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Rain doesn't deter sailors at Annapolis show

Despite cool temperatures and drenching rain, the mood was bright at Thursday’s opening of the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md.

Wearing foul-weather gear, a hardy battalion of serious buyers braved the docks — dodging puddles and dripping awnings — to the delight of exhibitors.

“Amazing,” said Tom Armantrant, of Boat Leather, a Seattle-based manufacturer of wheel coverings, chafe gear and other leather products. Even as his 10-by-10-foot tent sprung leak after leak, he said, “There are an amazing number of people walking through.”

Less-than-ideal weather hit both Annapolis shows with record heat for last week’s powerboat show. “It’s lucky for us the rain has come for the sailing community, as they’re more resilient,” said Tony Lippi, of the Panama Hat Company in St. Augustine, Fla. His Tilley Hat booth had a throng of buyers trying on various wide-brimmed waterproof hats so they could shop in comfort.

“This is the largest show we’ve seen, based on space sold and the size of boats exhibited,” said Paul Jacobs, general manager of the Annapolis boat shows. “We are happy to report a very large crowd today, with weather expected to improve over the weekend — and attendance hand-in-hand.”

The U.S. Sailboat Show runs through Monday at the Annapolis City Dock.