Imagine it: acres of glistening sailboats and their masts rocking away gently in a picturesque harbor against the quaint backdrop of a historic seaport. That’s the scene each October in Annapolis, MD, where the United States Sailboat Show—the largest and oldest in-water sailboat show in the country—takes place.
And it’s quite a scene, indeed. Miles of floating docks are puzzled together and then lined with boats to create a maze of pathways that reach out into the harbor. The show attracts approximately 130,000 attendees each year.
While all of those shiny sailboats are enough to make just about anyone drool, the truth is that not everyone has the financial resources to pop for a brand new vessel. That’s why I was excited to see that the organizers of the U.S Sailboat Show this year are introducing an in-water brokerage component to the show, featuring lots of previously loved sailboats.
Dubbed “Brokerage Cove,” organizers will construct a temporary floating marina in St. Mary’s Cove, just around the corner and upstream of the downtown event. There they will showcase an expansive selection of pre-owned sailboats from multiple regional brokerages.
Shuttle buses and water taxis will ferry show goers from the main event free of charge, or you can opt for a short walk through a piece of the city's Historic District. Admission to the brokerage component of the show is included in the United States Sailboat Show ticket price.
If you decide to walk to Brokerage Cove from the main event, here’s how I’d roll: Follow the smell of smoky goodness at the show and stop in at the Fleet Reserve Club for a pit beef sandwich. If you can’t find it, ask; most everyone knows where to find these delicious bundles of joy. Next, grab a bench just across Compromise Street to people watch while eating lunch; then walk the block and a half to the brokerage event behind St. Mary’s Church. If you’re lucky, you may just find your dream boat there.