Once, this was the time of year when one could hear the slap of paint brushes against the wooden hulls. Today, it is the whine of electric buffers cleaning and polishing fiberglass.
Whether you are old-fashioned, like me, with a wood bay-built, or up to speed with a plastic boat, it is time to get them ready for the season.
If you feel left out because you don't have a boat or you are ready to trade up to higher boat payments, take yourself to Annapolis this weekend or next. The city has two new boat shows: the Annapolis Spring Boat Show and Annapolis Brokerage Boat Show.
The spring show,featuring more than 100 sail and power craft, opened yesterday at the Annapolis Yacht Basin and Harbor and will run through Sunday.
The Annapolis Spring Boat show is sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland and the same folks who produce the U.S. Sail and U.S. Power boat shows at the Annapolis City Dock in October. They are professional boat-show people and produce a class act.
The show first took shape several years ago at Sandy Point State Park, then movedto Baltimore. Now it has come to Annapolis, where it should have been all the time.
Springtime boat shows have never caught the fancy of the boating industry but should be ideal for the boater and boat dealer. The dealer displays units he has in stock that he would like to move. If one catches the boater's eye, he purchases it and is immediately ready for the season. No waiting, just haul your new boat homeat the end of the show.
In addition to the boats on display, the show will have more than 70 small tents jammed with boating paraphernalia and such related services as marine electronics, boat insurance,boat financing, engine conversion or replacement, sailing schools,marinas, marine air conditioning, marine canvas and boating togs.
When the spring show pulls out, it will be replaced Thursday by the newAnnapolis Brokerage Boat Show, which runs through Sunday, May 5. Many of the land displays and exhibits will remain the same as this week's show, but the boats will change.
The brokerage show is comprised of previously owned boats being sold by marine brokerage houses, not individual owners. You will see very large, prestigious yachts, some over 50 feet, at this event. It also will have regular boats such as you and I might own.
The shows will run 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $6for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.
Take the Rowe Boulevard-Route 70 exit from U.S. 50 and follow the signs to nearby parking. Shuttle buses will whisk visitors to and from the show site. Buses start running at 9 a.m. and continue until one hour after the show isover.
The boating industry has had it a little rough the past fewyears, but I sense a turnaround, especially for power boaters.
I think I'm the only one in my neighborhood who has not purchased a newboat during the past 10 months. They were not all new boats, just new to the owners. But, the folks who sold the boats now have to go outand purchase a new boat. And so it goes.
The Rod 'N Reel Captains Association is presenting the ninth-annual Pro-Am Fishing Tournament next weekend, May 4 and 5. The heaviest bluefish for the two days will win the angler $10,000. Daily prizes will also be given for big bluefish and sea trout.
Weighing stations will be at Solomons and Chesapeake Beach.
For more information, call 257-2735 or 855-8351.
The Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermens Association's eighth-annual Bluefish Tournament will be May 18 and 19. The angler catching the largest bluefish will win $15,000. This is amateurs only; nocharter boats may enter.
For more information call 768-8666.