Come Rain Or Shine, The Show Must Go On For Boating Enthusiasts In Annapolis

April 24, 1997|By Kristina M. Schurr | Kristina M. Schurr,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

On the afternoon before the Annapolis Spring Boat Show was to open, the floating metal docks and decks of boats to be sold were rain-slicked and almost deserted.

But whether the weather changes or not, it won't make much difference to the 10,000 to 15,000 visitors expected today through Sunday, said show spokesman Jeff Holland. Boaters will just put on their foul-weather gear and keep searching for the sailboat or powerboat of their dreams, new marinas, navigational equipment and fuel.

About 100 new and 50 used boats for sale by Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia brokers are anchored in the Annapolis harbor. They range in price from $1,300 for a collapsible dinghy to $600,000 for a 65-foot motor yacht outfitted with three staterooms, three heads and quarters for a two-person crew.

As rain pattered against the blue and white plastic tents that will house the 120 exhibitors, representatives of finance companies, electronics firms and local marine sales centers began hanging signs and setting up display tables.

Patrick Winterschladen of Britannia Boats of Annapolis demonstrated how to put together and take apart a folding dinghy made of mahogany marine plywood.

"It just takes about one minute either way. It fits three people, and you can fold it up and carry it anywhere -- it only weighs about 40 pounds, and it's less than 5 inches thick," he said.

Outside, Jack Heffner and Jim Elliott of Gratuity Yachts of Rock Hall ignored the rain as they scrambled across the deck of a Kirie sailboat, preparing it to meet prospective buyers.

Meanwhile, Mike Hobson of Crusader Yacht Sales stood in the galley of a Saga 43, waiting for the rain to stop and the show to start.

This regional show, run by Annapolis Boat Shows Inc., is sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland and the Yacht Architects & Brokers Association and is in its seventh year.

While the larger, fall boat shows, also run by Annapolis Boat Shows Inc., bring about $20 million in tourist spending to the city and Anne Arundel County, this one brings in a little less than $5 million, Holland said.

But this show, the first event of the spring, "really kicks off the season," according to Peggy Wall, president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau. Hotel bookings are at a peak this weekend, she said.

Others had a narrower view of the show right before it started. Heffner said his biggest hope is that he can sell one of the two boats he brought with him.

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 410-268-8828.

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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