News Notes


Strictly Sail Philadelphia canceled for 2006

Strictly Sail Philadelphia, the show that debuted under difficult circumstances last January, has been canceled for 2006, returns for 2007, and is uncertain for 2008.

Sail America, which produces the show, said a conflict in dates at the Philadelphia Convention Center would have stripped a weekend day from the planned Jan. 26-29 production next year. The organization says it looked at “all available date options” from January through March, and decided the best choice was to pull back until 2007.

The same scheduling conflict exists in 2008, Sail America said, prompting a decision to skip that year as well, “while firming up 2009 show dates.” In 2010 an expansion of the convention center should be completed, enabling a return to an annual format “if desired at that time.”

Whether an annual format is best, however, is something that is up for review, Sail America executive director Scot West indicated in a telephone interview. He and president Bill Bolin say the organization is looking at other options.

“There definitely will be no 2006 show,” said West said in a telephone interview. But he isn’t closing the door on the possibility of something happening in 2008.

One option could be a change in location.

“Sail America members long have been proponents of the possible benefits of rotating show venues, so this unexpected turn of events will give us a chance to test the waters,” said Bolin, in a statement. “Some in our membership advocate that a major show, rotated every other year, will create more excitement and demand in the marketplace, while allowing us to continually improve the overall show experience.”

Strictly Sail Philadelphia made its debut last Jan. 20-23 as a replacement for the sail-only show previously held in Atlantic City. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The show went up against a Philadelphia Eagles playoff game and an 18-inch snowfall that virtually paralyzed the city.

“We knew about the game and we could have dealt with that,” says West. But the snow that began falling Saturday morning continued through the day and evening, leaving the convention center “a ghost town” on Sunday, he said.

Despite the problems, the show managed to draw 10,000 people — well below the 15,000 to 17,000 turnout that had been expected — but enough for Sail America executives and some exhibitors to pronounce it a success.

The Philadelphia production is one of five Strictly Sail shows on the Sail America calendar. All the rest remain on schedule for 2006. They are Chicago, Feb. 2-5; Miami, Feb. 16-20; Pacific (Oakland, Calif.), April 19-23 and St. Petersburg, Fla., Nov. 2-5.

Marine police report busy holiday weekend

Ideal boating conditions over the Fourth of July holiday weekend resulted in more boat traffic on Maryland’s waterways, and along with it, more accidents, incidents and injuries, Maryland Natural Resources Police reported.

There were 23 boat accidents reported this year, up from 13 accidents during the same period in 2004. More incidents that resulted in NRP response also occurred this year: 317 versus 277 in 2004. The number of personal injuries and fatalities remained the same this year: five people were injured and one person died.

Gregory Bucklew, 31, of Waldorf died when his boat struck a pound net in the Patuxent River near Benedict. The accident remains under investigation.

NRP officers issued 736 citations and 1,760 warnings this year, up from 362 citations and 1,595 warnings last year. Six people were arrested for operating a vessel while intoxicated; in 2004, that figure was nine.

The holiday weekend marked the second major holiday in which the merged NRP conducted operations aimed to increase safety awareness. The first was Memorial Day, where there were four boat accidents with no injuries and four people were arrested for operating a vessel while intoxicated.

Kathryn Wood, Annapolis show president, dies

Kathryn M. Wood, a leading figure in the marine industry in the Mid-Atlantic area, died unexpectedly June 18 at her home. She was 74.

A longtime sailor and businesswoman, Wood was president of the Annapolis Sailing School and Annapolis Boat Shows Inc. She took over the operations after the 2003 death of her husband, Jerry Wood, with whom she co-founded the shows.

“They were giants of the field,” says Rick Franke, general manager of the sailing school, and a longtime friend and employee. “We owe them a lot in the marine industry.”

Kathy (Graf) Wood was born in Irvington, N.J., in 1931, and grew up in River Plaza, N.J. As a girl she developed a keen love of sailing and enjoyed the competition of racing Barnegat Bay Sneak Boxes. She moved to Annapolis in the mid-1960s and remained involved in sailing.

She met Jerry Wood, started crewing for him, and went to work for him running the rapidly expanding Annapolis Sailing School. They were married in 1968.

Together, the couple expanded the sailing school and organized Tidewater Plastics to build the famous Sparkman & Stephens-designed Rainbow sailboats.

In 1970 she and Jerry established the first in-water sailboat show, the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Two years later, the couple expanded to powerboats with the Annapolis Powerboat Show.

The Woods’ commitment to the Annapolis community was long a hallmark of their business ventures. In addition to the boat show’s support of many community-based charities, the Sailing School supports the Brendan program, the City Recreation Department sailing program, the Eastport Yacht Club’s Family Build a Boat program, Annapolis Maritime Heritage Festival and Box of Rain program.

Wood is survived by a sister, Joan Lisowski of Melbourne, Fla.

— JoAnn W. Goddard