A boat show comes to Bridgeport

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Two new boat shows will be held at the new Bridgeport Harbor Marina this year as part of the decades-old redevelopment of the city waterfront. Steelpointe Harbor will produce the shows at Bridgeport Harbor Marina.

The shows include an “invite-only” event called the Steelpointe Yacht and Charter Show, which will be held May 15-17. The larger Steelpointe International Boat Show is scheduled for Sept. 24-27.

Developer Robert Christoph Jr., owner of Bridgeport Harbor Marina, told Trade Only Today sister magazine Soundings that he has been working for nearly two decades to make Bridgeport the “next great boating destination” in the Northeast. Bridgeport is about 60 miles from Manhattan and about 120 miles from Newport, R.I.

Christoph, chairman of the RCI Group, has owned marinas in Michigan, Indiana, Connecticut and Florida, including the Bahia Mar marina in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’ve been working on this project for approximately 19 years,” he said. “The city of Bridgeport was looking for somebody to develop 55 acres on the waterfront. There were several yacht clubs, an oyster company, a steel plant — they were being relocated. Nothing was wrong, but the city was going through a process of condemnation.”

Beyond the new marina, Christoph’s company, Bridgeport Landing Development, has built a 44,000-square-foot waterfront building that houses the dockmaster, office space and a restaurant. Also nearby are Bass Pro Shops, Starbucks, restaurants and other retailers.

Christoph said about 1,000 boaters have visited Bridgeport Harbor Marina in the last year. “They enjoyed Bridgeport Harbor in a way they haven’t in 100 years,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know it exists, so we’ll be hosting boat shows in May and September. We’ll have a yacht and charter show in May. We think it’s important to have the show in the spring to show people what’s available.”

Invitees to the charter show will view new yachts and learn about local and global charter options, according to organizers. The event will also have exhibitors showing rare automobiles, private aviation, and other luxury goods and services.

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