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Old, New and More Affordable, Too

This year’s U.S. Sailboat Show has something for you

The newest thing about this year’s United States Sailboat Show is innovative, but not exactly new.
    For the first time in its 45-year history, the annual Annapolis sailing extravaganza will debut Brokerage Cove, a section of previously owned yachts for sale. Offering a used-boat option was such a success in its debut at last year’s U.S. Powerboat Show that organizers expanded it to the sailboat show as well.
    “Brokerage Cove is the biggest new thing this year,” said Paul Jacobs, general manager of Annapolis Boat Shows.
    In past shows, visitors could take shoes-off tours of the big cruising boats like Hinckley’s 52-foot yachts that few could do more than dream of owning. But adding the used yachts and several smaller models makes this year’s show a bit more democratic than aristocratic.
    “That’s a really good development for the show and for sailing in general,” Jacobs said. “It opens up more options for the middle-class sailor.”
    Jim Osborn, of Osborn Yachts at Pier 4 in Eastport, is showing a well-equipped 1980 Sabre 28 pocket cruiser whose original owner is asking $28,000.
    “I think it’s a huge advantage to open up the show to used boats,” Osborn said. “It’s nice to have a used model available the same time as the new one. These often come with more equipment, and the prices are more negotiable.”
    Many of the new sailboat models making their debut this weekend also have a different look — and lower price point — than in previous shows. Several upscale yacht-makers are bringing out smaller, more nimble sailboats designed more for speed than luxury. Premiering at the show will be the infusion-molded Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 and Beneteau’s lowest priced First 22.
    “A lot of the higher-priced makers are all debuting performance-type boats,” Jacobs said. “There’s a whole section this year of race-oriented boats.”
    Another trend that is broadening the horizon for would-be sailors is the growth of chartering, fractional ownership and sailing-club fleets like J-World in Annapolis. J-World members pay an annual fee to use the club’s boats from small to large, for both day sailing or racing.
    “That’s a trend that’s really growing,” Jacobs said. “For a few thousands of dollars a year, you can have access to a sailboat any time you want.”
    It’s cheaper than buying and maintaining a sailboat of your own, plus paying mooring and storage fees, which alone can cost thousands of dollars a year in the greater Annapolis area.
    That’s also why the show’s Vacation Basin section has been expanding. Every East Caribbean nation is represented at the show with booths selling sailing and destination-based vacations.
    The sailboat market has not cooled off, judging from the show’s popular Take the Wheel on-the-water seminar, which for $175 per person ($290 for couples) allows prospective buyers to test-sail models before purchasing.
    “Those seminars sold out weeks ago,” Jacobs reports. “They sell out every year, all six sessions.”
    There are also seven free sailing seminars on both Saturday and Sunday, including iNavigation, or how to use smartphone and tablet apps to supplement traditional navigation. Other topics include Start Sailing Now and a fall Cruising the Chesapeake Bay guide. (Register at www.annapolis
schoolofseamanship.com.)
    This year’s show will have plenty of big boats to see, with the two biggest a Humphrey’s 90 (yes, 90 feet long) sailboat and a Catana 90 twin-hulled catamaran.
    Multihull sailboats feature more cabin space and stability than traditional single-hull sailboats. “The multihulls are huge,” Jacobs said.
    The small and starter-boat end of the spectrum is well represented at this year’s show as well, including the Flying Scot, a nationally popular 19-foot sloop that is made in Maryland. It retails for $18,200 including a custom trailer.
    “We’re one of the very few vendors who have been to every one of the Annapolis sailboat shows,” said David Neff, who operates Selby Bay Sailing Center in Edgewater. “And we always bring a newly built boat to this show.”
    It’s usually gone before the weekend is over.
    “Last year’s boat sold on Saturday of the show. It is absolutely good exposure for us, and for the Scot,” Neff said.
    Neff, the sales representative for the Flying Scot factory in Deep Creek Lake, has more than 50 private and club-owned Flying Scots at the marina near the mouth of the South River.


Thurs. Oct. 9 thru Mon. Oct. 13 at Annapolis City Dock: $18 w/discounts. Park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the free shuttle: www.annapolisboatshows.com.