(Published Winter 2016)
America’s largest all sailboat show finished up in Annapolis, Maryland over the Columbus Day weekend. The show saw four pleasant days of warmth and sun and one day—Saturday—of steady rain. But rain or shine, the show was packed with exhibitors and avid sailors looking for boats, gear and sailing services.
The Annapolis show has become the largest multihull show in America with cats and tris on display from the four corners of the world. Here’s a run down of what we saw at the show.
The new Balance 526 was on the outer docks and really stood out with her sapphire blue hull. The boat is represented by The Multihull Company and is one of the boats in the new Balance line of performance cruising cats. She is built in South Africa and is a fine example of the newest thinking in elegant performance cruising cats.
Outremer was there with their stunning Outremer 51 cat that merges great performance with simple, elegant style. Outremer’s parent company Grand Large Yachting recently bought Gunboat out of bankruptcy and had a Gunboat 55 on display. So, that famous brand is having a rebirth.
Gemini Cats had an intriguing display with a sort of secret garden aspect to it. The brand, which is owned by The Catamaran Company, had four boats on display and a steady crowd. The Cat Co was awarded the “Best Display” by the show’s booth judges.
Fountaine Pajot had a huge display for their large family of cruising cats. The French builder is one of the leaders in number of boats built and worldwide distribution. Their new 40-footer was one of the show’s hottest cats.
Lagoon had four big cats on display and a handsome display organized by Lagoon’s Lana Lohe, who is departing the marine scene to go cruising. The big Lagoons were swarming with show goers, even on rainy Saturday.
Leopard Cats, built in South Africa by Robertson and Caine, were showing their new Leopard 45 and sharing a large booth space with Sunsail and The Moorings. Tui Marine, which owns the charter companies, also owns the worldwide distribution rights to Leopard cats and uses only Leopard cats in their charter fleets.
Also from South Africa Royal Cape Catamarans, St. Francis Cats, Xquisite Cats and Maverick Cats had boats on display. St. Francis’ 50 footer is one of the oldest designs on display but it has been continuously upgraded and improved over the years so the boat in the show looked as modern as ever. The Royal Cape cat is perhaps the most luxurious cruising cat on the market with vast accommodations and elegant finish work. The Xquisite 50 was making its Annapolis debut and its futuristic styling and yacht quality finish work attracted two new buyers right at the show. The Maverick 44 is a wholesome family cruising cat that fits neatly into the mid-range both in size and pricewise.
Bavaria-Nautitech had two cats on display at their stand, the Open 40 and the new Open 46 Fly. The 40 was introduced last winter in Miami and has proven to be a huge success. The new 46 Fly is a variation of the Open 46 that was introduced in France last spring. The Fly has a raised helm station above the cockpit with its own small Bimini top instead of the two helms at the aft end of each hull in the Open 40 and 46.
From Vietnam, Seawind Cats had their brand new 1190 Performance and their 1160 cruising cats on display. The boats offer indoor-outdoor living aboard boats that are known for their sailing qualities and excellent finish work. (See the MQ review of the 1190 on page 36.)
Trimarans were well supported. Dragonfly from Denmark had their new 28 and a 32 on display. These folding trimarans are able to fold their amas back against their hulls so the boats, which have beams of over 15 feet, will fit into a standard marina slip. The 28 is street legal for trailering when folded. Both boats sail extremely well and in breezes up 15 knots will sail as fast as the wind.
Corsair Marine, which is the sister company to Seawind and also based in Vietnam, had their new Pulse 600 tri in the water. This swift little daysailer folds up neatly like the other Corsair tris so it can be hauled overland on a trailer.
NEEL from France had their NEEL 45 on display. The design has a wide bridgedeck over the hulls on which the main saloon, galley and sleeping cabins are fitted. It is the only mid-size tri that has as much space as a catamaran, plus it has a “basement” in the bottom of the main hull. The 45 is also a very swift boat under sail.
Last but not least, the brand new Discovery 21 made its debut. This Chris White design is being built by Aquidneck Custom Yachts out of all carbon laminates. A speedy daysailer, the 21 is available either as a completed boat or as a kit that owners finish themselves. Chris While likes the design and the quality of the ACY work so much that he bought a kit for himself.