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Old 08-20-2015, 12:24 PM   #1
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Newport International Boat Show (RI)?

My wife and I are thinking of going to the Newport Int Boat Show (RI, not Newport, CA), next month, Sept 2015. I've searched this and some other boat forums for general opinions but came up with relatively little. I did find some YouTube videos, but mostly gushy sales and promo stuff. We love Newport (RI) but anybody have an opinion or advice on whether the trip (and struggling with crowds and parking and hotel) is generally worthwhile for this show, for a couple boaters who own and run a powerboat most of the time and seldom go more than 8-10 knots? We do charter sail once in a while, but not often (on balance we think rag boats are too much work and too uncomfortable, those brief moments of the Zen of sailing and being one with the Universe notwithstanding). Should I bring my blue blazer and white pants? Will we be the only people there who don't have a seven figure income? I've already noticed all our favorite B&B's are already booked that weekend so it seems pretty popular. Thanks.

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Old 08-20-2015, 02:51 PM   #2
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The east coast boat show circuit starts in September and works its way south: Newport, RI; Norwalk, Ct; Annapolis, Md; .....Miami, etc.. I have been to the Norwalk, Miami and Annapolis shows but not the Newport one.

If you can only go to one powerboat show on the east coast, go to the Annapolis one. It won't have the high end custom boats that the Miami show has, but it will have more of what most of us are looking for than any other show.

And if you like sailboats, then maybe you can combine the end of one with the beginning of the other in Annapolis. Spend a few days in DC in between while they set up.

But housing will be tough.


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Old 08-22-2015, 11:48 AM   #3
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We go to the Newport RI boat show every year. Not to buy, but to look at boats and equipment (although I bought our current "Puffin" at a Newport Spring show in 2006). The Newport Show is a combination of sail and power boats. Sailboats range from day sailers to 60'-70'+ sailboats, and power boats run the gamut of skifs, center consoles, small and large motor boats, express curisers, up to 60' trawlers. You can talk to equipment vendors, and there are some seminars. Tickets are $15 each. There is also a concurrent "used" boat show at the Newport Shipyard (walk over or take the free shuttle across the harbor). The used boat show used to be "affordable" used boats, but over the last several years, is dominated by mega-yachts up to 150" and priced at 10's of millions of dollars. Still serves as eye-candy. If the weather is decent that weekend, I use the show as an excuse to take the boat up to Newport and spend a couple of days anchored off Ida Lewis Yacht Club. Oh, and it's not a blue blazer, white pants kind of show or town.

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Old 08-22-2015, 12:57 PM   #4
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We always enjoyed the Newport show, but it was convenient to us as we summered over in Westport, Mass. so it was an easy day trip. It's a nice size and setting. newport is a fun destination in and of itself if you've never been. I agree the Annapolis show usually has many more manufacturers and vendors of boat stuff, which was what we primarily go to boat shows for.

If you only go to one show in the fall season, Ft. Lauderdale has absolutely everything for the boater, not just at the show, but the town itself. Again, I say this in terms of boat stuff primarily, FTL is pretty much megayacht and fishing oriented boat-wise. Personally my favorite boat-stuff show of all is Miami in February but some folks prefer FTL.

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Old 08-22-2015, 04:10 PM   #5
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Definitely worth going, especially if you've never been to New Port. The boat show never disappoints and there is much to see, historically and otherwise. I used to go every year, but it's a bit of a hike now. Lots to see and do, quintessential New England, you'll like it!
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:22 PM   #6
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Well, we went to the show -- wow. More money floating on the water in Newport than I'll ever see in my lifetime. It was a lot of fun, a big show, good ratio of sail to power (pretty balanced I thought power/sail, with both the boats on display and the vendors). Talk about some spectacular boats, and all beautiful to see. Newport is always fun, and it took a good couple days to see the entire show in detail. There were some moments of incredible snobbiness. I understand having hundreds (thousands?) of people tromping all over brand new boats can really take a toll, scratch railings, fingerprints all over the chrome and glass, little kids pushing switches and buttons -- but if you don't want browsers on your boat, then why the heck do you take it to a huge boat show? Taking off shoes, of course, that's only polite -- but filing an application to see the boat? Setting an appointment? Getting "permission?" I know, dealers want to harvest buyer contact info and only have potential buyers on board and not waste time with casual browsers, but at times it got really obnoxious. The worst of all, by far, was the Krogen Express rep. It was a beautiful boat, so impressive, but she was so obnoxious and elitist and obviously annoyed with all the smelly, unwashed people coming through that she almost made me laugh. In the few minutes I was on board she got into outright arguments with two people -- once because somebody opened a cabinet door even though there was a placard on the bed that told people not to (it was an occupied boat, loaned to the dealer by the owner for the show, so the owner had clothes in the cabinets). In the other argument, a browser took her shoes off on the dock rather than placing her shoes on the designated mat on the boat's aft deck. Well, the sales rep was using the array of shoes on deck to maintain a count of the people on board. She almost did a bouncer/law-enforcement kind of move to keep the elderly lady off the boat unless her shoes were placed in the proper place. The old lady told her she was ridiculous and to get out of the way, she was not going to move her shoes three feet so Ms. OCD Snob Sales Rep could maintain a foot count from only the properly designated on-board shoe pile. It was hilarious -- and if I ever do win the Powerball, even if they are spectacular boats, I will never, ever buy a Krogen Express as long as I live because of that sales rep. I watched her talk to other people as if they were worms, truly awful.

But even the snob moments were kind of amusing, and overall we had a great time. Came home with enough vendor info to exhaust my entire financial portfolio five times over. Kind of unexpectedly our favorite boat (in our real-world, six-figure, rather than the seven or eight figure, price range) was a 2014 Carver 40. We might wait a few years and then shop around for one of those, we really liked the layout and style -- although our '96 Mainship 37 outweighs that boat by around three or four tons dry, so it makes me wonder about how solidly they're building Carvers lately and how durable they'd be. We even ran into a couple yacht club neighbors from our home marina in South Dakota, small world. It was great fun and we're glad we went. Dinner on the outdoor, upstairs deck at Midtown Oyster Bar, always so good. It was a blast.

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