We’re lucky to have an eye-witness report from the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, which concluded last weekend. Ryan Helling is member of the Northwest Marine Trade Association Board of Trustees, a broker with Swiftsure Yachts and a damned fine seaman. -KH
By Ryan Helling
Attending the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis is always energizing. The annual “Annapolis” show is the largest showcase for new sailboats and sailing gear in the US and is well attended by East and West Coast sailors alike. Energy radiates throughout the show. Parties hosted by vendors on the docks after hours bring people together in a fun party atmosphere. Rain or shine (and we experienced both), the tone in Annapolis this year was that our sport is alive and well.
Evidence: over 150 boats displayed by manufacturers from around the globe. Of course, the major players Beneteau, Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour, Hanse, Tartan were present with a complete line of offerings. As usual, Gunboat was a main attraction with two of their now famous luxury high speed cats and ubiquitous dockside “talent” directing the long line of traffic onto their float. The most eye catching new offerings this year were on the performance front – the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600, a sharp looking “affordable” sportboat by the well known French builder, the sexy C&C 30 sportboat by the “new” C&C Yachts and the ES 44, a spinoff of the Tim Kernan designed Wasabi, the transom of which many Pacific Northwest racers would recognize, now being built in production in the USA.
Swiftsure Yachts was present representing Allures Yachting and Garcia Yachting, the French builders of aluminum hull centerboard blue water cruising boats. This was the debut of the Garcia Exploration 45, a concept conceived by author and rally organizer Jimmy Cornell. Having spent a good part of the month leading up to the show offshore assisting Jimmy with the delivery of hull #1, his own Aventura, from Newfoundland to Annapolis, I was well equipped to answer questions about this unique new boat. With her unpainted aluminum hull, Open 40 style hard dodger and pilothouse with “fishboat” style forward raked windows, she attracted plenty of attention. Enticing a crowd aboard this boat was not a problem, although we endured a steady stream of questions about whether she was indeed made of metal.
Ed note: Look for a review of the Garcia Exploration 45 in an upcoming issue of Northwest Yachting.
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