If warm, sunny weather and a new wave of economic optimism aren't enough to tempt sailors back onto the water and into the marketplace, local boat shows over the next three weekends will add other tantalizing inducements to start them thinking about it again.
From the starting lineup, it looks like there's at least one show for every sailor's general or special interests.
First, over April 19-21 at Bert Jabin's Yacht Yard at 7310 Edgewood Road on the south side of Back Creek in Annapolis, comes the 15th annual Chesapeake Bay version of Yankee Boat Peddlers' Used Boat Show. It's a kind of do-it-yourself show for owners who want to try selling their boats or equipment on their own, as well as a convenient assemblage of brokerage boats.
It's one of four stops on Yankee's annual circuit, which also includes shows in Miami, Bridgeport, Conn., and Newport, R.I.
Next, it's downtown to the Annapolis Yacht Basin,between the Marriott Waterfront Hotel and Annapolis Yacht Club, where the Used Boat Shows had been in years past. You'll find a pair of new shows produced and managed by the same capable folks who created the October in-the-water boat shows more than 20 years ago, and sponsored by two important local organizations.
Of these two, the Annapolis Spring Boat Show comes first, over April 25-28. Sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, it will be full of new boats in the water, smaller crafts ashore and dozens of tents chock-a-block with equipment, accessories and services.
The focus of this show, which actually is a further evolution of the former MTAM spring boat show at Sandy Point, is on the local Maryland side of the industry. Many of the dealers there will be local boaters' old friends.
The following weekend, May 2-5, is the first Annapolis Brokerage Boat Show, sponsored by the Yacht Architects and Brokers Association. Like itssister show the preceding weekend, it also will feature boats in thewater, as well as small craft ashore and tent displays.
The boats, however, will be quality previously owned models offered by professional yacht brokers from across the region.
"We believe the show'sgoing to be every bit as big as it's been in the past," said Yankee Boat Peddlers' Bob Spagnolo, manager of the upcoming Used Boat Show at Jabin's.
"We've had a lot of interest and it looks like it's going to run about 60-40 in favor of sailboats this year. In previous years, it's been about 50-50 sail and power."
Spagnolo said the offerings for sailors at the Used Boat Show will range from day-sailers on trailers up to yachts near 50 feet. As of Friday, his largest entry in the show was a 45-foot Seamaster liveaboard cruiser, and the smallest were in the 20-foot neighborhood, with good representation across that range.
In addition to the boats brought in for display by individuals and brokerage firms, there also will be a Marine Flea Market full of interesting equipment, new and used inflatables and representatives from sailmakers and custom canvas shops.
Spagnolo said the biggest exhibitor in the show would be the Annapolis brokerage Yacht-Net, which would be placing eight to 10 boats in the show.
Things are looking good for the other two shows, as well. Show organizerJeffrey Holland of International Boat Shows in Annapolis said momentum for and participation in both the Spring Boat Show and the Brokerage Boat Show were "building every day." Like the Used Boat Show, the MTAM and YABA shows at the Yacht Basin will include both sail and power boats.
As of Friday, Holland explained, "I'd say there will be at least -- at least -- 100 boats in the water for each show, if I had to guess right now. We have about 70 (exhibitors in) tents for eachshow and eighty percent of them are going into both shows."
Amongthe goodies of particular interest to rag-baggers in the Spring BoatShow will be sailboats, ranging from a Beneteau 45 down to tiny trailerables, including a Vision 36 built by Hunter with a free-standing rig, a Flicka 20 "micro-cruiser" by Pacific Seacraft, 15- and 19-footmodels from West Wight Potter, Flying Scot and Rhodes 22 one-design sailers, a Hans Christian 41, Hunter 30, Pearson 30, Sabre 38, Watkins 30, Mayo-built Gemini 32 cruising catamaran, and Seaward cruisers from 17 to 25 feet.
Small boats on show include inflatables from Zodiac, Zeppelin, Calypso and Caribe, and sailboards from Windsurfing Annapolis.
Holland said that boating products and services will be on display, as well, to help purchase and commission a new boat or refit a currently owned boat.
Among the tent exhibitors will be dozens of suppliers of electronic gear, boating hardware, navigational instruments, binoculars, air-conditioning systems and generators, galley equipment, water purifiers, and products for cleaning and refinishing teak and fiberglass.