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Boat show at New London City Pier draws the curious and the dreamers

By Kelly Catalfamo

Publication: The Day

Published June 23. 2014 4:00AM
Tim Martin/The Day
Sunday was the second day of the first New London In-Water Boat Show at City Pier.

New London - Flip-flops, Crocs and boat shoes littered City Pier on Sunday afternoon as their barefoot owners explored the nooks and crannies of boats during the city's first in-water boat show.

The event, which was held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, was advertised as including boats ranging 15 to 60 feet. There were certainly a variety of vessels on display Sunday, from luxurious yachts with upholstered interiors to electric-powered sailboats to smaller, simpler motorboats.

There only appeared to be 20 or so people climbing about the boats early Sunday afternoon, but Marshall Parsons, a Sea Scout commodore who helped organize the show, said 300 people showed up Saturday and a steady stream of visitors dropped by on Sunday as well.

A fraction of that number inspected the boats, questioned the sellers and appeared to be seriously considering a purchase.

They included the father who had to put his exploration of a shiny new vessel called the Leader 40 on hold to prevent his son from clambering on the roof of the $479,000 boat. Across the dock, several men relaxed on a large sailboat, sitting on benches and leaning on cushions emblazoned with anchors. The owner seemed to be happy to answer their questions as he ate his lunch-a hot dog and large Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

Another man smoked a cigar as he listened to Derek Rupe, owner of the New London-based company Captineer, explain his plans for electric sailboats.

Rupe said his can recharge the battery while sailing and demonstrated the nearly-silent electric motor for the curious.

His said his design eliminates the problems with fumes and fuel that accompany diesel engines and called the motor "super smooth."

He said the boat he exhibited this weekend is for sale, but Rupe was more focused on "trying to sell people on the idea" of electric sailboats.

But some people who visited the boat show on the cool, windy afternoon weren't looking at price tags or comparing the vessels' features.

Nancy Shaw sat barefoot at the end of the pier with her 7-year-old granddaughter, Haley, gazing over the choppy water.

Shaw said she came to the boat show to relax, look at the new boats and dream about being able to afford them.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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