by Paul Jacobs
There were some that said that the inclement weather might have actually buoyed sales at this year's United States Sailboat Show; because the harder it rained the more boats were sold. Show officials suggested that although overall attendance dipped slightly, the quality of buyers soared as many consumers seemed intent on leaving the show with a new boat.
United States Sailboat Show
'The weather had no impact on sales,' said Paul Jacobs, general manager of the Annapolis Boat Shows. 'Sailors came to Annapolis from 24 countries around the world to shop, compare and purchase sailboats.'
The Sailboat Show booked more exhibitor space than at any time in its 44-year history and the vendors and boat manufacturers reported historic sales. Seminars and events were at capacity or sold out well in advance including the Take The Wheel program and the 2013 Launch Party.
Larry Reagan of Just Boat Loans reported that 2013 just missed hitting its mark set in 2008. 'Applications and purchase agreements are coming in. We are almost back to 2008 levels,' Reagan said.
'Things have been phenomenal--crazy good,' said Valerie Toomey of Jeanneau. 'I would say that there have been less people but we have had non-stop traffic of very serious prospects and buyers. We are selling boats that don't even exist yet.'
'Sales are beyond expectations,' said Dan Nardo of Annapolis Yacht Sales working at the Beneteau exhibit. 'I expect to beat my goal and then some. People came to buy. I spent my time discussing options rather than sales.'
'Every year the Annapolis Boat Show proves itself as the sales show where you want to have your fleet on display. Other than being extremely soggy, this is the show that brings in buyers! We have been extremely pleased with the quality of our customers this year,' said Tommy Smith of Nautitech Catamarans.
Smartkat Sailing USA posted on Facebook, 'This was our first time at the Annapolis Boat Show and we were impressed with the show - we will be back!'
Exhibitors in Vacation Basin, the venue at the show dedicated to charters in the Chesapeake and more exotic locales saw long lines. 'It was a great show. People came to Annapolis to book charters,' said Erin Maitland of Dream Yacht Charters.
The Moorings Yacht and Charter Company reported that Caribbean bookings for the American market were up 25 percent from last year.
'It was surprising how good the charter traffic was despite the weather,' said Phil Swaun, northeast regional manager for New Coast Financial Services.
Skipper Jimmy Spithill, captain of Oracle Team USA and winner of the America's Cup, was honored at the 2013 US Sailboat Show Launch Party on opening night.
At the Launch Party the US Sailboat Show and Sail America announced the creation of the first annual Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding and unselfish contribution to the sailing industry. The first award will be bestowed on opening day of the Sailboat Show in 2014.
A Presidential Proclamation issued by Sail America recognized the United States Sailboat Show, the largest and oldest sailboat show in the world, as the premier sailing showcase for the international marine industry, and the ultimate consumer and trade show for the North American sailing market.
US Boat website