By 10 a.m. yesterday, there were lengthy lines of people at each of the entrances to the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis -- and the opening of the show for the general public isn't until 10 o'clock today.
For years Thursdays have been preview sessions for the boat trade, media and anyone willing to pay $25 for a VIP ticket to get an early look at the best and newest the sailing industries have to offer.
"The weather looks like it will be great through the weekend, advance ticket sales are up 26 percent, and the show has great variety in boats, gear and accessories," said Jeffrey Holland, who has been a manager at the sailboat and power boat shows for many years.
The show runs through Monday.
This year there are more than 250 boats on display on land and in the water, and about 600 vendors selling everything from nautical tie tacks to the queen of the show, the Oyster 70, a transoceanic performance cruiser built in England.
Some of the best bargains are on smaller items such as clothing, accessories and electronics, including hand-held GPS units.
"I expect to sell everything that's here," said Andrew Lance of Defender Industries, an international retailer that has slashed prices on various Magellan GPS units and electronic equipment. "These [Magellan units] won't last till Monday."
But as always, the heart of the show is the boats -- from the gold-platers along the outer harbor docks to the inflatables, rowing shells and dinghies displayed along the harborside promenade.
There are, in fact, types and sizes of boats on display to fit any sailing budget or lifestyle.
Flat-out racing boats that will make your blood pump fast just to look at them, posh cruisers fitted with bars and full-sized baths, day boats and over-nighters, slippery modern designs and beautifully traditional craft like the Alerion 26 or the Herreshoff 12 1/2 .
And in the show crowds yesterday, there were, as always, people for every kind of boat.
"Honey, we can sell the house," one gentleman was saying to his wife as they stood on the docks and looked over a glorious 51-footer built by The Hinckley Co. "We won't have a house payment, the kids are grown. We'll live aboard and go places."
If you're going What: 28th U.S. Sailboat Show, largest in-the-water fall show in the world Where: City Dock and harbor, Annapolis When: Today through Monday at 10 a.m. daily Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $6 for all children 12 and under including infants Information: Call 410-268-8828
Pub Date: 10/10/97