Power replaces sails

October 13, 1994|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water: Here comes the 23rd annual powerboat show.

The sailboats from last weekend's annual show had barely glided from the Annapolis City Dock this week when the first of the powerboat show's 350 vessels zoomed in. Bluewater yachts were replaced with sporty runabouts. Sails were traded in for outboard motors. Suddenly, there was talk of water skiing and "go-fast" performance.

The powerboat show, which starts today and runs through the weekend, will feature fishing skiffs, sport boats, family cruisers, trawler yachts and houseboats.

The in-water boat show is considered a barometer of the overall health of the boating industry.

The number of boats on display this year -- 16 percent more than last year -- reflects a recovery in the boating industry after a "five-year depression" that ended last fall, said event spokesman Jeffrey Holland.

So who will be buying these boats? Mr. Holland said the powerboat crowd has changed over the past 10 years. No longer the vessel of choice for speed demons and young people, the buyers seem to have mellowed.

"We've been seeing a melding of the two different crowds," he said. "So we see folks in their retirement age crossing over from sailing into power boats."

Most major U.S. manufacturers will bring one or more models of every boat they build. The largest display will be of nine Vikings, from the 38-foot convertible used for sportfishing to the 65-foot motor yacht.

The boats range from skiffs that cost less than an economy car to a 76-foot-long Lazzara "sport yacht" worth $2.6 million.

For visitors interested in buying powerboats, the show will provide services for financing, insuring, documenting and commissioning a yacht. And the show will exhibit boating accessories, from electronics to personalized galley ware to boat shoes.

The event is open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday, and will stay open an hour later on Friday and Saturday.

Admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children age 12 and under. A limited number of V.I.P. tickets will be available today at $20 each.

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