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Volume 16, Issue 41 - October 9 - October 15, 2008
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Letter From the Editor

A Time for Celebration

It’s Christmas in October as the boat show season comes to Annapolis.

Boaters feel the tickle of anticipation just as they did when they were kids and wonders were certain. Uncertainty about just what wonders they might be makes the tickle more delicious.

Among the wares of 600 marine intriguers are gimcracks, contrivances and apparatuses certain to solve problems you never imagined as well as ones that hound you. Those are just the stocking stuffers along the way to the big stuff.

With the arrival of United States Sailboat Show Oct. 9, City Dock becomes a Christmas forest of masts. Two hundred and fifty boats boats, from tiny day sailors to 150-foot cruise ship Arabella, and nearly all of them yours to open. Look, touch, price, dream, desire.

Yes, throwing a pair of boat shows this month, when 500 powerboats pull in even as the sailboats are undocking, is a little like starting your Christmas shopping on November 1, 1929. Some among us may think that these financial times are not ripe for big, luxury expenditures, like boats.

But not all of us. The optimists, the escapists, the financial cleaning crews are thinking bargains and planning on shopping. The current economic distress — certain to reverse itself — offers boating enthusiasts a certifiable buyer’s market, meaning their boat dollars can go a long way.

We’re not buying this year. That’s because we bought our boat two seasons ago. But we’re going to the boat show — both of them.

Just as parents get in the Christmas spirit, the boat shows are a holiday worth celebrating — even when you’re not planning on buying a boat.

Fun, awe and astonishment are only part of the value you get for your $16. You also get a boating education. And not only from the seminars scheduled at the Annapolis Marriott (schedule at

I’m a happy graduate boat buyer, thanks to six seasons of boat shows — more counting the years of awe, when nearly every boat offered beguiling discoveries. Eventually, I narrowed my tastes down to a class and could compare and contrast the offerings — and prices — of a half dozen manufacturers. In the fifth year, I found my make and model. That’s the year I used the boat show to meet brokers and surveyors.

The sixth season, I went to the boat shows to prove my choice wrong. It didn’t work.

Still, I wouldn’t miss this year’s boat shows. You never know what you’re going to find under the Christmas tree.

In Bay Weekly, you’ll find a gathering of stories celebrating boats and the water to keep you in a holiday mood in times when we all need good news.

Dotty Doherty and Steve Carr highlight boats you can see at this week’s boat show, Carr writing about the speediest sailboat on the Bay and Doherty open-water rowing boats. You’ll also read about skipjacks and two books inspired by these unique Bay working sailboats.

Margaret Tearman tells you how the Patuxent River needs your love at its annual Appreciation Days this weekend.

In our last Story on the Move, Erica Stratton suggests kayaks may be the way to solve Annapolis’ traffic congestion.

Here in Chesapeake Country, October brings Christmas.

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.