Sunday, October 12, 2008

U.S. Sailboat Show

The five day U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD this past weekend is an immense gathering of marine industry leaders, presenting the best products for the sailing public at the front end of the boat show season. The hot topic coming into the show had everything to do with the quality and quantity of show attendees, and whether the problems with the economy would interfere with the passions of the sailor. When studies show that boat shows are an integral part of the buying process, the thinking was that if this show was going to be a clunker, than the 2009 season was going to be a clunker as well.

Following the close of the show on Monday, Oct. 13th, there will be an accounting of attendees and show exhibitors to get a better sense of which way the wind is blowing. Until that data comes, the industry gatherings were at least upbeat, and there was general optimism among the show exhibitors and their seat of the pants feel from the talk on the docks. As industry icon Peter Harken remarked, these are not times to retreat, but to “keep the blinders on and go forward.” While the industry was going to need to be smart, these were not times to run and hide, but to seek out the opportunities and stay the course.

What is great about this show is in how all the boats are in the water, and strolling the docks becomes a who’s-who of hot production boats and their builders, designers, and head cheerleaders. Of particular note was the collection of sportboats in the 20-32 foot range located together, making attendees well aware of the exciting choices in this size range. The dinghy segment had plenty of sizzle too, highlighted by the UK influence amid the influx of boats on display from LaserPerformance and newcomer RS Racing. For larger racing boats, it was either their one design status or IRC features on display.

For marine accessories, Scuttlebutt partner was walking the aisles to scour the new and exciting solutions available, and will soon be providing the ‘buttheads with a complete report.

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At 10:40 AM, Blogger firstmaxx said...

I attended the show Thur and Fri. Had a great time. The show had all the stuff i wanted to see. Some great new boats out and improvement on the standard ones. The crowed seem to be a little less than last year. All and All I would call it a success. I am already planning a return next year.


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