March 2, 2024
Annapolis, US 53 F

Spring boat shows break records again

Breaking attendance records, the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show (April 20-22) and the Bay Bridge Boat Show (April 27-29) were great successes by all measures. Despite generally below average spring temperatures, all-time attendance records were set on epic back-to-back Saturdays, propelling both shows to experience impressive growth. Overall attendance grew by 4.5 percent to establish the best ever Spring Sailboat Show, and a 17.7 percent jump in attendance at the following weekend’s Bay Bridge Boat Show reflected a return to near 2007 (pre-recession) levels.
“Many factors contribute to this growth including the national economy, a strong regional marine economy, growth of dealer support, and overall an extra effort by all involved,” said Paul Jacobs, president of the Annapolis Boat Shows. “I am really pleased with our progress. This year we saw much greater participation by local dealers and it’s clear to me that all of us are committing additional resources designed to grow our industry. It certainly bodes well for the future,” Jacobs added.
“Not only are the audience sizes changing, but so is the demographic, as evidenced by the number of younger people, families, and diversity at the shows,” Jacobs added.
Bay Bridge Boat Show
Held in Stevensville, Maryland at the Bay Bridge Marina, the Bay Bridge Boat Show featured more than 400 powerboats and was the largest spring boat show north of Florida. Buyers came out in large numbers, and exhibitors reported the sale of many boats as well as qualified leads to follow up in the weeks to follow.
Virtually any boat style in a size range of 8 to 70 feet was available including hundreds of center consoles, express cruisers, wake and ski boats, and pontoon boats. There were lots of small car-top boats like kayaks, SUPs, inflatables, small engines, and paddle sport platforms of all kinds. At the other end of the spectrum, the entire range of trawlers, spectacular blue water cruisers, and offshore fishing yachts were also exhibited in large numbers.
Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show
The seventh annual Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show saw an increase in the in-water new and brokerage boats in sizes from 18 to 70 feet. Many more smaller trailerable and car-top boats were on display and the tents were filled with exhibitors showing a wide variety of products.
“The show gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce Hanse and the 548 received a real great response. It is exciting to put a new product in front of the market at a spring show and not just a fall show. The show has been a great help for us and we had a great response from many clients, plus traffic has been strong,” said Ken Comerford, president, owner and broker at North Point Yacht Sales.

“This show has grown into a spring event well worth attending. We had good traffic and the customers we spoke to wanted to buy equipment for their boats,” said Sally Reuther of Annapolis Hybrid Marine.

“It was a great time of year for people to get out and celebrate spring and the kickoff to the sailing season,” said Debra Gilmore of Complete Sail.
First Sail Workshop
Two tuition-based programs sold out prior to opening the show. In the fourth year for the First Sail Workshops, featuring Beneteau First 22’s, classroom and on-board teaching staff provided by Sailtime and the American Sailing Association, nearly 200 first time or novice sailors were introduced to sailing during the three day event.
Cruisers University
Cruisers University saw the largest number of new or aspiring cruisers in its eight-year history. Two hundred people came from around the country and from as far away as Calgary, Canada to select from nearly 50 classes ranging from boat travel, galley preparations and cruising ‘kitty’ management to navigation and diesel engine maintenance. A core of knowledgeable instructors was assembled offering a comprehensive curriculum that thrilled and inspired an enthusiastic audience.
Annapolis Junior Keelboat Regatta
In tough competition, St. Mary’s High School Sailing Team took home the win in the fourth annual running of the Annapolis Junior Keelboat Regatta. The regatta brought together four of the area’s top regional high school sailing teams to race just off the docks of the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show in the Severn River. Annapolis, Severna Park, St. Mary’s, and South River High Schools participated in multiple round-the-buoys one-design match races in J/80s donated by J/World Annapolis.

Coming in October

Dubbed the ‘greatest sailboat show’ by consumers and exhibitors alike, the United States Sailboat Show is the granddaddy of all sailboat shows. This iconic and prestigious show is the only sailboat show in the world in which nearly every major sailboat manufacturer is represented. The 49th United States Sailboat Show will run October 4-8, 2018.
 Cruisers University, October 8-11, 2018, offers the most comprehensive curriculum on cruising and is suitable for both sailing and power cruising.

The 47th annual  United States Powerboat Show, with more than 500 boats on display in downtown Annapolis, opens the following weekend, October 11-14, 2018.  This show provides the boat buying public the opportunity to see virtually every style of boat available up close and in person.

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