There are boat shows and then there is the Annapolis Sailboat Show. For the uninitiated, the prior sentence is like saying “there is a little league baseball diamond and then there is Fenway Park.” Although we already have a boat, our passage crew had never stepped foot on an Xquisite X5, and we still had some big-ticket items to buy for the passage.
The Annapolis Sailboat Show is –according to the Annapolis Sailboat Show– the largest and most prestigious in the world. Having personally attended boat shows in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Annapolis, and La Grande Motte (France), I believe they are correct. The sheer number of sailboats is overwhelming. But, with some experience at boat shows you get the hang of navigating the lines, the tents, and the salespeople.
Stuff We Saw
A fun part of the Annapolis Boat Show is just touring boats, and checking out the tents full of engines, hats, chairs, dinghies, watermakers, floating docks, life rafts, frozen drink makers, etc. Most of the crew of Wild Rumpus finally got to actually visit an X5, which was cool.
Just seeing the quality of the build, the comfort of the living quarters and the well-thought-out helm put some nervousness about crossing an ocean to rest — or at least lessened it a bit.
Most of us also toured a fair number of other boats, both monohulls, and catamarans. The Amel 50 was gorgeous and would be my go-to monohull. The charter catamarans are all great at the dock and offer a ton of space, heads, and places to lounge. There was even one catamaran that I genuinely don’t understand. I’m not going to name it, but after walking around and trying to figure out how I would sail it or –worse yet– dock it, I just scratched my head and moved on. The whole thing just baffled me. Not all innovation is a step forward.
Oh, and lest I forget, we drank some painkillers!
Overall, the Annapolis Boat Show was awesome and I highly recommend it. Who knows, perhaps next year Wild Rumpus will be the display for Xquisite Yachts!!! (In which case we will serve pain killers continuously.)
What We Bought
Buying things at any boat show –and perhaps especially the Annapolis Boat Show– is a bit like haggling at a street market in a foreign country. If you don’t know enough to be able to compare quality and price, you’ll leave feeling pretty great about the screwing you just got. So, preparation is key!
I had a relatively short list of high-dollar items we needed for Wild Rumpus. I researched the best prices I could get (including and excluding tax and shipping) for every item about two weeks before the show. I then limited my boat show shopping to those items (well, except for the nifty red Musto jacket I wanted). Overall, I saved some real money and got pretty good deals on a spare watermaker, OLAS man overboard tags and base station, a handheld watermaker for the ditch bag, and EarTec Ultralite Headsets (for talking to the person up the mast, or at the bow).
I’m in the process of doing a deep dive into the medical kits we will have on Wild Rumpus.