United States Sailboat Show Annapolis

On Wednesday, October 3rd, we headed out to Annapolis, excited to be back near sailboats again. Jason hadn’t even been out of work for a week, so we didn’t get huge amounts done before dashing off to the show, but it was a welcome diversion that would hopefully answer some questions about what boat we would eventually want to call home. We were thankful that we had a full day to drive up and have a relaxing day before the boat show opened. We had a nice sushi lunch at Umi in Fredericksburg, then drove the remaining leg of the trip to the hotel. We were delighted to find that the hotel offered a shuttle to the boat show, saving us the time, money and hassle of taking our own car and parking in the lot (then getting shuttled to the show anyway). Once checked in and unpacked, we headed to the Boatyard Bar & Grill for a nice dinner. 

Thursday was VIP day so we were eager to get there early and get on all the boats we wanted to see. We took the first shuttle intended for exhibitors and staff and hung around waiting for the 10:00 gate opening. While waiting we saw Aubrey and Stefan of Sailing Miss Lone Star. A few minutes later, we were walking around passing time when we spotted them at the ATM tent. Jason went over and asked them to take a picture with the twins. They were very friendly and most gracious. We were looking forward to their seminar the next morning.

The day was hot and getting hotter as we finally got to enter the show. We decided to go directly to the Lagoons and get on them all. We went from smallest to the largest (though the 50 was out due to price range). Then Jason made an unexpected comment that the 42 felt too small! I wasn’t really sure I agreed right off the bat, but stepping into the 450s, I felt like he was on to something. That extra little bit of room makes a big difference for storage. I think what further surprised us was that though we were leaning toward the Sport, we ended up preferring the Flybridge. The visibility was much better and that’s a pretty important factor when owning a decently expensive vessel. So instead of getting to confirm that we were ready to commit to a Lagoon 420, we left convinced that we needed the next size up. Since our budget is for a boat about a decade old, we would be looking at a Lagoon 440. We’ve since started going back to Cat Impi videos to see an inside look at living on that boat. It looks good!

After only an hour in the show, we had to leave to go back to the hotel. It was blazing hot and we were all drenched with sweat and needed a change of clothes. Once back at the show we went to Dock Street Grill and had lunch. It was the best crab cake I EVER had! Really! We then tried to wander around the exhibitors but it was brutal. We passed by Wiley Sharp but did not speak with him as he was trying to sell his XCS catamarans. We did some downtown shopping at Sea Bags (window shopping only) and Spice and Tea Exchange grateful for the air conditioning however brief. Then back to the hotel we went. We were pooped so we had pizza and called it a night. 

The next morning we were up and at it again. We got our wristbands to watch the $1 boat seminar by Aubrey and Stefan. I found it inspiring to hear how they both ended up sailing and found them very likable, more than I did from just watching the videos. Kudos to them and I look forward to their future adventures. Since this day was quite cooler than the day before, we took our time wandering through the docks and tents. Much to our surprise, we found our sailing school buddy Kevin at the show. It was great to see him in person. Then back to the Lagoon dock to try the boats on for size again. Just to be sure. Yep, we did not change our opinion from the previous day. I contemplated the purchase of a Sailrite then talked myself out of it at this early stage in the game. We decided it was lunch time and headed to Pusser’s. While we were dining, we saw Herby and Maddie from Rigging Doctor. We got to say hello and exchange some small pleasantries. They were also very nice. After we realized we had seen most of what the show had to offer us at this stage of the game, we were pretty much done. Well, except I reversed my opinion on the Sailrite and jetted to the tent. We literally ordered and ran back to the bus stop so we didn’t have to miss the shuttle and wait for the next one, an hour an a half later. Mission was successful!

All in all, this boat show was about open minds and being okay with changing your opinions. Life decisions of such magnitude are rarely made on a whim and we feel like we got what we needed out of the boat show experience. We’ll see how it stacks up when we’re looking back from a few months from now. 

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