Join Date: Sep 2011
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Re: What I learned at the Annapolis Boat Show
For the traditional monohull sailor, the show left a lot to be desired. For those who want lots of space in their new boat, this was probably a great show.
When I saw the Shannon beast, I was excited at first because I thought they would have one of their real sailboats there. That they only chose to bring a cabin cruiser upon which they mounted sails disappointed me. Hinkley had only a small booth. But maybe that spoke to the trends.
When I walked aboard the Beneteau Sense, the first thing that came to mind was a bachelor pad/party boat. Then I thought about standing on that spacious aft deck and getting hit by a gust. I imagined being thrown overboard.
Later, while inside a Beneteau Oceanis, I heard a customer tell the salesman there are no handholds above. The salesman said that would reduce headroom. The customer frowned then the salesman said, "You can add as many handholds as you want." Problem solved.
The comments here about storage space being reduced to provide larger cabin space are right on. But considering how many positive comments I heard at the boat show about all the open space, well, maybe that's what the manufacturers are reacting to.
But in this economy, and its vanishing middle class, the number of people who can actually afford a new boat is a fraction of what it was 10-15 years ago. If the boatbuilders are going to survive, they have to make their boats cheaper or appeal to a different market. It may be one of those trends that forever changes the world of sailing. I hope not.