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Fall Boat Show Update

Catch up on the latest gear, sailboats and industry trends and meet up with like-minded sailors

August 17, 2021
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Boat show
Boat-show planners in Newport and Annapolis have plenty in store for visitors this fall. Josh Davidson

After last year’s ­pandemic-related hiatus, boat shows are making a comeback for fall 2021. Cruising World will be hitting the docks at Rhode Island’s Newport International Boat Show, September 16-19, and the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, October 14-18. Whether you’re heading to a show to check out new boats and gear, learn new skills, or just want to catch up with old friends, from the looks of it, there will be something for everyone.

I checked in with Nancy Piffard, NIBS director, and Tara Flanagan, educational coordinator for the Annapolis Boat Shows, to see what visitors can expect when they arrive at the shows and what’s new.

“Our entire team is ­working fervently to make sure our Golden Anniversary Show is an event not to be missed,” Piffard says. “In addition to being the kickoff to the fall boat-show season and the place for manufacturers from around the world to debut their new models of boats and products, the show is known for excellent educational opportunities, the Newport for New Products awards program, and special events to entertain sailors of all ages. We can’t wait to see everyone in September!”

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Currently both the Newport and Annapolis shows will have no cap on attendance, although visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time through the show websites (newportboatshow.com and annapolisboatshows.com). Unvaccinated guests must wear a mask, and everyone should still practice safe distancing. Some dealers and manufacturers might institute a “by appointment only” policy to board their boats. Visitors should check the show websites for the latest updates and any COVID-related restrictions.

Looking to pick up some new skills and jump into the cruising life? Newport will host a variety of educational experiences including on-water courses by Freedom Boat Club, as well as a full schedule of seminars by circumnavigator Pam Wall. Register for the sessions on the show website.

In Annapolis this year, visitors will find the return of Cruisers University and the Take the Wheel and Offshore Emergency Medicine programs. “Cruisers University is now a seven-day program running from Monday, October 11 through Sunday, October 17,” Flanagan says. “There are four Master Classes being held: Diesel, Marine Electrical Systems, Marine Weather Forecasting and Cruising Women. There are also many all-day seminars throughout the week, and students can also attend one-, two-, or three-day customized packages made up of three or four classes per day. This year, Cruisers University will be held at the Graduate Hotel of Annapolis to accommodate more students and classes. I expect the enrollment to reach 250 ­students over the seven days.”

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RELATED: Medical Training to Prepare for Cruising


If you’re looking for some time on the water, the Take the Wheel program has daylong sessions available on October 15, 16 and 17. Mornings will include classroom instruction by Behan and Jamie Gifford of Sailing Totem, and afternoons will give students the opportunity to sea-trial two catamarans or monohulls.

For cruisers heading to more-remote destinations, the Offshore Emergency Medicine course is worthwhile. The intense three-day course covers everything from pain management and allergic ­reactions to wound care and injections.

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Find the full class listings, ­instructor information and tuition options at the Cruisers University website.

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