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Newport show opens Thursday

Organizers of the Newport (R.I.) International Boat Show, which opens Thursday and continues through Sunday, said it has a record number of exhibitors this year and there will be more activities and attractions than at any previous show.

Viewed as the kickoff to the fall boat show season, the Newport show will feature a sizable number of sailboats and powerboats making U.S. and world debuts.

The Newport Exhibition Group, owners and producers of the show, said new powerboat debuts include the Boston Whaler 380 Outrage; Grand Banks 60; Legacy 36; MJM 35z; Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht; Pursuit S-368; Sabre 45 Salon Express; Sealegs Interceptor 9000; Zeelander Z55; Zodiac Cadet 270 RIB ALU; and Zodiac Open 7.

Sailboats on display for the first time in the United States include the Elan GT5; Hanse 588; Hartley 15; HH55 Catamaran; J/121; and the Lifestyle 26.

All boats making their U.S. or world premiere will be marked with Newport For New Products decals and balloons and located throughout the show.

Visitors on Thursday will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite new sailboat or powerboat in the NFNP People’s Choice Award program. One voter will be picked randomly to receive a $250 American Express Gift card.

“We are proud to kick off the boat show season and host the debut of the latest innovations from top companies in the industry with the Newport For New Products program,” said Nancy Piffard, show director of Newport Exhibition Group, in a statement.

 “The products and boats showcased comprise the very finest examples of boatbuilding and product development. These high-quality introductions are ideal for our attendees that are discerning buyers with impeccable taste.”

On Saturday the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association will honor the Newport Exhibition Group as the 2017 recipient of the RIMTA Anchor Award.

The presentation will be made at RIMTA’s Annual Industry Partnership Breakfast, sponsored by the Gowrie Group.

The Anchor Award is an annual accolade presented to an individual or organization that draws international attention and promotion to Rhode Island’s marine trades.

Past recipients include U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Ken Read, Sail Newport; and Newport Shipyard.

“We are thrilled to recognize Newport Exhibition Group for the work they do in shining a global spotlight on Rhode Island and its hometown industry,” RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie said in a separate statement. “Every year, exhibitors and consumers from around the world make their mecca to the Newport show and see firsthand our beautiful waters, our facilities and all that the Ocean State and our industry offers to boaters.”

For more than three decades, the Newport Exhibition Group has owned and produced the Newport show and grown the event into one of the five largest in-water boat shows in the country. It draws an international crowd of show-goers, and 20 percent of the event’s exhibitors are from outside the United States.

Speakers at the breakfast will include Piffard; Whitehouse; RIMTA president Brandon Kidd; Marine Retailers Association of the Americas president Matt Gruhn; and Sailing World and Cruising World publisher Sally Helme.

The breakfast also will include a panel discussion on “People, Process, and Partnership” moderated by Polaris MEP director Christian Cowan. Representatives from marine-trades companies in Rhode Island will discuss the statewide programs they have tapped to meet their most pressing business challenges.

The panelists are Veronica Brown of Newport Shipyard; Larry Colantuono of Brewer Wickford Cove Marina; and Peggy Clay of Goetz Composites.

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