A Grand Day Out at the Annapolis Boat Show

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 14 Oct 2009 19:44
Our very good friend at Herrington kindly invited us to accompany her to the Annapolis show where she was working on one of the stands. Our excitement at going was enhanced considerably by the journey there in a convertible Mini Cooper S. Being a warm day (sandwiched between some very cold days!) the top was duly stowed as we set off for the 20 mile drive. With leg room requirements taken into consideration Phil was comfortably accommodated in the front whilst Nikki was shoehorned aft. Parking had been arranged at a local funeral parlour which sold off parking spaces for the duration of the show - we just couldn't quite see an English Chapel of Rest extending the same service given the opportunity, but at $20 per space per day it must have been a very nice additional income, although God knows where any actual visitors to the parlour parked for the 10 days that the show was running. We arrived with our hair totally dishevelled with Phil's looking decidedly like a floor mop!
Arriving at the funeral parlour - Now you see her........                                                                                                    now you don't
Our first port of call was a company selling inflatable dinghies. Ours is on it's last legs and we need to replace it fast before heading off to the Bahamas for winter. Unfortunately the second-hand boat we had been tracking on the internet had already sold and the next possibility to fit our needs wasn't due in until Monday, so we were out of luck on the day - we would have to return to Annapolis after the show had finished.
The show itself was quite different to the recent Southampton Show we had visited. Not so many shore side displays as Annapolis doesn't have the space that Southampton does as a city, however all of the boats at Annapolis are in the water, accessible via the floating pontoons positioned just for the show. Unlike Southampton, the power boats have a separate show that follows the sailboat event. Both last 5 days with a hectic change round in the middle when all the sailboats have to leave before the power boats arrive. It's described by the locals as being somewhat chaotic.
With a short break for lunch, purchased from a stall just outside the showground manned by members of a local Methodist church - 2 portions of chips and (when it eventually arrived) a $1 hot dog, dispensed by lovely people with some wonderful sounding names. You had the feeling that if they were to set up shop outside a major football stadium they would quickly capitulate under the stress and pressure and organise a prayer meeting to ask for divine help to serve the seething masses.
Our day at the show was enjoyable and despite the very narrow docks neither of us fell or were pushed into the water by the crowds. We viewed some great boats and some poor boats - all costing considerable amounts of money. It was surprising to be able to view a Prout catamaran - a 45 which is made in the Far East. The Prout name having been retained by the purchaser of Prout UK.  The design, however, was unrecognisable in relation to previous models bearing the name.  Nikki rather fancied the stainless steel Prout logo adorning the coach roof!
Background - The once familiar Prout Catamarans Logo...                                               ...... the Prout 45 at the show. Not much similarity to our own boat          
We even saw a production Wharram catamaran which looked rather out of place amongst all the glitz and glamour of the expensive multihulls surrounding it................
Wharram cat                                                                                                                Skip's Missus looking glam.
But the boat we were most knocked over by at Annapolis was the Shannon 56. A combination of pilothouse sailing boat and motorboat with massive wide beam at the stern with sitting patio area. Beautifully built with a price tag of $1.8M - still you can dream for a lot less than that can't you?
General view over the show                                                                                            The familiar Hunters were there in force
Cabo Rico 56 - dripping in teak below as you would expect                                                'Ride and Park' scheme for visitors moored just off the show site
Our day over it was back to Ajaya (with the top down again), leaving just one more day before we had to exit Herrington.