By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer
NEWPORT, RI — Want to go sailing?
While navigating the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island, you will often hear that question as boat enthusiasts inspect new products on the market or ferry over to Goat Island to purchase yachts ranging from $644,000 to $3.5 million.
With its elegant mahogany hull and stateroom layout, a 70-ft Vicem Yacht named Truant is an exquisite eight-sleeper with separate crew quarters. For $1.9 million, you can cruise top speed at 28 knots—or 32 miles per hour. Afterward, Truant’s broker at Northrop & Johnson, Inc. will return it to a harbor somewhere in Connecticut.
This weekend, Newport Waterfront along America’s Cup Avenue to attend the 43rd annual boat show from Sept. 12-15, the largest boat show in New England and the “kick off” to the fall boat show season. The show, which features more than 600 boats in water, power and sail, is expected to draw about 40,000 people to the smallest state in the union. And it’s a 90-minute drive from any part of Connecticut, Boston and New York for a three to four-day stay in southeastern New England.
But there’s more to the boat show than checking out dinghies, kayaks and cruisers; Mantus’s boat anchors with aerodynamic technology; or serene settings close to the water.
The maritime industry is synonymous with New England’s history. Puritan settlers livelihood included. This tradition is passed down in many New England families, such as Tom Delotto, director of thee Newport Exhibition Group that owns and produces the Newport International Boat Show.
“It’s a good way to disconnect from land and enjoy the soothing effects of being on water,” Delotto says.
The Group also has educational programs for novices, including children. Scheduled program include Discover Boating’s Hands On Skills Training (HOST) series, which allow boaters to enhance existing skills or serve as an entry-level course for understanding weather forecasting.
There’s also “a big push” to penetrate the minority population. Up to 10 percent of African Americans and Hispanics are boaters.
And Rhode Island has its reason to ensuring the show expands. That economic value of boating and recreation sales impact on the local economy is notable. The total annual economic value is $121.2 billion, with direct sales at $646 billion. The industry employs 338,526 people. Like many industries during the recession, outdoor recreation decreased. Now, it’s on the rise industry experts say. And people are expanding and hiring.
Chris Perry works as a prep cook at Bello’s Cafe. On Friday, he was just sitting on the dock on Goat Island—on his day off—with his dog.
“I love it this time of year,” said Chris Perry, a Rhode Island native, stroking his cockerspanial, Pandoria. “I just like being down by the water.”
Well, the water is there all year. But, as Perry may have observed, the crisp air and mild sun caressing your skin while you’re sailing in the Bristol Harbor is enough to draw you down by the water this time of year.
43rd Newport International Boat Show
Newport, Rhode Island
Show Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE TO STAY:
Homewood Suites Newport-Middletown
119 Hope Street
Opened in June 2013
Complimentary hot breakfast
Bristol Harbor Inn
259 Thames Street Landing
Eat breakfast at DeWolf Tavern
Newport Beach Hotel & Suites
One Wave Avenue
WHERE TO EAT:
The Lobster Pot
119 Hope St
The first fine dining restaurant that opened in 1929; it’s renowned for its seafood dishes
For more information on lodging, dining, attractions, transportation and more, visit www.DiscoverNewport.org.