March 15, 2013

Maine boat show:
'Wall-to-wall eye candy' for boaters

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Five days ago, the brick warehouses that make up the Portland Company Marine complex on Fore Street were filled with freshly planted flowers, beds of mulch and thousands of people attending the Portland Flower Show.

click image to enlarge

Dave Hackett, head of the woodshop, and Robert Flight, project manager with the Portland Yacht Club, set up an area around a 1926 sailboat that is undergoing restoration at the Yacht Club as they set up for the Maine Boatbuilders Show on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Gordon Goodwin of Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. begins to rig a Herreshoff H-12 1/2 as exhibitors prepare for the Maine Boatbuilders Show at the Portland Complex in Portland on Thursday afternoon on March 14, 2013.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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On Friday morning, those same buildings were to be filled with dozens of wooden, fiberglass and inflatable boats as the 26th annual Maine Boatbuilders Show gets under way.

The show is produced by Portland Yacht Services, whose owners, Joanna and Phineas Sprague, also put on the flower show.

Joanna Sprague said the boat show will feature more than 200 exhibitors and more than 100 custom built boats, from cruisers and yachts to dories and sailboats.

Some of the boats are for sale while others show what a boatbuilder could create for a buyer.

Boats can range in price from $1,000 to $250,000. The Spragues require that each boat's builder be on site to answer questions.

"They are the ones who know what is underneath that beautiful paint job," Sprague said.

Dozens of pre-qualified buyers are coming to the show as well from as far away as Australia, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Portugal and Hong Kong, Sprague said.

In the past, the boat show has attracted its share of celebrities including singer Billy Joel and Martha Stewart.

"This a good place to meet the builder. It's a good place to start a long term relationship especially when you are spending that kind of money," Sprague said.

"This is wall-to-wall eye candy for those who loves boats," Phineas Sprague added.

Phineas Sprague said in a statement that the boat show is not just about boats.

The people that make and distribute boat paint, batteries, steering system lights and electronics will also be available to answer questions. New boating innovations, ranging from electrical propulsion systems, variable pitch folding propellers and oil-eating microbes, will be also be displayed, he said.

And there will be a weekend-long series of lectures on a variety of boating and maritime topics.

Bruce Schwab, known for his solo sail around the world, will be one of the exhibitors. He operates Bruce Schwab Energy Systems in Woolwich, a company that sells batteries and hydro-generators designed for yachts and sailing vessels.

The 2013 flower show ended Sunday night and all traces of the exhibits were gone by noon Tuesday, Joanna Sprague said.

She said 10,000 people attended the flower show this year, slightly down from the previous year's attendance of 11,500. Sprague said stormy weekend weather in Massachusetts and areas to the south of Maine held down attendance.

Though taking down a flower show and setting up a boat show in just a few days can be complicated, Sprague said, the 70,000 square foot marine complex is well suited to the task.

"That's the beauty of this place. You can move big things around with forklifts. There's plenty of room to maneuver," she said.

Admission to the 2013 boat show is $15. It will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to www.portlandcompany.com/boatshow.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com

 

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