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Zhik ATR Aroshell SW LEADERBOARD USA Newsletter: Gearing up for a big Annapolis boat show


North American sailboat industry gears up for a big United States Sailboat Show at Annapolis

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United States Sailboat Show - photo © Josh Davidson

Dear Recipient Name

While fall is always a challenging time of year for sailors - especially those who live in places where boats get hauled out of the brine for the dark, cold and blustery months ahead - the great news is that fall is also boat show season and the perfect time to start turning one's mind to next year's sailing season... rather than the coming months of shovelling snow.

And while the marine industry has always done an impressive job of putting on a proud show during each of the twelve years that I have attended the United States Sailboat Show at Annapolis (October 4-8, 2018), I am personally hoping that the confluence of high real-estate prices, historically high stock-market numbers and high confidence levels in the U.S. economy will translate into an especially big 2018 Annapolis.

One of my most indelible memories of this show unfurled in 2008, as the U.S. stock market continued its impressive losing stretch to reach territories of pain not seen in generations of investors. Standing with my friend Steve at an after-hours party for one of the marine equipment manufacturers felt like standing next to a friend or a loved one at a wake. If you've ever experienced weightlessness skiing deep powder or plummeting down a roller coaster, you're familiar with the collective "Oh $%^&" feeling that roiled the 2008 show.

United States Sailboat Show - photo © Josh Davidson
United States Sailboat Show - photo © Josh Davidson

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Fortunately, through bold acts of economic policy, a solid decade of time, and good old-fashioned American innovation, the economy is back and consumers have a lot to be feeling good about. Not only are wages (finally) on the rise, but interest rates are also still close to historical lows, making money relatively cheap, especially when cast in front of a backdrop of so much economic optimism.

Big picture, this is all boding well for consumers. But for sailors, this may be an especially good time to consider a new steed as the marine industry has been working hard to keep abreast of the good times by delivering exciting new boats, sails, electronics, after-market equipment and all of the other bits and pieces that often play critical roles in ensuring our great times afloat.

For example, Tartan will be showing off their new Tartan 395, Jeanneau will be giving tours aboard their new Sun Odyssey 319 and 410, and Wauquiez will be debuting their new Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42. Stepping into the multihull realm, prospective cat buyers should tune their attention to Fountaine Pajot's Astrea 42, Bali Catamaran's 4.1 and Outremer's 5X catamaran.

Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 - photo © Multihull Solutions
Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 - photo © Multihull Solutions

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Finally, for those amongst us who might have made a recent killing on the stock or real-state markets, Beneteau will be showing off their Oceanis Yacht 62 and HH Catamaran's will be showcasing their racecourse-ready HH55 high-performance multihull, while one of my personal favorite builders, X Yachts, will be lifting the veil on their Xp 55, a boat that looks worthy of crossing any ocean or performing well on most racecourses.

The docks always command plenty of attention at Annapolis, but savvy consumers will also be sure to scour the equipment tents for deals on the latest gear and electronics that could help breathe fresh life into a well-loved steed. Irrespective of whether your hunt entails finding perfect three-layer Gore-Tex foulies, discovering a new Doppler-enabled, radome-enclosed radar, or researching a new set of racing sails, visitors can expect industry heavy-hitters to be on hand to answer questions and lend their expertise. (N.B. Boat shows, of course, are also an excellent time to lock-in savings, so be sure to ask about any deals that vendors might be promoting.)

United States Sailboat Show - photo © Josh Davidson
United States Sailboat Show - photo © Josh Davidson

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While I might not exactly be budgeted to make an offer on the Xp 55, a boy can always dream, which of course is a big reason that plenty of people visit the United States Sailboat Show. And while I'm no soothsayer, I've got my fingers crossed that this week's show will prove to be a great experience for everyone, from the humble tire-kickers like myself, to the fortunate few who will be inking deals on the queens of the 2018 fleet, to the vast number of marine industry professionals who have been laying down the hours to make this an especially strong show.

Mother Nature, as always, is a significant actor at any outdoors show, but - as of this writing - even this wildcard looks positive, so fingers crossed that this year's Annapolis show provides plenty of opportunities for preparation to meet opportunity. After all, what could be luckier than that?

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

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