U.S. Sailboat Show attendance up almost 15 percent

Saturday’s attendance was just 200 people shy of the record, set in 2010.

Saturday’s attendance was just 200 people shy of the record, set in 2010.

Organizers of the the 50th edition of the United States Sailboat Show say strong attendance indicates that sailing is thriving despite a challenging climate. The show ran Oct. 10-14 in Annapolis, Md.

Exhibitor space broke the record set in 2017 by more than 8 percent, organizers said, and overall attendance was up 14.7 percent over the previous overall record, set in 2015.

“We could not be more thrilled with the support we received from the industry, our exhibitors and the massive number of consumers who visited from around the world,” said Annapolis Boat Shows president Paul Jacobs in a statement. “Not only did they come out in large numbers, but they were excited to see this impressive display and went on spending sprees to support all who displayed.”

A nor’easter on Saturday, Oct. 12, tested the city’s infrastructure as a tidal flood overwhelmed City Dock, with waters 4.15 feet above normal for more than 24 hours. Gates were closed and booths were flooded. Contractors, crews and show management built walkways, created a makeshift gate and assisted exhibitors.

However, the crowds weren’t deterred, organizers said. Saturday’s attendance was just 200 people shy of the record set in 2010. Exhibitors reported qualified buyers at the show.

Crowds before the storm.

Crowds before the storm.

The show included several award presentations.

Robert Lipkin, aka “Bob Bitchin,” of Latitudes and Attitudes, was presented the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service award by Gary Jobson, last year’s recipient.

Other recipients included:

  • Excess Catamarans, Best in Show
  • Beneteau America Best Display (five or more boats)
  • Bali Catamarans/Dream Yacht Charter, Best Display (less than five boats)
  • Sailrite, Best Booth (more than 200 square feet)
  • Vesper Marine, Best Booth (less than 200 square feet)