Annapolis 2012: Innovation and then Some

If the recent Annapolis Boat Show were to have a theme song it would have to be Dylan’s “Times they are a Changing”—and not just because of the weather, which went from semi-tropical to polar in the space of only a few hours Saturday afternoon.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

If the recent Annapolis Boat Show were to have a theme song it would have to be Dylan’s “Times they are a Changing”—and not just because of the weather, which went from semi-tropical to polar in the space of only a few hours Saturday afternoon.

It’s no secret that the boatbuilding industry has been experiencing rough times ever since the economic crash of 2008. But after years of waiting, things are finally looking up—for real this time. Major builders like Beneteau and Fontaine Pajot reported strong sales, good traffic and plenty of prospects for the future. Lower-volume builders reportedly had a good show as well.

“We’re optimistic that the conversations we started with people in Annapolis will result in sales down the road,” said Michael Beers of Maroneck-based McMichael Yachts Brokers, which deals in a number of brands including J/Boats, C&C, Tartan and, most recently, Hanse. “The mood is definitely better. I don’t know if we’ve ‘turned the corner’ yet, but we’ve definitely made a ‘soft right.’”

From an attendee’s perspective, the show also offered plenty of changes to chew on—especially with respect to new boats. According to Beers, with dealer’s inventories falling, new models are very much in the driver’s seat with respect to sales, and the result has been a plethora of boats to choose from.

The ongoing “innovation arms race” taking place within the industry was particularly in evidence along Dock C in the multihull area, which featured such cutting edge designs as the Neel 45 performance cruiser, the SeaRail 19 and Motive 25R performance trimarans, the spunky little Zen 24 sloop and even a bright yellow 31-foot proa design from Chesapeake Light Craft.

Other standouts included two blisteringly fast carbon fiber racing machines—the MC38 one-design and the Ker 40 —from Australia’s McConaghy and the Farr-designed B/One.

On the less radical end of the spectrum were Tartan’s new Fantail, the first of the new Vision series from Bavaria and a brand-new 40-footer from Hunter that reportedly went from a blank sheet of paper stage to sailing in around eight weeks. Despite having only recently passed through bankruptcy, the 40-year-old Hunter clearly has its eyes on remaining a force in the industry for years to come.

In all, there were some two-dozen new boats to choose from, not to mention dozens more models that are “nearly new” having been introduced within the past couple of years. The optimism and industry that has been displayed by builders and designers during the course of the current economic slowdown has been nothing less than incredible.

In the gear area, new products included everything from the latest in gee-whizz wireless, like Simrad’s new GoFree wireless system, which allows you to access your chartplotter remotely via a tablet or smartphone, to more basic, but no less innovative items like the Hook & Moor boat hook from New England Ropes.

I especially liked McLube’s new Antifoul Alternative Speed Polish, a citrus-based, environmentally friendly antifouling for dinghies, sport boats and other dry-sailed racers that keeps bottoms race ready without additional scrubbing for the duration of even the longest regatta.

Also getting into the organics business was Forespar, which is unveiled its new Tea Tree Power mold and mildew odor eliminator, which harnesses the power of Australian tea tree oil to keep your boat smelling fresh.

Last but not least, SAIL magazine unveiled an all new tent-and-booth combination, complete with a set of comfy new chairs for staff, subscribers and friends to rest their weary feet after a long day walking the docks. If you missed it this time around, be sure to stop by next year!

For the record, despite a cold front that came through Saturday afternoon and resulted in a cold, rainy Sunday, a reported 50,000 people and 600 vendors attended this year’s show, which took place Oct. 4-8. For more information on both the 2012 show as well as the next show, scheduled for Oct. 10-14, 2013, visit usboat.com

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more