Sunshine and low winds greeted the beginning of the Annapolis Boat Show this week, putting dealers, manufacturers, and boat shoppers in a good mood. Usually this show is dogged by cold temperatures, rain, and otherwise lousy weather (including a storm surge one year which flooded out a significant number of displays), so for many attendees, this was a nice change of pace. I visited the show to find out what was new and interesting; here are some of the highlights.
Protector was at Annapolis with two new 30’ models, a center console and a cabin boat. These are rugged but classy RIBs that can serve as commuters, rescue boats, or even fishboats. My favorite feature: max. power ratings of 600—rigged with a pair of 300 Verados, the cabin boat can break 50-mph and cruises in the 40s.
Albemarle introduced a new 36 Express with a full enclosure. The boat has some interesting design tweaks which go beyond the massive hard top-enclosed bridge, including a two-track Isinglass system which turns those clear curtains into a sliding “glass” door.
Hobie has been taking their new 12 foot fishing kayak around to the boat shows, and it’s a nifty little rig that light-tackle anglers will love. It’s expensive – starting price is over two grand and goes up quickly with options like rod holders and fish finder mounts – but it features a new seat that may be the most comfortable kayak seat I’ve ever sat upon.
Beneteau officially introduced their Barracuda 9, which we tested a while back upon its arrival in the USA. This is a unique boat with a mini-flybridge and a hybrid pilothouse/express/center console design. Check out our video review here.
The show runs through Sunday, so there's still time to check out all the shiny new boats in person.