Harbor revs for a show of speed

Weekend-long powerboat expo to open today

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 local favorite in this sailing community.

With some 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 about 50,000. It will open for general admission today and will run through Sunday.

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

The powerboat 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 small dinghies to a mammoth 75-foot trawler yacht that costs more than $4 million. About 35 of the boats are either new models or are having debuts at the show.

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

Trawlers' allure

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

Trawlers originated from commercial fishing boats. Slower than other motor yachts, their fuel effi- ciency is more economical. But they are not the choice for sailors 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."

Less speed, `more boat'

High performance boats may travel at 65 knots or more, while trawlers, with much smaller engines, average 5 to 12 knots. But what you get with trawlers "is 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 get into trawlers. With more "creature comforts" than sailboats, trawlers may appeal to those ready to shed the sails 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."

The express cruiser or "picnic boat" is another type of boat that has gained popularity in recent years. Barthold said the boats are very traditional in appearance with a 1920s or 1930s look, often with dark-colored hulls and a lot of wood. The show will feature about 20 models.

Getting to the show

Admission to the United States Powerboat Show is $14 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Parking will be available today and Sunday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. However, the Naval Academy homecoming game will preclude parking there on Saturday; take Exit 22 to Riva Road and follow the signs to the alternate parking. Parking at both locations will cost $5 daily and free shuttle service to the show will be provided.

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