Luxury Yachts, Historic Ships: Annapolis Sailboat Show Draws Maritime Heavyweights
ANNAPOLIS, MD - The Annapolis Sailboat Show, in town through Sunday, highlights every corner of the sailing world.
There's everything from luxury yachts to beginner sailboats. Attendees will board a brand-new day tripper and a historic tall ship. Fans can also meet YouTubers and nonprofits.
Mary Ewenson, president of the Annapolis Boat Shows, wants to have something for everybody. There's even a scavenger hunt and life jackets for kids.
"We want the boat shows to be a place where the experienced sailors come in to buy their multi-million dollar sailing yacht and where the person who's never been on a sailboat can get out and try it," Ewenson said.
One of the most expensive sailboats this year is the $2.3 million Voyage 590. This 59-foot catamaran is built in Cape Town, South Africa. Crews then sail the finished yacht across the Atlantic Ocean to Voyage's headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, where they are also available for charter from $24,000 per week.
Voyage Co-Founder Jo-Ann Downing said the sailboats, while lavish, are built for performance first.
"These are sailing boats. They're not hotels on the water," Downing said.
The boat sleeps 14 people with six staterooms and two crew rooms. Each room has its own head.
There are indoor-outdoor entertaining areas at the stern, family room, bow and helm. Sailors can barbecue on the deckside grill, grab a drink at the coffee bar and then watch a movie on the optional projector screen.
Has Lehnert, a member at the Fleet Reserve Club, is considering chartering the Voyage 590 for a family vacation.
"Some of our customers from over at the Fleet, they have sailed with this company before. They raved over it," Lehnert said.
Patch's video tour of the Voyage 590 is posted here.
There's also a brand-new day tripper that's premiering at the Annapolis Sailboat Show. The Xquisite 30 Sportcat is making its global debut, seeking $285,000.
The 30-foot catamaran is built for speed with its lightweight carbon mast and beams. The vessel can also be disassembled and packed in a 40-foot shipping container.
There's a single-person bunkroom inside each hull. Both have enough space to add a portable toilet.
Francois Perus, co-founder of the Yacht Design Collective, designed the 30 Sportcat and sent it to Xquisite for production in Poland.
"It's a very simple boat," said Perus, a France native visiting the United States for the first time. "You should be able to sail alone ... It just glides."
You can watch our tour of the Xquisite 30 Sportcat at this link.
Heading from the brand-new to the historic, the Pride of Baltimore II is welcoming visitors aboard. This tall ship set sail in 1988 as a reproduction of an 1812-era cargo ship.
The vessel is 157 feet long if you count the spars on either end. She's 98 feet if you only count the deck.
The Pride has sailed 275,000 nautical miles, visiting 200 ports in 40 countries. She has crossed the Atlantic to Ukraine and sailed the Pacific to China.
A crew of 12 sails the boat. Since it's modeled after a historic Baltimore Clipper, the Pride still relies on manual labor to maneuver the 9,000-square-foot sails.
Mary Walker, the engineer aboard the Pride of Baltimore II, said the sailboat handles well.
"It's also a vessel that was designed to sail on the Chesapeake Bay ... It was designed as a fast cargo carrier rather [than] a bulk cargo carrier," Walker said. "She's made to be maneuverable and fast."
Our video interview with Walker aboard the ship is viewable here.
From the 19th century to the 21st, the show has a booth for YouTube sailing personalities. The stand, called Cruisers Creating Content, features vloggers from around the world.
One of those channels is Sailing Sunday, which has nearly 26,000 subscribers.
The channel stars Australian Ryan Weepers and Canadian Brittni Moffatt, who sail the world with their German shepherd and rehome street animals along the way.
The duo started sailing, bought their boat and launched their channel in 2018. This is their first visit to the Annapolis Sailboat Show, but they've heard about it for years.
"We heard this is one of the biggest boat shows here in America, and we've never actually been to a boat show at all," Weepers said.
Weepers and Moffatt were greeted with a steady flow of fans at the booth.
"It's been amazing," Moffattt said. "We were worried we were going to come here and nobody would show up, so it was pretty exciting to have a bunch of people come and say hi."
Patch's video interview with Sailing Sunday is posted at this link.
Along with international personalities, the show highlights local nonprofits as well. Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating is one of them.
The Annapolis organization, known as CRAB, has an adapted fleet of sailboats for captains with disabilities. There are also races and programs for underprivileged children and recovering warriors.
CRAB just opened its $6 million Adaptive Boating Center this spring. The marina, located on Back Creek, is designed with mobility in mind.
There are floating docks and transfer slides for easy boarding. Once aboard, the fleet has secured boat seating and adapted tillers for captains to steer. There's also a catamaran that can seat five people in wheelchairs.
"We are hoping to raise awareness about accessible design and access to water sports for people with disabilities," CRAB spokesperson Rebecca Gonser said, pointing to their work at the Adaptive Boating Center. "It's a wonderful facility that acts as the access ramp to the Chesapeake Bay."
Check out our video interview with CRAB here.
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