Actually, there was a time when there were more sailboats than powerboats, but that was when the show was held at the 5th Regiment Armory, and I was at that first show. At the armory, they didn't have to remove the masts on the largest boats, but they did at Baltimore's Convention Center. Many of the larger sailboats and powerboats had to be transported at night to the show, some had escort vehicles, and had to take special routes because of overhead wires that the cabin tops would not clear. Many of the larger powerboats had to remove their flying bridges in order to get them in the doors of the Convention Center and once inside, the boats were reassembled. I remember setting up for one show in Baltimore's Convention Center when a large cruiser powerboat had to be moved and the exhibitor had just put the fly bridge back on the boat. The bridge hit one of the sprinkler system valves and 25,000 gallons of muddy, nasty water blasted the place, destroying the carpeting and flooding the main floor. The show had to be postponed three days to get things back in order. That boat was damned near destroyed because the main flow from the sprinkler pipe went right into the cockpit and they were unable to move the boat because it was jammed against the ceiling.
As the song goes "Those were the days, my friend."
Now, you must really be old to have attended the first Baltimore Boat show. When I was a kid, about 1950, my dad took me to the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show at the armory. That show was sold about a decade later to a banking company, who later sold it to the NMMA, at which time it moved to Baltimore's Convention Center. The only reason I know all this stuff is because I used to man a booth in the shows for various fishing publications I worked for at the time. I worked the last armory show, and 15 subsequent Baltimore Boat shows, which it became when NMMA purchased it.
Yea, and Travelineasy rode his mammoth to the first show....... Of course it was a mostly sailboat show back then the engine had not yet been invented..... (at least that is what my kids say about me)
Shame so many of the shows are turning to power boat only shows. I was thinking about going to the NY boat show, but as far as I can tell they don't have any sailboats at all. Seems only new boats being sold anymore are power boats, after all Saber stopped making sailboats and is doing great with power boats. Though last couple of seasons only the sailboats around here went out with the price of fuel! And if you look out in the sound and the harbor most of the pleasure boats are sail, I don't really understand it.
Last time I went to the Baltimore show it seemed like there were more vendors selling gutter helmets, vinyl windows, and steak knives than boats or boating gear.
As for the growth in power boat sales, I can understand it. This may be blasphemous to say around here, but if I didn't absolutely love sailing and didn't ever plan on taking my boat outside the Chesapeake, a mid-sized power cabin cruiser would be ideal as it would put a lot more anchorages and cruising destinations within reasonable weekend overnighting range. That said, not unlike sailboats, I notice most power boats never go anywhere and, in the floating condo mode, power boats also tend to excel.
Keep in mind that when the Baltimore Boat show was the must attend event for boaters in Maryland and Virginia, Chesapeake Bay was relatively clean, there were tackle shops everywhere you looked, Bayliner took up nearly 20 percent of the show, boat dealers were prevalent throughout the state, and the cost of exhibiting at the show was fairly reasonable. None of this is the case today. I remember when an 8 X 10 booth at the show went for $300 for the duration of the show, 7 days. The cost of that booth today is staggering.
When I was writing for a number of publications I had to man a booth at many, many shows each year. The publishers paid me well to do this, but by the time the show season ended, I was sure tired of shaking hands, selling subscriptions, and handing out magazines.
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