Whether you’re looking for racers, cruisers, monhulls, or multihulls, there’s much to check out between the raindrops.


Rain on opening day of the Annapolis Sailboat Show didn't keep sailors from showing up and buying boats.

1. First stop – check out the Blue Jacket 40 designed by Tim Jackett, formerly the chief architect behind Tartan’s recognizable designs. The BJ40 is billed as a performance cruiser, which may sound like an oxymoron, but it definitely has cruiser comforts and looks fast too. Note the signature Jackett pocket boom and working jib/reacher combo on the rig, as well as new hinged transom doors that lead out to a small swim step.

2. The Beneteau Oceanis 38 is the quintessential modular boat, with three layouts that differ significantly below. You can choose from daysailer, weekender and cruiser versions that vary in not only in the number of cabins below but also in the various galley configurations and even the bulkhead placement. This looks like a ton of fun, even for the singlehander. Beneteau sold six on the first day of the show alone.

3. For pure daysailing fun, I’m looking to chatting with Gerry Douglas of Catalina Yachts. Their new Sport 275 looks like a kick to sail and has an innovative interior too. There is a pullout drawer that holds an Igloo cooler, a fully enclosed head, and great cup holders in the cockpit that pivot into “race or cruise mode,” according to Douglas.

4. Okay, moving from small to crazy big – the Dufour Grand Large 500. Eric Macklin gave me a sneak peek at this model when it was nothing more than line drawings, and it’s just as packed with new features as I expected. From the optional built-in grill on the transom to the split-galley arrangement below, Dufour has clearly re-thought how boats are used. Yes, it’s big, but if you need the room and want a non-traditional approach, it’s a must-walk-through.

Bonus cats: Visit the new Catana 42, which has lots of carbon components. And the hybrid propulsion Gunboat 60 that looks crazy-fast.

My feet were numb all day long, but the weather didn't keep any of us intrepid sailors away. They came, they saw, and they pulled their wallets out‚ even on this wet and wild day.

The Annapolis Sailboat Show runs through October 14.