The United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland wrapped up its 5-day event on Monday, and what a show it was!

It has been a few years since I’ve attended the largest sailboat show in North America and, I have to say, the 2022 edition was one of the best I’ve been to. My wife Jill and I arrived on Wednesday, “Setup Day”, and walked through the Annapolis City Docks to see a flurry of booths being setup and already shiny boats being made even shinier. Right away, while chatting with friends on the docks, we could feel an energy to the show that I wasn’t expecting on a day when only exhibitors were there.

The show opened with rain on Thursday morning, but by the afternoon it had stopped and from then on, the weekend weather was as close to perfect as you could get. Hordes of sailors and would-be sailors descended on Maryland’s capital city over the next few days and, unofficially, I heard that Friday and Saturday’s attendance numbers were record breakers. I believe it. The lines to get on boats were long, and tents of booths were filled with people browsing gear and talking to company reps. Bartenders at the many watering holes scattered throughout the show were busy pouring beers and, of course, making Pusser’s famous Painkiller cocktails.

After the show closes at 6:30 each night, the lights and music come on.

Every day at the show, the passion and enthusiasm for sailing seemed to be palpable. As one show-goer told me, “Isn’t this the best?! It’s like trick-or-treating for sailors!”

Another said, “I can’t remember a show this good. Whether you want to book a charter, pick out a new boat, buy gear for your old boat, learn something new at a seminar, or simply walk around and dream about sailing, you can!”

Each time I come to this show, though, it’s not necessarily the boats or gear I look forward to — it’s the people. I’ve been in the sailing industry for 20 years now, 10 of them in magazines, and this is the one place where so many friends I’ve met throughout that time congregate. Whether sharing laughter and stories at after-hours industry parties, stopping by their booths to chat, or going out for post-show meals and beverages, it’s these friends I’ve made along the way that truly make the Annapolis boat show special.

Of course, the first thing people ask me after the show is “What boats caught your eye?” As expected, there were tons of catamarans there and none of them really appealed to me. Likewise, many of the new monohulls were mostly the same with the exception of a few outliers. Here’s what I liked…

Lyman-Morse 46

I failed to get quality images of this boat because it was always surrounded by or packed with curious sailors. The Lyman-Morse 46 is a Maine-built performance cruiser that catches your eye with it’s cold-molded construction, beautifully crafted wood, and sleek look. Indeed, the LM46  is a high-performance sailing yacht that features the comfort and ambiance of a wooden boat but is said to deliver 10 knots of speed under both sail and power. Truly, impressive.

Garcia Exploration 45

If the LM46 is impeccably done in wood, the GE45 is equally well executed in aluminum. The Garcia Exploration 45 is a go anywhere cruiser that I happen to have some experience with. Jill and I delivered a 2015 GE45 in pretty sporty North Atlantic conditions, and then lived aboard the same boat for a month while it was in Alaska. What impressed me about the 2022 version at the show was how Garcia had taken owner feedback to make some changes to the boat, including aluminum toe rail, stainless safety rail, upgraded hard dodger, and more.


Pure eye candy, the J/45 had a prime slot on the docks and every time I walked by I couldn’t help but stop and notice something about this boat. The J/Boats and J/Composites teams collaborated to create a special design for sailors seeking an exceptional sailing experience, but also a boat that is supposed to be comfortable in a seaway or at anchor. Specifically, the J/45’s sail plan seemed well executed starting forward with a bow sprit for flying sails, a genoa, and then a working jib inside of that. The carbon mast was expected, but the carbon boom furling mainsail was not.

Nautor Swan 48

Ok, this boat looked fast simply sitting at the dock. Again, I didn’t get a good image so a stock photo will have to do (the show boat had a white hull), but trust me, the Swan 48 was as awe-inspiring as you’d expect from this venerable boatbuilder. Literally everything on the 48 seemed designed and built to perfection; be it the interior joinery, the cockpit layout, the decks, the sheet and halyard leads, you name it.


Going from big to small, this boat might have been my actual favorite in the show because I grew up racing Sunfish and still do. The Sunfish has been around since the 1950s and the overall design hasn’t changed a whole lot since — that’s what Chris McLellan was looking to change…but not by much. This new boat literally made its debut on the Thursday of the show and it drew a lot of attention all weekend. SERO Innovation kept the Sunfish hull, rig, dagger board, and rudder, and added a new deck. A longer, deeper cockpit is more user friendly, a clip-in dry bag provides some storage, grab handles help with transport, built-in magnets under the deck allow you to bring a custom cup along for your beverage that sits next to the sheet, and much more. Note: The company is currently working to get the boat class legal.