Power Up, Prices Down At Boat Show

January 20, 1991|By Bill Burton | Bill Burton,Evening Sun Outdoor Editor

Multipurpose craft is the theme for the 1991 fleet of 550 boat that will anchor in the Baltimore Convention Center and Festival Hall beginning next Sunday for the nine-day 37th annual Chesapeake Bay Boat Show.

The boat show continues through Feb. 3. Hours are Saturdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children. For information, call 385-1800.

One boat for everything from water-skiing and cruising to fishin and partying is the focus of boat builders as the industry and consumers tighten their belts with an eye on the economy and events in the Persian Gulf.

In a sagging market, there are some bright spots, among the deck boats, which is a gussied up name for pontoon boats once known as partying craft. Inexpensive and fast, though somewhat lacking in accommodations, they can be used for dockside entertaining and cruising, water-skiing, fishing and crabbing.

And they are selling well. So are other small craft, among the bassboats and miniature high-performance speedsters. The 10 percent luxury tax for craft of over $100,000, which began the first of the year, has slowed that market down appreciably.

Despite nationwide financial belt-tightening, 1991 shapes up a a year for the consumer. The hard-hit boating industry is experiencing a moderate shakeout of dealers and builders, which means for buyers unprecedented bargain prices.

Among the show's eye-catchers is the Sea Ray Sundancer, wit overall length of 39 1/2 feet from bow pulpit to swim platform. This low profile boat is a speedster for its size, cruising at close to 30 knots and topping out at 38. She will cruise on her twin 340-horsepower MercCruiser gas inboards at 28 to 30 gallons an hour. She is priced at nearly $30,000 below her sticker price of $182,243.

Another eye-catcher is the 38.2-foot Bayliner 3888 Motor Yach with twin 210 Hino turbo-charged diesels that will push her to 30 knots, with a cruising speed in the mid-20's. Priced in the $150,000 range, she has a deep well for fish and walk-through transom to reach the 4 1/2 by 12 1/2 -foot swim platform.

The 20-foot Fiesta deck boat and its 24-foot counterpart th Royale, both by Ozark, have private portable toilets, and many other features for those shopping for craft in the moderate price range. Though of basic pontoon design, they are exceptionally fast. With 90-horse engines, the Fiesta will do 35 to 40 miles an hour, the Royale, 35.

The younger set wants speed, and can mount a 150-hors engine that will push the Fiesta along at 45 to 50.

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