Earlier this week, this notice appeared at the top of the Newport International Boat Show’s website.
2020 Newport International Boat Show Cancellation It is with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Newport International Boat Show due to Covid-19. We feel that it is the right thing to do for the safety of our exhibitors, sponsors, staff, and attendees. We will truly miss seeing you in September, but at the same time, we are excited to set our sails for 2021 and hope we can count on you to join us. Mark your Calendar! September 16 – 19, 2021.
Also this week, the AP and other press organizations ran stories about how only two states in the U.S. were actually winning the coronavirus war, Connecticut and Rhode Island, both of which have been successful in getting citizens and businesses to comply with policies dictating the wearing of masks and social distancing. But even so, the health risks associated with running, manning and attending a huge event like the Newport Boat Show were deemed by all to be too great. This will be the first Newport Show I have not attended in four decades and part of the regret will be missing a chance to catch up with many old friends who share a love of boats, sailing, cruising and the boating life style. At this point, the Annapolis sail and power shows are still scheduled to open under heavy restrictions in October. I hope so. A third announcement this week was equally disturbing. The European Union, where the pandemic is more or less under control, published their list of the countries whose citizens were going to be allowed to visit Europe in July. The U.S was not on the list. As a country, Covid-19 infection rates are still increasing at 40,000 a day or more and the curve is still going up. That means I and many others in the marine trades will not be able to attend the huge and amazing boat show in Cannes, France, where we do a lot of business and see a lot of friends. Not the end of the world, but too bad. We hear from our yacht dealer and broker friends that sail and powerboats are selling just fine during the crisis since people are not traveling and want to vacation as families in a socially distant way. And what could be better for that than cruising on your own boat? So, it looks like large celebrations of sailing and boating at shows and all the commerce that goes with them may have to wait until we get a better handle on Covid-19. And, given the direction we’re heading, one wonders when that will be?