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Annapolis spring shows see positive results

Attendance at the Bay Bridge Boat Show grew to near prerecession levels.

Attendance at the Bay Bridge Boat Show grew to near prerecession levels.

The Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, which ran April 20-22, and the Bay Bridge Boat Show, held April 27-29, both saw increased attendance this year.

"Not only are the audience sizes changing, but so is the demographic, as evidenced by the number of younger people, families and diversity at the shows," Annapolis Boat Shows president Paul Jacobs said in a statement.

Attendance at the Spring Sailboat Show grew by 4.5 percent, setting a record. A 17.7 percent jump in attendance at the Bay Bridge Boat Show reflected a return to near prerecession levels.

"Many factors contribute to this growth, including the national economy, a strong regional marine economy, growth of dealer support and overall an extra effort by all involved,” Jacobs said. “This year we saw much greater participation by local dealers, and it's clear to me that all of us are committing additional resources designed to grow our industry. It certainly bodes well for the future.”

Held in Stevensville, Md., at the Bay Bridge Marina, the Bay Bridge show had more than 400 powerboats on display. Exhibitors reported the sale of many boats, as well as qualified leads to follow up on.

The Spring Sailboat Show saw an increase in in-water new and brokerage boats from 18 to 70 feet, and more smaller trailerable and car-top boats were on display this year.

Attendance at the show broke records, and all First Sail Workshops and Cruisers University classes were full.

Attendance at the show broke records, and all First Sail Workshops and Cruisers University classes were full.

"The show gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce Hanse, and the 548 received a real great response," said broker Ken Comerford, president and owner of North Point Yacht Sales. “It is exciting to put a new product in front of the market at a spring show and not just a fall show. The show has been a great help for us, and we had a great response from many clients.”

Two tuition-based programs sold out prior to opening the show. Nearly 200 first-time and novice sailors participated in First Sail Workshops, which feature Beneteau First 22s, as well as classroom and on-board teaching by SailTime and the American Sailing Association.

Cruisers University saw the largest number of new and aspiring cruisers in its eight-year run, organizers said, with 200 people attending 50 classes.

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