The Annapolis Sailboat Show has always been one of my favorites. A sailing haven with a rich history, Annapolis provides the perfect backdrop for partners, clients, and students to come together and celebrate a shared passion. It's where handshakes have turned into lasting friendships, inspiration runs high, and our shared love for sailing takes center stage.
After winding down the Bluesail charter, management, and sailing school programs earlier this year to focus more on brokerage, this was my first opportunity to see the Annapolis Sailboat Show from a different perspective - as an exhibitor with Just Catamarans. Stepping behind the scenes gave me a fresh new perspective, and I left the show inspired for what lies ahead. I hope you enjoy this short write-up highlighting what I appreciated most about this year's show. Before I get into the meat and potatoes though, I want to offer a big shout-out to the Annapolis Boat Show crew for their seamless orchestration of hundreds of boats, suppliers, and service providers in just a matter of days - their dedication to this show left me in awe and is something we can all toast to. 🍹👏
Knysna 500SE Catamaran Display
I was fortunate to work with Just Catamarans throughout the event, showcasing the Knysna 500SE catamaran sailboat, named Gilli Girl. I've experienced my fair share of sailing catamarans in my tenure as a sailor, but Gilli Girl is in a league of her own. If her sleek design, quality finishes and top-notch craftsmanship weren't enough, our post-show sea trial sealed the deal for me. For a firsthand visual, we put together a brief, yet fun Instagram Reel and YouTube Short to highlight our morning sail on Gilli Girl – click below, turn up that volume 🔊 and enjoy the ride!
A big shout-out goes to Pat and Tracy, the proud owners of Gilli Girl. They opened up their stunning catamaran to the public and provided helpful insights for myself and interested parties that toured the boat. And speaking of insights, Grant Boshard from Knysna Yacht Company was a guiding beacon for prospective buyers throughout the show. From making sure Gilli Girl shined to offering details to anyone with questions, Grant was invaluable to have onboard. It’s quite unusual for the boat builder to not only participate in a boat show, but also, take an active role in delivering the boat, meticulously coordinating every detail, and staying on hand to engage with guests and answer their questions. Grant's dedication to the success of the Knysna product line says a lot about the kind of business he operates. Attention to detail and passion for your clients is something any buyer should look for when in the market for a new boat.
One of my personal highlights was meeting Ollie, a young Australian 🇦🇺 sailor with a zest for learning. His in-depth questions about the 500SE – which he toured four times I might add – coupled with Grant's patient and thorough answers, painted a hopeful and inspiring picture for the future of our sport. 🌞
Beyond the Knysna 500SE
While the 500SE stole my heart at the show, there were a number of other brands that made waves in Annapolis. With 61 multihulls and 84 monohulls beckoning from the docks, it was like being a kid in a candy store! Leading the catamaran parade were big players like Bali, Fountaine Pajot, and Lagoon, showing off nearly 20 catamarans in total. On the monohull side, Beneteau, Jeanneau, and Catalina stole the show with a mind-blowing 26 boats collectively, making it a real treat for production boat sailors.
One thing that was clearly different about this year’s show was seeing production brands lean into 24v and 48v power systems, offering an array of solar options, and a clear buzz surrounding electric propulsion. With the pace at which technological advancements are penetrating into the sailing world, it'll be fascinating to see how quickly the larger production brands start scaling up to include some of this advanced technology as standard equipment. It’s worth noting that Knysna Yacht Company has already made this leap, making 24v power a standard feature on their catamarans, with the ability to upgrade to a 48v Integral system. Here's 🍻 to innovation and the promise of cleaner, greener, and sunnier sails ahead! 🌞🔌🌱
Love Me Tender
For those of you who know me, it's no secret that when I'm not out sailing, I'm on the hunt to discover hidden gems nestled behind the local sandbars and anchorages. A great tender is a must for these quick adventures!
Once upon a time, the tender lineup had all the familiar faces: Zodiac, Saturn, Highfield, Caribe, and the cost conscious West Marine inflatables. Over the past few years OC Tenders, from New Zealand, has made a big impact as well.
But times are a-changin with the newest venture by Mantus Marine. These anchor legends are tossing their hat into the tender ring with the new Mantus Dinghy, proudly on display at their booth. Their new rotomolded rigid tender isn't just a budget-friendly pick but packs a punch in features as well. A built-in fuel tank, integrated foam bumpers, and a published 30% more space than similarly sized competing tenders. We all know Mantus for their world class M1/M2 anchors and after-sales support from owners Greg and Phillip, so it'll be interesting to see how this foray into tenders goes with the sailing community. And hey, Mantus? How about coupling that sweet new dinghy with your iconic (and adorable!) M1 dinghy anchor kit? Just one sailor's wishful thinking! 😉
Find Your North Star: Sailing & Life Coaching
The call of the sea has beckoned many to dream of circumnavigation and living aboard. As we all know, the voyage isn’t just about adventure; it demands preparation, not only financially and mentally, but physically as well. That's where Deb Marlor from Sailing and Boating LLC steps in. At the 2023 Annapolis Sailboat Show, she showcased her proven coaching service, which we’ve had the pleasure of supporting over the years. Deb serves as a mentor and coach for aspiring sailors, particularly those on the precipice of significant life changes, ensuring their transition is seamless. She offers guidance in areas such as lifestyle adjustments, training, boat selection, and overall ownership support. If you’re seeking that ocean sailing dream, we encourage you to dive into Deb's program by scheduling a 30-minute introductory session to help chart your course.
The 2023 Annapolis Sailboat Show - talk about a sailor's paradise! 🏝️ Between our refreshing partnership with Just Catamarans and Knysna Yacht Company to witnessing a sea of drool-worthy sailboats, tenders, services and nifty gadgets, the show was a true testament to the continuing evolution of sailing.
As the sun begins to set on 2023 and we sail into 2024, we reflect on another amazingly orchestrated event. The soul of sailing isn't just in the boats we sail, but in the tales we share and the friendships we develop along the way. So, whether you're hoisting the main and heading south for the winter or just dreaming about it like our friend Ollie, here's 🍻 to the shared sunsets, the horizon chases, and to every free spirit who gets why 'wind in the hair' is the best kind of therapy.
What were your favorite highlights from the show? I’d love to hear them - comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!
Until the next adventure ⛵️,