Annapolis Show Is The Place To Find Your Dreamboat

Dealers Remain Optimistic Despite Foundering Economy


Yacht and boat dealers camped out this weekend at the Annapolis Spring Boat Show said they are hoping that sales will ride the wave of a resurging economy.

"It seems to be going very well in spite of everything," said Jeffrey Holland. "We are doing a lot better than we were doing last year when we had the show in Baltimore."

For a $6 admission fee, potential weekend admirals could envisionthemselves aboard one of the 153 boats dockside and on shore.

Boats ranged from the expensive sailing yachts -- $200,000 for one that could sleep seven -- to inflatable motorized sport boats for a mere $849.

If they tired of skippering their dream boat, they could wander inside any of the 75 tents, where shop keepers displayed navigational equipment, boating accessories and other boat toys.

Although Interyacht, the Annapolis area's largest yacht brokerage, sold 20 boats in March valued at more than $2.2 million, the luxury boat market has been hit hardest by the new federal luxury tax that adds 10 percent to the price of a boat of $100,000 or more.

"It's a ploy by Congress and the administration to say they are taxing the fat cats, whenin fact thousands of people in the marine industry have been displaced by the tax," said John Burgreen of Annapolis Yacht Sales.

Burgreen said business at the show was slow, "but we have taken some namesand things could pick up."

Jim Guilfoyle, of Maryland National Bank, was under the financing tent, answering questions about loans.

"It's active," he said, describing people's interest in financing. "Not as great as we expected it to be."

A lot of people are lookingat boats, he said and asking questions about loans.

"But there's no rush," he said. "If you are going to say one thing about boat buyers, it's that they are very knowledgeable."

Conrad Brown, of Bayliner boats, said he sold seven boatsduring the show that started Thursday.

"We will probably double that today," he said early yesterdayafternoon. "People who were hereyesterday are coming back."

Sailors who don't want to splurge on a new boat can wait until Thursday when the Annapolis Brokerage Boat Show opens. The show comprises previously owned boats being sold by marine brokerage houses, not individual owners.

The hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

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