BOAT SHOW ROUND-UP
United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis Reveals Positive Upswing in Sales, Buyer Attitudes
Exhibitors and the United States Yacht Show producer alike were buzzing and decidedly all aglow on the heels of the recent United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis in early October, due to a pleasing mix of positive buyer attitudes and resulting bona fide sales.
“All the feedback I heard was very positive – there were dozens of boats sold and consumers were talking about buying boats ... now, not in the future … it was our busiest show in years,” said Paul Jacobs, show manager.
The show, which was up well over 10 percent this year in terms of overall attendance, featured the official debut of 24 new boats this year, with double digit sales reported from many exhibitors.
“The industry really pulled together a great show,” said Jacobs. “Their support of this event at this time seems to feel like the beginning of the new boating industry economy ... at least that is the attitude. I heard words like the new 'R' word (recovery) or turnaround. I'm no economist, but there was no recession in Annapolis the last two weeks.”
Exhibitors polled after the show agreed.
“The Annapolis Show gave me renewed faith that the economy may actually come back for the sailing industry. All the boat manufacturers were happy, the OEM's were happy, and that means that my advertisers were happy. We like happy,” said Bob Bitchin, publisher of Latitudes & Attitudes.
Added Scott Alexander, OEM Sales Manager of Selden Mast, “Consumer confidence was way up. We had boat owners using their credit cards to make purchases. It’s the best show we have had in the new economy. People are spending again – Hallelujah!”
Hunter’s Market Development Manager Greg Emerson agreed.
“The Annapolis Boat Show this year brought some much needed encouragement as to where the market stands today,” he said. “Crowds were up and attitudes were good. There was no more gloom and doom about the economy overheard as we have experienced the past couple of years ... in fact, it was everything but that! It was a great show for us both in retail sales as well as dealer stock orders.
“While sales were across the board model size-wise, it is interesting to note that half of the boats we sold were over 40 feet with most of them being 50 feet,” he added. “While the recovery will be a slow one, we are very optimistic that we and the sailboat industry are now climbing back up the hill vs. tumbling down it.”
Another leading manufacturer shared Emerson’s assessment.
“Catalina was very pleased by the outcome of the Annapolis Sailboat Show,” said Catalina Vice President Sharon Day. “It started right after the first cannon shot announcing the opening on Thursday until the very last cannot shot closing the show on Monday evening. The attendance was good, and the customers were finally ready to sign on the bottom line!”
Julian Crisp, managing director of U.S. Spars, shared this same sense of healthy optimism.
“We had a really good show, I got a great feeling of optimism which was so different when compared to the last couple of years,” he said. “We managed to sell several masts for large custom projects at the show, to customers that we had never heard from before … which is amazing for any show!
“In addition, we changed our show location and upsized our booth, as I firmly believe now is the time to invest and prepare for better times ahead. Changing location and booth size really helped a lot.
Added Sail America Executive Director Jonathan Banks, “I’m very encouraged by the positive feedback and reports of strong sales at the United States Sailboat Show. What a difference a year makes! It’s too early to tell if this is the much-needed and anticipated turnaround, but it sure feels like it. Fingers crossed that the momentum of the Newport and Annapolis shows will continue through the winter and spring shows!”
The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is underway December 2 – 5 and features an enhanced waterfront and land area, along with a new 40,000 square foot clearspan tent to house marine gear. Another new addition includes three air conditioned seminar rooms situated in the Mahaffey Theatre that overlook the water.
"This year's St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is on track to be more exciting, beautiful and convenient than ever before," said Show Producer Dane Graziano, chief operating officer of Show Management. "The number and variety of boats and marine products, in addition to the great seminars, activities and comfortable venues, promises attendees an experience at this show like never before."
Vendors interested in exhibiting at the show can call (800) 940-7642, or visit ShowManagement.com, for more information.
To make travel arrangements, please contact the show's official travel partner, Identity Travel, at (866) 877-3083, or visit IdentityTravel.com.
2010 St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show Schedule and Ticket Information:
Thursday, Dec. 2
Friday, Dec. 3
Saturday, Dec. 4
Sunday, Dec. 5
12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
General Admission (Adults)
Children (Under age 15)
$10.00 online, $12.00 at show site
The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is managed and produced by Show Management and endorsed by Sail America. For more information, call (954) 764-7642 or (800) 940-7642, or visit ShowManagement.com.
According to NMMA National Show Manager Kevin Murphy, space sales continue to exceed expectations for both the Strictly Sail Chicago and Miami shows. Joanne “JAM” Miller is handling booth space change requests for Chicago, while Murphy has begun allocations of NMMA member companies in Miami, which will be followed by non-member companies shortly thereafter. Space allocations for Miami are taking a little longer than expected because the entire show has to be re-allocated.
Online exhibitor kits are available for both shows, while decorator and utility forms will be available by mid November. In addition, discounted hotel blocks are posted online, with early-bird savings.