Powerboat show revs up for big weekend in Annapolis

Vessels will range from speedsters to `picnic boats'

October 12, 2001|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

The 30th annual United States Powerboat Show will motor into Annapolis Harbor this week with hundreds more - and pricier - boats than hailed to the capital city last weekend for its cousin, the United States Sailboat show, the favorite in this sailing community.

With about 470 boats in water, a couple of hundred smaller boats on shore, and about 400 vendors with equipment, services and products, the powerboat show is revved up to draw about as many visitors as the sailboat show, which organizers estimated at 50,000 people. It opens today and will run through Sunday.

"The Annapolis sailboat show is by far the queen of sailboat shows," Jim Barthold, show manager, said. "But the powerboat industry is vastly larger than the sailboat industry."

The show, which he said is one of the largest in-water powerboat shows in the country, is the place to see new high-performance boats, motor yachts, fishing boats and trawler yachts. The boats range from dinghies to a mammoth 75-foot trawler yacht that costs more than $4 million.

This weekend's show is unique in the industry because it is a "pure powerboat show" - no sailboats allowed - and does not include used boats, Barthold said.

Among the show's growing features is its TrawlerPort. In its third year it will showcase 63 boats, reflecting a "tremendous" growth of this segment of the industry from a few years ago, Barthold said.

Trawlers originated from commercial fishing boats. Slower than other motor yachts, their fuel efficiency is more economical. But they are not the choice for sailor with a need for speed.

Trawlers are for "people [who] want to take their time getting from point A to B," Barthold said. "They don't mind taking their time, but they do mind spending a fortune on fuel."

High-performance boats might travel at 65 knots or more, while trawlers, with much smaller engines, average 5 to 12 knots. But trawler owners get "a lot more boat" because the sturdiness allows for more room and a larger superstructure above the hull, Barthold said.

He said sailors are among those who might own trawlers. With more "creature comforts" than sailboats, they might appeal to those ready for an easier ride.

"A lot of sailors, when they are looking for something that doesn't require as much energy and time, might choose a trawler," Barthold said. "It isn't as free as the wind, but it doesn't rely on a whole lot of horsepower."

Express cruisers or "picnic boats" are a type of boat gaining in popularity in recent years. Barthold said the boats are traditional in appearance with a retro 1920s or 1930s look, often with dark-colored hulls and a lot of wood. The show will feature about 20 models.

Admission is $14 and $7 for children age 12 and younger. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Parking will be available at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium today and Sunday. The Naval Academy homecoming game will preclude parking at the stadium tomorrow. Take Exit 22 to Riva Road and follow signs to alternate parking. Parking at both locations will cost $5 and free shuttle service will be provided.

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