There are 375 boats at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, two-thirds on water, one third on land and if you want to see all of them in an eight-hour day it works out to about a minute and a half per boat.
At that rate it's like looking at pictures in a museum. After a while the feet tire and the mind wearies.
The only sensible approach is to concentrate on the masterpieces. One, surely, is the Wellington 47, a cutter-rigged vessel priced at $185,000. For that money one gets enough navigation equipment to cross oceans, an electrically operated mast-furled mainsail, a club-footed forestaysail, a roller-reefed genoa and a customized, all-teak interior.
The boat also carries enough urethane foam to insure full flotation no matter what. According to builder Bill Wellington of Jacksonville, Fla., that means "it won't sink even if it's knocked down in a hurricane."
Also worth an extended look is the $100,000 Freedom 40 cat-ketch. The craft has two identical sails and two identical masts. The masts are unusually thick at the deck and although they gradually taper as they climb, they are inherently strong enough to support the sails. Except for running back stays, the standing rigging of conventional arrangements is not required.
The boat's interior has an exceptional sense of spaciousness. The usual bulkhead between the salon and the forward berth has been eliminated and the aft berth is not hidden away and the overall effect is much like an extremely comfortable efficiency apartment.
The Comanche 32 catamaran, a British import, rates more than a cursory glance. The boat draws only three feet, is supposed to reach 18-knot speed and accomodates up to eight sleepers in what appears to be an unusual degree of comfort. The main cabin does not quite provide standing head room, but the hulls - each of which holds two bunks - have more than six feet. The craft is priced at $80,000.
The Gride, 28-foot double-ender from Denmark, comes across as classic Scandinavian. There are at least three unusual features: it can be sailed to windward on the jib alone, it has an especially strong chain-plate arrangement that transmits strain to the hull under water rather than near the deck, and the forward hatch is so large and so far forward that the crew can change the headsails without leaving the boat's interior. The boat-show price is $41,000.
Also classical is the Lubec 266, a wooden gaff-rigged sloop that is a fair copy of a 19th century work boat that hauled herring and sardines from the off-shore waters of Maine. The larger cockpit area - 45 square feet - can take on a lot of day sailors. In the cruising situation, the smallish cabin limits, the crew to two. Boat-show prices: $41,000.
Some of the side shows offer a nice contrast to the boats. In the tradition of the old-time pitchman, Jeremiah Weiner spiels the virtus of the Clean Machine, a $9.99 item Weiner says is "the best boat-cleaning mop in the world."
Show hours today are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tomorrow, the final day, closing time is 6 p.m. Adults pay $5, children (12 and under) $3. Parking in the Navy Stadium on Route 70/Rowe Boulevard costs $2. Shuttle bus service to and from the show is free.