This is usually my favorite time of year. The boat show season has started, I can see all the new cruising power boats, catch up with my friends, and feel good about notching one more year on the belt – a combination of a sense of survival and renewal. Well, not this year.
In normal times, this would be the second day of the Newport International Boat Show, and I’d be sitting in a tent early in the morning, waiting to find out the winners of the best boats in the show contest. Not this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed the Newport show and most of the other fall shows, although the five-day Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is still scheduled to start on Oct. 28.
So no Newport, no Norwalk, no Annapolis, and for that matter, no Cannes and no Monaco either. But that doesn’t stop us from covering all the new boats. If anything, interest in boating today is at an all-time high. Indeed, it turns out that in a time of social distancing, boats seem to offer a safe haven.
In the past six month or so, many boat builders and dealers have reported more sales than ever before. We’ve always believed that boats offer both a way to get away from it all, while at the same time bringing us together – at least bringing you and your family and friends who are on the boat with you closer together, while you all enjoy your next cruise, your next weekend aboard, your next evening anchored out.
Instead of walking the docks this week, we’re producing our annual boat show issue, covering many of the new cruising boats you’d see at the fall shows in normal times. We have reviews of 48 of them, from Aquila to Zeelander, organized in three different stories: New Boats 35 Feet and Under; New Boats 36 to 50 Feet, and New Boats 51 Feet and Up. Enjoy. We look forward to seeing you on the docks again before too long.