The Annapolis Sail Show, October 6-10, Annapolis, MD, generated a buzz and not just from the plethora of parties.
The Annapolis waterfront was filled with boats, gear, crowds and sailing celebrities. Ken Read, Dawn Riley, Gary Jobson, Peter Neilson, Dave Reed, Caleb Paine, Rick Doerr, Brad Kennedy, Peter Harken, Nigel Calder, Margaret Podlich, Mark Pillsbury, George Day, John Arndt, Craig Leweck, Bob Bitchin and many more sailing luminaries were spotted around the show. It simply seemed as if all of sailing turned up.
The show sported more than 150 boats in the water and acres of well-organized land and tent exhibits. Vacation Basin expanded to include the Med Corner where a coalition of Mediterranean charter companies occupied a large tent, making their presence impressive. Free wine, rum and gin tastings in the tents made for a welcome respite, especially in the rain. Hands-on workshops, exhibitor-led workshops, seminars, and the overall esprit gave sailors and wannbe sailors solid reasons to stay a few days in Annapolis.
Beneteau deservingly won the overall best display award from Sail America. The dock space included a wooden floor and “grass” that was as cushy on the feet as the designer section at Nordstrom’s — and a lighted fountain dressed the bows of boats in the water. Music and a juice station had consumers wearing smiles. That their docks were always chockablock was no accident.
Parties ruled the weekend confirming once again that sailors go with rum, painkillers (the famed Annapolis drink), beer and wine. Show-goers had fun at races, games, rendezvous, YC bars, restaurants, leaning on boat rails in parking lots and coming together after a long day at the boat show. It is always all about the people, and a dark-and-stormy just makes it better.
Show owner and manager Paul Jacobs, who ensures each year is better than the last, reported that 2016 was the largest show since 2007. The ubiquitous Paul appeared everywhere, ensuring every last detail kept the show on the lifted tack. He and his team are to be congratulated on a great event that created a buzz, merriment and sales for sail.