ESSEX, Conn. — A boat show dedicated to cruising under power or sail got off to a good start in its debut this week, with exhibitors saying it has strong long-term potential.
“This is a great location. Essex is a great place to visit,” Tucker West, vice president of sales at Kadey Krogen Yachts, told Trade Only Today on Thursday. “We have modest expectations with this being the first year, but if they give it time to grow, I think they’ll have something.”
The publishers of PassageMaker and Sail magazines launched the International Cruising Boat Expo, a new event for New England that opened Tuesday and continues through Sunday at Brewer Essex Island Marina.
The expo is in the tradition of TrawlerFest, PassageMaker’s combination of more than 30 educational seminars, a cruising boat show and a social gathering.
PassageMaker, Sail and Soundings Trade Only are owned by Active Interest Media. The AIM Marine Group decided on the new name to broaden the event’s appeal beyond traditional power trawler yachts.
Essex Island Marina was founded in 1955 on a 13.2-acre island on the lower Connecticut River about 5 miles north of Long Island Sound. For decades, the distinctive family-owned marina was a popular destination for cruisers, featuring an in-ground pool, an open yard for activities and a shuttle ferry for the 100-foot ride to the mainland.
The Brewer Yacht Yard Group bought the property at a public auction last August with a winning bid of $3.15 million for the 125-slip marina.
General manager Doug Domenie said his crew has been busy replacing docks, upgrading electrical power, and painting and refurbishing the property — the beginning of a multiyear plan to return it to a first-class marine resort.
“The property has been well received by the brokers and dealers exhibiting at the show,” Domenie said, noting that the deadline that came with hosting the event quickened the pace of restoration work.
Exhibitors include Beneteau, Fleming and Nordhavn, as well as multiple accessory manufacturers and marine-oriented businesses.
Further information is available at TrawlerFest.com.