardware, joined a small but important group of recipients: Alastair Murray, John Arndt, and Margaret Podlich, all of whom continue to make huge contributions to sailing both on and off the water.  The award recognizes distinguished, continued, and unselfish service to the overall advancement of the sailing industry.
As if that isn’t enough great news, the United States Powerboat Show opened with double-digit growth in display space for the second year in a row, some 30,000 square feet added, and all land and booth spaces sold out.  There are nearly 550 boats: 400 in water, another 100 on land, and 50 in Brokerage Cove.
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